Apple Internet radio entry may catch the attention of antitrust regulators, experts tell Washington Post

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Issue Date: 
Jun 5 2013 - 12:35pm

From Issue:

Music publishers and labels may not be the only bumps in Apple's road to launching its upcoming Internet radio service.

Some experts, according to The Washington Post, say federal antitrust laws may gum the works for Apple as well.

Apple's share of the music download business with iTunes is above 60%, which reportedly "means regulators are likely to monitor any move into a related business to ensure that the company isn't improperly using its muscle to squeeze out competitors," writes the paper.

The key issue, according to the experts with whom the paper spoke, would be if Apple's licensing deals with labels and publishers took advantage of the company's size and market share to unfairly box-out companies like Pandora or Spotify in the competition for customers.

The company is currently embroiled in antitrust legal proceedings involving e-books.

Read more from The Washington Post here.



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Free Internet-based radio has not entirely left Apple's iTunes

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I have to wonder if lodging

I have to wonder if lodging antitrust allegations against Apple is part of a larger game to keep streaming royalties high and keep the Internet radio business relatively small and unprofitable. As it is, even the larger Internet radio companies like Pandora cannot gain anywhere near the traction with Congress that the major record labels can, and the NAB seems willing to throw Internet radio under the bus in the interest of protecting its performance exemption.

It is likely because of Apple and iTunes that consumers now have the ability to purchase music as downloads. Apple is a much larger company than Pandora, one with enough clout that they were able to force a music industry that seems bent on protecting and sticking to its legacy business model to move ahead with legalized music downloads. If it hadn't been for them, it's quite possible the record labels would still be pushing CDs as the only legal form of music available to most consumers, with virtually all mp3 files still regarded as the products of music piracy.

So now here comes Apple, wanting to get involved in the music streaming business, and wanting to do so profitably. Where the record labels have succeeded up to now at making all the rules that music streamers have to live or die by, Apple has demonstrated in the past that they're not going to sit idly by and let the record industry call the shots, and they probably won't this time either. So you play the antitrust card against them.

I could be wrong, but it all sounds plausible to me.

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