The tech giant and major record labels are under scrutiny for collusion in two US states.
The attorneys general of New York and Connecticut have investigated Apple in search of potential antitrust violations. They are seeking to find out whether Apple pressured major labels to withdraw support for popular “freemium” music streaming services, offered by competitors such as Spotify, in favour of Apple’s newly-announced paid subscriptions.
On Tuesday, Universal Music Group confirmed it was cooperating with the industrywide investigation, which is being led by the attorney general of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, and the attorney general of Connecticut, George Jepsen.
In a letter to the to Schneiderman’s office from Universal Music Group’s legal firm, Hunton & Williams, the label group states it has no agreements with Apple or other labels that could restrict the availability of free or ad-supported services.
According to the letter, the attorneys general investigation is currently suspended. As the letter notes, this does not mean the query is concluded and the attorneys general may take further action in the future.
“UMG shares the Attorneys General’s commitment to a robust and competitive market for music streaming services in the mutual best interest of consumers, artists, services and content companies alike – and we have a long track record to that effect,” UMG told Billboard in a statement.
“We are pleased to have provided the Attorneys General information demonstrating that conduct. It is our understanding that, given these representations, the Attorneys General have no present intention to make further inquiries of UMG in this regard.”
Connecticut Attorney General Jespen told the New York Times that his office was satisfied with Universal’s response, adding, “We will continue to monitor that market to ensure that consumers and competition are protected.” [via New York Times]