The US Department of Justice has launched an anti-trust probe into Total Music, the proposed music service from Universal and Sony BMG.
As we wrote in October 2007, Total Music would offer free music to end users by charging device manufactures or ISPs. The earlier figures mentioned $90 per device for access to Total Music, based on $5 per month over 18 months.
According to The Register, Universal and SonyBMG are confirmed, with all four major record labels likely to be involved in the investigation as well.
The investigation will consider whether the big four, as providers of over 80% of all music, are unfairly using their market position to provide an unfair market advantage to Total Music. The record companies have been investigated previously for such behavior, although the earlier investigation closed in 2003 following Apple’s launch of iTunes.
In related news, the RIAA is now suggesting that copyright filtering should be done at a PC level, with the tech bundled with virus scanning software. Desperate suggestions from desperate people.