Will Apple Face Antitrust Regulators Over In-App Subscriptions?
— Anti-Apple sentiment continues this week with a statement from French music service Deezer. The company, which offers a paid mobile service via an iPod app, believes regulators will put an end to Apple’s 30% cut from in-app subscription revenue.
“It is very unlikely that Apple could legally apply these rules on the paid digital music services. It would be a leverage of its dominant position on the mobile applications market to reinforce its already overÃ¢Â€Âdominant position in the paid digital music market. Thus, considering that the distribution of applications is entirely controlled by Apple, they could not force us to use their billing system. It’s even more unlikely to be legally applicable if the imposed commission is seven times as high as any standard billing fee.”
One can assume Apple thought through the likelihood of antitrust problems when pondering its decision to take 30% of subscription revenue. Any novice strategist would have spent at least a few minutes on the subject. After all, every action has a reaction. If that action is taking 30% of a streaming service’s subscription revenue, some sort of reaction is all but guaranteed.
So if we assume Apple had thought this through, it must not have felt intervention from antitrust regulators was likely. And it’s safe to say the company sees its contribution to in-app subscriptions as far more valuable than a credit card fee is to a typical ecommerce transaction.
Where would Apple get the idea that it could take a 30% cut? Facebook. It could have looked at the 30% cut of Facebook Credits revenue the company now takes from companies like Zynga. (It has been reported that Zynga may have secured some free advertising as a concession from Facebook.) If this practice is allowed for Facebook, then it may be allowed for Apple, too. Facebook, like Apple, will make companies pay for building a business within its ecosystem. If these companies get their way, such will be the price of riding on the shoulders of giants. (MusicAlly)
ComScore: Vevo 18th Biggest U.S. Web Property
— Music video site Vevo had 56.2 million U.S. visitors and was the 18th biggest Web property in the United States in January, according to new numbers from comScore. Vevo had 60.3 million visitors in December and 50.3 million in November, according to comScore.
At the top of the list, Yahoo! sites amassed 178.9 million visitors, topping Google sites’ 178.5 million. Microsoft was a close third with 176.8 million, Facebook was fourth with 153 million and AOL was fifth with 111 million.
Other companies in the top 50 that are of interest to the music industry include Viacom Digital (No. 8), Amazon sites (No. 11), Apple (No. 14) and Netflix (No. 44).
A few sites appeared in comScore’s top 50 for the first time: Huffington Post (No. 41) (the same month the site was acquired by AOL for $315 million), Netflix, Yelp.com (No. 45), Monster, Inc. (No. 47) and Bank of America (No. 48). (Press release)
Downloading Alive and Well at Tufts University
— Think college-aged people are all about streaming media? At Tufts University, 204 students received complaints last semester for allegedly engaging in file sharing using download-based protocols such as BitTorrent and peer-to-peer service LimeWire. Sixteen of those students received a pre-settlement letter, which tend to require a $1,500 payment to avoid further legal action. The increase in complaints shows an increase over the previous two full academic years in which 331 and 346 students faced disciplinary action. Part of the increase may be due to new procedures related to provisions in the 2008 Higher Education Act, which requires colleges and universities to put policies in place that deter and discipline file sharers. Whether more are sharing or more are being caught, downloading appears to be alive and well on this particular college campus. (Tufts Daily)
D.C. Venue Back in Business Following Legal Issues
— DC9 in Washington, D.C., is putting on live shows for the first time since five of its employees were charged with a beating that resulted in a man’s death last October. Aggravated assault charges on all five were dropped in November. Upcoming shows include rapper Murs (March 15), Hey Rosetta! (March 24) and An Horse (March 27). (TBD)