Major Labels Under Antitrust Investigation

from the yet-again dept

Apparently the Justice Department is suddenly worried that the four major record labels are colluding in creating a new online music subscription service. The last time this happened was back when the record labels tried to (wait, this sounds familiar) create online music subscription services — which were universally panned, rarely used and eventually shut down. So, even if the labels are colluding, given their strategic vision, it seems rather unlikely that they’re going to leverage their position to dominate the market. They certainly could hold back other services — but it seems like they’ve been doing that for years already, just with their own shortsightedness.

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Companies: riaa

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Comments on “Major Labels Under Antitrust Investigation”

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Chronno S. Trigger says:


I may be reading the attached article wrong but I believe it’s saying that the record industry is trying to offer a subscription bast system that will allow people to download all the music they want for $5. This 5$ can be subsidized by the ISP or the device manufacturer. Due to this idea they are now under an anti-trust investigation. Why? They want to offer a service that is what people want (No details on these restrictions) at a price they would pay or even not have to pay depending on how they get it. Why is this such a bad thing?

“The subscription model is the only way to save the music business,” Rubin has said. “If music is easily available at a price of five or six dollars a month, then nobody will steal it.”

Sounds like someone got the idea finally.

Anonymous Coward says:

Subscription services are doomed if they don’t allow portability. People want content on players, PC’s, phones, TV’s etc. whenever they want as often as they want. Any subscription service that limits portability is dead at the gate.

Their approach raises antitrust issues because the label’s would control the entire supply chain. The Justice Department takes a dim view of vertical integration/dominance.

TomTheToe says:


“They want to offer a service that is what people want (No details on these restrictions) at a price they would pay or even not have to pay depending on how they get it. Why is this such a bad thing?” As was brought forth in the article the last time they did this, “The DoJ investigated a number of complaints, the strongest of which was that the major labels refused to license their catalogues to competing music service providers.” A collusion of this magnitude by the record companies would put all other pay music services out of business. Only Apple and Sony would be big enough to afford to license any music from the big 4 music companies. The consumer would be left with no internet music download sources except what the label would allow. No thanks.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re:WTF?

A valid point but technically they can already refuse to license to any one they want, they can force any price restriction they want, since they own the copyright to all the music.

If I sell a product threw resellers and then all of a sudden I chose to sell it directly and not have resellers any more, is that monopolistic? Not if I still have competition. The RIAA still had the smaller labels and indie bands to contend with.

Eric the Grey says:

I doubt it's just the offering of the service

Not that they are offering the service, but perhaps that they are using their leverage (ie: copyright) to prevent anybody else from entering the field with the same idea.

The RIAA has certainly made it clear that nobody but them will be allowed to operate such a program and they are using DRM or Illegal Downloads, or whatever else they can to prevent it. They are THE reason the downloads haven’t taken off with the exception of iTunes, and they keep trying to cripple that…


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