Consumer Group Is Sour On Apple

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Watchdog warns FTC about streaming dominance

Consumer Watchdog has asked the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to investigate Apple's new streaming music service, suggesting the company is trying to drive out "freemium" (commercial sponsored) services and unfairly dominate the sector. Apple announced its Apple Music streaming service June 8.

Consumer Watchdog appears to be preaching to the choir.

According to a report in The Verge, the FTC has already launched an investigation into how Apple treats competing streaming services in its App Store.

Consumer Watchdog says it is taking issue specifically with Apple efforts to create a “Most Favored Nations” relationship with labels that prevents competing streaming services from getting early access to artists. It also took aim at App Store policies it says disadvantage rivals.

"Given that Apple is both an online platform for music apps, the dominant one in the industry, and now a competitor of streaming music services, Apple is in a position to drive up prices for consumers,” the group said.

An Apple spokesperson was not available for comment at press time, but Apple has argued it is only trying to clean up the "complicated mess" of apps, services and websites for the sake of music lovers everywhere.

The service launched with a free, three-month, trial June 30, after which it costs $9.99 per month or $14.99 for a family plan with up to six members.

Apple has more troubles than its streaming service critics. It's stock price was down following a third-quarter earnings report that showed strong growth, just not strong enough for Wall Street.

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