While the European Commission failed to find evidence that Apple had conspired with music labels to bring an end to free music streaming services, investigators files will remain open as Spotify continues licensing talks with major labels. The Apple Music service does not offer a free service tier.
Investigators examined whether the labels conspired with one another or with Apple on Apple’s new streaming music service in a way that would hurt rivals. The probe failed to turn up any illegal activity, though the EU will continue to monitor the market, sources said.
EU regulators began looking at Apple’s talks with record labels back in April, due to concerns Apple was using its influence to persuade the labels to end free ad-supported streaming, such as that offered by Spotify. Rumors suggested Apple was attempting to convince the labels to stop offering licensing for free music services. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission also began looking into the rumors, both investigations are still ongoing.
While the European Commission may have found no evidence of collusion between Apple and the music labels, it has launched a second investigation into the Apple App Store’s policies in reference to music services that compete with Apple Music.
Separately, the EU has asked Spotify and other music streaming services for information pertaining to Apple’s mobile App Store, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Regulators are seeking information on the restrictions Apple places on apps offered through the store.
A similar U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation is examining the 30% fee the company collects on app and subscription revenue. The 30% fee on subscriptions has caused competing services to increase the price of subscriptions offered via their iOS apps.