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DOJ Examining Apple's Online Music Practices

In what sources say is the beginnings of an antitrust enquiry, the New York Times reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is examining Apple's tactics in the market for digital music, and its staff members have talked to major music labels and Internet music companies.

NYT cites several people briefed on the conversations who say that although things have, for the most part, revolved around the dynamics of selling music online, investigators are also asking about recent accusations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse Amazon exclusive access to new music.

According to the Times, a March Billboard Magazine reports claims that Amazon went to music labels seeking a day of exclusive access to new songs. In exchange, Amazon would feature the tracks on its website as part of a promotion called the "MP3 Daily Deal." However, the Billboard report says that Apple representatives urged the labels not to participate, and Apple is said to have punished those that did by withdrawing marketing support for those songs on iTunes.

Read more here.

  • drutort
    are there any companies left that dont practice dirty success methodology?
    (mind you i was not surprised about this at all, just speaking are there any regular legit companies on such scale)
    Reply
  • greenspoon
    I must be reading this wrong. What I read is that Apple is being investigated for antitrust violations partly due to them using their dominant position in the online music market to stop Amazon from having an exclusivity contract with certain labels. Now, I will not say that I am the most intelligent person around, but it would seem to me that Apple just used its position to make the music available from multiple sources, which is the opposite of monopolistic practices.

    Also, they are said to have 'punished' those that would sign such an agreement, which makes total sense to me. Why should I advertise for something I can not make money on?

    Am I missing something?
    Reply
  • Kelavarus
    Apple using shady business tactics? Color me surprised!

    Though, to be honest and non-foaming-at-the-mouth-anti-apple, GreenSpoon really does have a good point. Technically they were using underhanded tactics to encourage open markets. Do a right and a wrong make a neutral?
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    On a related note, I wish they would go back to fixed prices at $0.99/song. A large portion of the songs have gone up to $1.29, and I don't like that.
    Reply
  • greenspoon
    9210762 said:
    Apple using shady business tactics? Color me surprised!

    Though, to be honest and non-foaming-at-the-mouth-anti-apple, GreenSpoon really does have a good point. Technically they were using underhanded tactics to encourage open markets. Do a right and a wrong make a neutral?

    I am not even sure it was underhanded. Did they try to hide what they did? Or just not advertise it? If they tried to hide it then you could say it was underhanded. If they did not try to hide it and just used their market position to achieve a result, I do not see that as underhanded. That is what most companies are trying to get; a large enough market presence to start setting 'policy' for the market.
    Reply
  • climber
    Eventually buying an album on iTunes will cost what it used to cost buying a CD at a music store, but you don't get media or real cover art, etc. It's the typical path corporations take, sell you less and less for the same price, then eventually reintroduce the old stuff at a higher price... except in the digital age, you only get digital files, they'll eventually have a new service, which is a monthly add-on fee per song downloaded, which gives you the ability to re-download your song if you lose your hard drive or iPod/Pad/Phone. They'll re-invent the business model to capture more money. After all Apple, just beat out Microsoft as the the 2nd largest corporation behind Exxon Mobile. Bitney Bows Buisness Insight the owner of MapInfo GIS software is trying to go GeoCloud computing and potentially offering GIS data via a service like iTunes, to me they should just partner up with Apple to sell geospatial data via iTunes directly, after all there's movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, apps, why not data too.
    Reply
  • jojesa
    Why now? Apple has been doing that for a long time now.
    Oh I forgot! Justice is blind
    Reply
  • tayb
    Wait... what? Apple persuaded music labels to NOT provide exclusive songs to Amazon and Apple is being investigated for anti-trust? Uh, isn't this completely backwards? I would much rather have these songs available on iTunes and Amazon Marketplace than exclusively one or the other. As far as this article goes it sounds as if Apple did it's own trust busting and stopped music labels from having any sort of exclusive agreement.

    I'm ignorant on this type of stuff but what the heck did Apple do wrong and why should we, the consumers, be mad at them? From the article I'm feeling the exact opposite.
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... but amazon would like to be as or more successful as apple... then the eye would be on amazon... everybody wants the peace of the pie... but you must admit, that apple was the first, who successfully implemented this business model... maybe, just maybe, there is a hidden attack from google in here...
    http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/10/24/android-first-look-amazon-com-mp3-store/
    Reply
  • matt314
    GreenSpoonI am not even sure it was underhanded. Did they try to hide what they did? Or just not advertise it? If they tried to hide it then you could say it was underhanded. If they did not try to hide it and just used their market position to achieve a result, I do not see that as underhanded. That is what most companies are trying to get; a large enough market presence to start setting 'policy' for the market.
    You can talk about technicalities all you want but the fact remains that apple insists on obtaining success through mean other than products. And that is unethical. It restricts innovation, competition and user's freedom.

    I for one will agree with being at the mercy of apple.
    Reply