Take a deep breath, Apple: Europe snaps on gloves for vigorous iTunes stream pat-down

Deals with labels for Spotify rival in secondary screening

Apple is once again in the headlights of oncoming government regulators, this time over its forthcoming iTunes music-streaming service.

Reports from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal cite well-placed sources claiming the Cupertino idiot-tax operation is being scrutinized by the European Commission over its dealings with record labels.

The reports claim EU officials have sent questionnaires to major record labels and music-streaming rivals to ask about their dealings with Apple and each other.

At issue, the reports claim, is Apple's expected launch of an on-demand internet jukebox. Regulators would, presumably, want to make sure Apple has been on the level in talks with the labels over the rights to stream their songs to iFans.

While Apple has yet to formally announce a subscription music service, Cook and Co. are widely believed to be preparing for a launch later this year.

The service would include a re-branding of the Beats Music service. Apple acquired the subscription-based streaming service last year when it shelled out a staggering $3bn to scoop up Beats and hire co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

Apple hasn't always had the best relationship with its content partners, at least not as far as regulators have been concerned. The Cupertino giant was recently dinged for $450m by a US court for price-fixing ebook titles.

Apple has also had to make concessions in the EU, changing the wording in the App Store to acknowledge the hidden charges in 'freemium' App titles. ®

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