Apple is expected to announce a new music streaming service next month at its WWDC developers conference, but the company could be trying to wipe out the competition ahead of time. A new report from The Verge details how Cupertino is pressuring music labels to kill free streaming options offered by Spotify and YouTube.
Specifically, Apple is using its influence in the music industry to take on the competition indirectly. The company has apparently pressured major record labels not to renew licenses for free streaming options like Spotify’s. Cupertino may have even offered to pay Universal Music Group directly if it stops letting YouTube stream its music.
“All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat,” one industry insider told The Verge.
If Apple succeeds it could give the company a huge advantage when its pay-only streaming service launches later this year. Similar options like Tidal and the original Beats Music haven’t been able to gain much traction so far, but that could be because of free ad-supported alternatives like Spotify.
However, Apple may already be under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for its alleged anti-competitive behavior. The Verge notes that the government organization is looking into these claims, citing multiple inside sources. The news follows earlier reports that the European Commission could be investigating similar issues in the EU.
Whether or not Apple manages to kill Spotify’s free service, we’re curious to see how Cupertino’s own streaming alternative turns out. We’d hate to see the free ad-supported model die, though we understand that it’s not exactly popular within the music industry.