Rumored Apple Streaming Music Service Spurs EU Anti-trust Investigation

Apple is falling under the critical eye of European Union regulators over concerns the company may have violated anti-trust laws with record label deals for its streaming music service. There isn't an official investigation underway, but music industry companies have been questioned about the deals they have with Apple.

EU probing into Apple streaming music deals over anti-trust concernsEU probing into Apple streaming music deals over anti-trust concerns

Insider sources told the Financial Times several record labels and digital music companies have been questioned by the EU. There isn't any word on exactly why the EU has started informally probing Apple's deals, but it's likely this is in response to a formal complaint.

The deals in question relate to the new streaming music service Apple is expected to launch soon. The service will reportedly be built on Beats Music, the streaming music service Apple bought last year.

Should the answers the EU gets to its questions indicate some form on anti-trust violation has occurred, an official investigation could be launched.

Part of the concern the EU has is that Apple may try to push free ad-supported streaming music services out of the market in favor of pay-only subscriptions.

The anti-trust concerns the EU is raising now seem somewhat like the ebook price fixing accusations Apple faced in the United States. In that case, a federal court ruled Apple violated anti-trust laws by colluding with publishers to strike deals that artificially raised the price of books.

Apple has denied any wrongdoing, and is appealing the ruling. In that case, Apple claims it struck a series of independent deals with publishers who were all trying to find a way to break Amazon's monopoly control over the book market.

Apple and the EU haven't commented on this new music-related probe. The source of the assumed complaint hasn't been named, either, although it's assumed to have come from companies that offer free streaming music services.