The Justice Department is examining Apple's tactics in the market for digital music in relation to Seattle's Amazon.com, and more broadly around the dynamics of selling music online.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Justice Department is examining Apple’s tactics in the market for digital music in relation to Seattle’s Amazon.com, and more broadly around the dynamics of selling music online.
People briefed on the inquiries said investigators had asked about recent allegations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give online retailer Amazon.com exclusive access to new releases.
All these people spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the delicacy of the matter. Representatives from Apple and Amazon declined to comment. Gina Talamona, a deputy director at the Justice Department, also declined to comment.
In March, Billboard magazine reported that Amazon was asking music labels to give it the exclusive right to sell certain forthcoming songs for one day before they went on sale more widely. In exchange, Amazon promised to include those songs in a promotion called the “MP3 Daily Deal” on its website.
Most Read Business Stories
- Renter boom: Apartments filling up faster in Seattle area than anywhere in the U.S.
- This Seattle-area CEO made more than the heads of Microsoft and Starbucks — and he’s not in the tech sector
- Protecting your Internet accounts keeps getting easier. Here’s how to do it.
- Mom jeans made women love denim again
- Battered SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster knocked over at sea returns to Port Canaveral
The magazine reported that representatives of Apple’s iTunes music service were asking the labels not to participate in Amazon’s promotion, adding that Apple punished those that did by withdrawing marketing support for those songs on iTunes.
Apple is by far the largest seller of online music in the United States, with 69 percent of the market, according to data from the NPD Group. Amazon has an 8 percent share online.