The Justice Department is examining Apple’s tactics in the digital music market for digital music, and its staff members have talked to major music labels and Internet music companies, reports “The New York Times” (, quoting “several people briefed on the conversations.”

The antitrust inquiry is in the early stages, these people say, and the conversations have revolved broadly around the dynamics of selling music online. However, But thosebriefed on the inquiries also said investigators had asked in particular about recent allegations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give the online retailer exclusive access to music about to be released, adds the “Times.”

Apple is the largest seller of online music in the U.S., with 69% of the market, according to data from the NPD Group, research firm. Amazon’s MP3 store was in second place, with an 8% share. Apple is also the largest seller of music, with 26.7 percent of the overall market, up from 12 % in 2007.