The latest music industry initiative to beat iTunes, Universal’s Total Music plan, is facing a Justice Department inquiry before it’s even out of the concept stage. Universal and Sony have gotten DOJ letters of inquiry, reports the Wall Street Journal. It’s uncertain what aspect of Total Music concerns the DOJ, but competitors cooperating to set prices could raise issues.
Total Music would offer unlimited access to a large catalog of songs, possibly as part of a service bundled into the price of compatible portable music players. Universal proposed the idea to the other “big four” music companies and Sony reportedly showed the most interest. Warner and EMI said the Department of Justice hasn’t contacted them.