If Goldman Sachs can bring down Greece, they can definitely touch Apple Music. Which brings us to Goldman-backed Spotify, whose team of six different lobbyists is now becoming an albatross for an already-troubled Apple Music launch.
According to details emerging this morning, a Spotify-charged, government probe of Apple Music is now entering a new phase, with the involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That is, the federal, US Government FTC.
The Verge has specifically pointed to subpoenas against Apple from the FTC, though at this point we’re unsure of their exact nature. Just recently, Spotify urged their users to bypass Apple’s 30 percent App Store cut on Spotify subscriptions, a move that brazenly violates Apple’s terms of service but reflects the type of chutzpah that comes from clout on Capitol Hill and Washington.
And just for the record, bypassing Apple’s in-app subscription requirement is definitely not permitted under Apple’s TOS (though for now, they’re letting it slide)…
“Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the App, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected.”
Apple App Store review guidelines, section 11.13.
The subpoenas represent another major roadblock in major label plans to limit free access on streaming services. Initially, Apple’s decision to limit free access to a three-month window was considered a starting point to pressure rivals like Spotify to do the same. Throughout, Spotify has been staunchly resistant to such efforts, especially given the competitive disadvantage it spells against Youtube.
Unfortunately for the co-conspiring ‘Big Three,’ quick investigations from state attorneys general in New York and Connective kiboshed that effort. That represented a clear, initial victory for Spotify’s nascent present in Washington.
More as it develops!
Image by Troy Trolley, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 (CC by 2.0).