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EU finds that Apple and labels didn't conspire to end free music

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
August 8, 2015
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Apple Music is facing its fair share of scrutiny over concerns of possible anti-competitive behavior, but it's not going to get that much flak from Europe. According to both Mlex and Recode's sources, the European Commission has found no evidence that Apple or major music labels conspired to stifle free music services like Spotify. While the regulator is going to keep its eye on the music market as Spotify renews its label deals, it's now doubtful that you'll see a repeat of the EU's crackdown on e-book pricing.

Not that Apple is entirely off the hook. Like the US Federal Trade Commission, the EU is investigating whether or not Apple's App Store policies unfairly hurt competing music providers -- and it may well have a stronger case. If you'll recall, Apple both asks for a 30 percent cut of revenue from subscription services and prevents those services from steering customers to other places to sign up. Unless you're astute enough to sign up on the web, streaming outfits have to either charge you extra for their App Store subscriptions or watch their profit margins disappear. There's a real chance that the Commission will tell Apple to reduce its revenue share, allow links to external sign-ups, or both.

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