Attorneys general in New York and Connecticut are investigating whether the deals that Apple Inc has struck with music companies for its new streaming service violate antitrust laws, the New York Times reported.
Spokesmen for both offices confirmed to Reuters that the music streaming industry was being investigated for anticompetitive behavior, but would not confirm that Apple was being singled out.
Apple launched its music streaming service, Apple Music, on Monday. The $9.99-a-month service could alter the dynamics of how consumers listen to music as the music industry grapples with declines in downloaded songs and tries to figure out new ways to get people to pay for music.
The Times quoted, Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, as saying the state was looking into Apple's negotiations with music labels to preserve the benefits consumers have enjoyed from streaming services.
Universal Music Group, in a letter to the Antitrust Bureau of the attorney general's office, said it had no deals with Apple or companies such as Sony Music that would "impede the availability of free or ad-supported services or prevent it from licensing its recorded music to any music streaming service."
Universal Music said it offers limited exclusive content to some streaming services where such exclusivity is not part of a deal to restrain competition. (on.ny.gov/1TahSnr)
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, in an email to Reuters, said his office was satisfied that Universal did not have anticompetitive agreements to withhold music titles from free streaming services.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the investigation.
(Reporting by Supriya Kurane, Devika Krishna Kumar and Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi and Ted Kerr)