Apple May Be Buying Tidal, Blocking Spotify Update

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Apple is having a busy week, according to recent reports: Jay-Z’s streaming music service Tidal could be joining Tim Cook and friends in the near future, while another rival service claims the tech company is blocking update to its apps to push people into the arms of Apple Music.

The Wall Street Journal cites the ever-present “people familiar with the matter” who say Apple is looking into possible shoring up its music service with Tidal, which has a very good relationship with big names like Madonna and Kanye West (it’s also the only streaming service to offer a 15-album Prince catalog).

Just because there are discussions happening, the source says, that doesn’t mean anything will come of it. A Tidal spokesman told the WSJ that executives hadn’t had any chats with Apple.

Tidal charges $20 per month, and is well-liked by many musicians because it only has a paid subscription service. Spotify, on the other hand, has both a premium, paid tier and a free tier, which irks some artists.

Speaking of Spotify, the company is accusing Apple of rejecting its app’s update in order to herd customers toward Apple Music, a person on the inside told Bloomberg Technology.

Apple put the kibosh on the update because Spotify was pushing folks to subscribe to the service online instead of through the iOS mobile operating system, the insider claims, citing an internal Spotify company letter. That way, Spotify could avoid paying the 30% cut on monthly subscriptions that are billed through iOS.

Re/code says that in the letter, which was sent to Apple’s top lawyer by Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez on June 26, Spotify says Apple is “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” by rejecting the update.

“This latest episode raises serious concerns under both U.S. and EU competition law,” Gutierrez wrote. “It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple’s previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify … we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.”

Neither company has commented on the matter.

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