Consumer advocates call out Apple Music on antitrust concerns

While Apple has finally settled and moved past the antitrust cases surrounding its ebooks business practices, it like a similar situation is building up against the new Apple Music subscription service. The well-known consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has published letters to both the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice, asking them to look into Apple's attempts to "dominate the subscription music sector" in violation of antitrust laws.

The group's letter accuses Apple of leveraging its power and access to some 800 million customers' credit cards that are connected to the Apple Music free trial. In addition, there's the company's large collection of data on users' music preferences after years of iTunes Store use. These two issues prompt Consumer Watchdog to feel Apple Music has an unfair advantage over competition.

At issue, in fact, is the proprietary information that Apple possesses about its subscribers' credit cards and musical preferences, which it is leveraging over music labels in an attempt to rub out free (commercial sponsored) music platforms. In this regard, Apple is utilizing its market power in much the way the company did in setting e-book prices.

While the argument about music preference data doesn't really make sense, as that's what all streaming music services are essentially trying to offer, the mentions about Apple Music being unfair to competition is similar to recent concerns from Spotify. The rival music service has recently bemoaned the App Store policy of taking a 30% cut from app purchases and subscriptions, something that doesn't apply to Apple's own offering.

Consumer Watchdog also notes that Apple has a tendency of pushing its terms onto music studios, and those who don't agree to Apple Music see the company making deals directly with the artists. This was supposedly seen just days before the service's launch, when a number of indie artists were claimed to be available before their labels had agreed to the terms.

This letter comes after the European Commission and the Department of Justice are said to already be investigating Apple Music for antitrust concerns. It's also been said that the FTC is looking into the App Store's subscription policies due to the launch of Apple Music.

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog