Apple, Spotify and other streaming companies accused of price-fixing ‘conspiracy’

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Music licensing company takes aim at Apple Music for illegal streaming
PRM thinks music streaming companies are playing dirty.
Photo: Stas Knop/Pexels CC

A music licensing company accuses Apple, Spotify, Google, SoundCloud, and other streaming services of entering into a price-fixing “conspiracy” to keep streaming music prices at anticompetitive levels.

Pro Music Rights (PMR) filed the complaint Monday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. PMR previously filed a lawsuit against Apple in December for allegedly streaming copyrighted music without the necessary permissions.

PMR’s complaint accuses the streaming companies of violating several laws. These include the Sherman Act, the Connecticut Antitrust Act, and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. It says that the companies are working together to “choke all vestiges of legitimate competition from the buy-side of the market.”

PMR was founded by Jake P. Noch, a 20-year-old entrepreneur. According to PMR, it controls a market share of 7.4% of the public performance rights market in the United States. PMR licenses a couple of million tracks. These include songs by artists such as A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, Gucci Mane, and others.

The new complaint from PMR says that, despite its “substantial effort and investment to accumulate musical works,” the accused companies have “entered into an illegal agreement, combination and/or conspiracy to shut PMR out of the market and to fix prices” at unfair levels. They have supposedly not dealt with PMR. PMR also says that “no television station, radio station or music streaming service has entered into a license to perform the musical works in PMR’s repertory.”

PMR is requesting a jury trial to settle issue. Whether this turns out to be a nothing-burger or has the potential to, at its most significant, blow up into an iBook price fixing-style issue remains to be seen. It comes at a time when discussion of possible antitrust violations are at their highest in years.

Via: Apple Insider