Breaking News Emails
Several weeks after the launch of Apple Music, Sen. Al Franken has sent a letter to two federal agencies urging them to look into the way Apple operates its music-streaming service.
The Minnesota Democrat's letter, sent Wednesday to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, questioned Apple's practice of taking a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases while not letting other streaming services use their own apps to inform users that lower prices are available through their websites.
Spotify has been particularly vocal about the issue. The company has been encouraging iPhone customers to subscribe to its $9.99 premium service through the Spotify website instead of through the App Store, where the price is $12.99 — a necessary price bump because of the 30 percent fee, Spotify claims.
"Increased competition in the music streaming market should mean that consumers will ultimately benefit through more choices of better products and at lower prices," Franken wrote. "I am concerned, however, that Apple's position as a dominant platform operator may actually undermine many of the potential consumer benefits of its entry into the market."
NBC News reached out to Apple for comment but the company did not immediately respond.
Several news outlets, including The Washington Post, have cited unnamed sources as saying the FTC is investigating the matter. Officially, the agency told NBC News, "FTC investigations are non-public and we do not comment on an investigation or the existence of an investigation."