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FTC begins issuing subpoenas in App Store investigation triggered by Apple Music - report

The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly expanded its inquiry into Apple's policy of forcing companies to turn over 30 percent of subscription revenue earned through the App Store, issuing subpoenas to streaming services that compete with Apple Music.




There is no word on exactly what information the commission is seeking with the subpoenas, which were reported by The Verge, or which services have received them. It's likely that the list includes one or more of Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Tidal, the most prominent competition for Apple Music.

The commission began looking into the App Store's revenue sharing policy earlier this month, after competitors groused that Apple Music launched with a built-in pricing advantage.

Because Apple keeps a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases— including subscription revenue— services like Spotify are forced to raise their prices in the App Store to compensate, or face lost revenue from iOS users. The companies are also prohibited by App Store rules from directing consumers to sign up through other avenues that would avoid the 30-percent haircut, a likely secondary point of contention for the FTC.

"They [Apple] control iOS to give themselves a price advantage," one music industry insider told The Verge earlier this year. "Thirty percent doesn't go to any artist, it doesn't go to us, it goes to Apple."