jay z tidal streaming service beats spotify
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The streaming music game is getting serious as it becomes a bigger revenue avenue for artists and labels. With the relaunch of Beats Music reportedly on the way, Apple is looking to shake things up with aggressive tactics that are being investigated by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commision. According the The Verge, "Apple has been pushing major music labels to force streaming services like Spotify to abandon their free tiers, which will dramatically reduce the competition of Apple's upcoming offering."

The Verge also reports that Apple is using its status in the electronics and music world to try and convince labels to not renew Spotify's license through its free tier. Of Spotify's 60 million users, only 15 million pay a monthly fee to use the service. If the free option were to disappear, the result could be millions of previous Spotify users jumping ship to the relaunched Beats Music, which is expected to feature exclusive content.

Sources to the Verge also say that Apple has offered to pay YouTube's music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing YouTube to stream its songs. "All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat," an industry source told The Verge.

Officials from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have already begun an investigation. The New York Post also reports that the European Union's Competition Commission has launched a probe of Apple and other music streaming services to see if they are working with music labels to try and rid the world of free streaming services.

Beats Music is expected to relaunch at June's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.