Apple knows it's going to be an uphill climb when it relaunches its Beats-based music streaming service this summer – and the company may be taking some rather direct measures to cripple the competition.
According to a report from The Verge, Apple has been attempting to convince the major record labels to stop licensing their music to the likes of Spotify and its free tier – in the hopes that such a decision would devastate Spotify's business model.
Of Spotify's 60 million users, only 15 million pay for the service. The rest subscribe to the free, ad-support tier.
According to the report, "Apple offered to pay YouTube’s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube."
And all of this maneuvering has apparently gotten the attention of the Justice Department.
Sources say the DoJ is already interviewing people about Apple's business practices. “All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat,” a source told The Verge.
Apple plans to launch their streaming music competitor at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The offering will be wrapped up in Beats Music, which Apple acquired last year. It is expected to run $8 per month, or just a little less than Spotify premium.
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