Apple's long-rumoured relaunch of the Beats music-streaming service is slated for June, and in preparation, the company is softening the beaches by playing hardball with record labels. And, not for the first time, federal trade commissioners in the US aren't particularly happy.
According to sources that have spoken to Bloomberg and The Verge, Apple is pushing hard to ink exclusive deals for the new streaming service — and take money and music away from rivals like Spotify and YouTube.
The Verge reported that "Apple offered to pay YouTube's music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube". Bloomberg writes that "Apple has approached more than a dozen artists including Florence and the Machine for limited exclusive rights to music and partnerships".
Both Apple and record-label spokespeople have denied comment; but this wouldn't be the first time that Apple has been embroiled in an anti-trust case. Famously, Apple worked with ebook publishers to force Amazon to change its pricing strategy, an action that's ended with an anti-trust monitor installed on Apple's campus.