– The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Apple’s (NASD: AAPL) business practices in
the digital music market, in particular its alleged pressuring of record labels
to decline to participate in an Amazon.com (NASD: AMZN) music promotion, The New York Times
reported, citing people briefed on the conversations. Billboard reported in
March that Apple was punishing labels whose artists participated in Amazon’s
MP3 Daily Deal promotion — which offered discounts and exclusive early access to
songs or albums — by withdrawing marketing support for those songs on its
CNET cited sources who said the Justice Dept. isn’t focused
solely on the issue with Amazon, but rather Apple’s use of its dominant market
position in the sector.
The Times notes that the Justice Dept.’s inquiry into
Apple’s music dealings is preliminary, but adds to existing FTC probe into its
rules for iPhone developers.