European regulators are scrutinizing Apple’s dealings with a number of record labels ahead of the planned summer launch of the company’s own steaming service, the Financial Times reports.
The FT states that several labels and digital music companies have been contacted by the European Commission and sent questionnaires requesting information about agreements that are in place between the various parties.
It is understood that these information requests do not necessarily mean that the European Commission will launch a formal antitrust investigation, but that it is merely the first step of an enquiry, which are typically triggered by a formal complaint.
If the commission concludes there is wrongdoing it is has the power to enforce changes to business practices and can impose hefty fines, says the FT.
As previously reported, Apple is anticipated to forgo the “freemium” model when it launches its own streaming service later this year, as per Beats Music launch in early 2014.
According to the FT, the European Commission has also approached a number of Apple’s music-streaming rivals amid concerns that the tech giant’s size and influence will be used to persuade labels to abandon free, ad-supported streaming, which services like Spotify depend on to grow subscriptions.
Spokespersons for Apple and the European Commission could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.