Apple's Arbitrary Rejects Hit Nine Inch Nails App
from the bizarre dept
We’ve covered plenty of examples of Apple’s rather arbitrary decision/approval process for putting apps in the iPhone App Store — demonstrating a huge opportunity for other phone providers to be more open and less ridiculous. We’ve also talked plenty about Trent Reznor and how Nine Inch Nails is doing all sorts of unique things to connect with fans — including a fantastically well thought out iPhone app that got lots of well-deserved attention.
However, those two things clashed this weekend, when Apple suddenly rejected the latest version of the iPhone app for very murky reasons:
We’ve reviewed nin: access and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it contains objectionable content which is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states:
“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”
The objectionable content referenced in this email is “The Downward Spiral”. Since the app is live on the App store, please make the necessary changes to the application as soon as possible, and resubmit your binary to iTunes Connect. Thank you
Except… it’s not at all clear what the actual problem is. As Reznor notes, the album “The Downward Spiral” (one of NIN’s most popular albums) is not available on the app itself, though the song “The Downward Spiral” is apparently found somewhere in a podcast that can be streamed from the app. But, as Reznor later points out, the same song can be easily bought on iTunes, so it’s difficult to see what possible objection Apple could have.
I’ll voice the same issue I had with Wal-Mart years ago, which is a matter of consistency and hypocrisy. Wal-Mart went on a rampage years ago insisting all music they carry be censored of all profanity and “clean” versions be made for them to carry. Bands (including Nirvana) tripped over themselves editing out words, changing album art, etc to meet Wal-Mart’s standards of decency – because Wal-Mart sells a lot of records. NIN refused, and you’ll notice a pretty empty NIN section at any Wal-Mart. My reasoning was this: I can understand if you want the moral posturing of not having any “indecent” material for sale – but you could literally turn around 180 degrees from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film “Scarface” completely uncensored, or buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto where you can be rewarded for beating up prostitutes. How does that make sense?
You can buy The Downward Fucking Spiral on iTunes, but you can’t allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it. Geez, what if someone in the forum in our app says FUCK or CUNT? I suppose that also falls into indecent material. Hey Apple, I just got some SPAM about fucking hot asian teens THROUGH YOUR MAIL PROGRAM. I just saw two guys having explicit anal sex right there in Safari! On my iPhone!
Come on Apple, think your policies through and for fuck’s sake get your app approval scenario together.