Trent Reznor, along with his media director/guru Rob Sheridan have developed a pretty hefty band-fan interaction iPhone application and launched it on iTunes a couple of weeks ago. Now Trent and Rob are seeing the new update of their application rejected by the Apple store because of some “explicit content” in one of NIN’s new songs, “The Downward Spiral”, that is merely just streamable in the application’s podcast.
Trent is obviously not happy about this at all. In Apple’s world, apps like the virtual fart thing can make you a millionaire. Apps like iSnort, that lets you snort virtual cocaine lines, are accepted. There are enormous catalogs of “explicit content” related music sold on iTunes, and yet just because of one song (who by the way is also sold on iTunes), a perfectly respectable app, created by a perfectly respectable music 2.0/tech-visionary/rock super mega star, is getting shoved off the shelf because of some content that doesn’t even pertain to the app itself.
Trent posted Apple’s rejection letter, as well as his outraged reply on his forums. Here is what came out of it:
Thank you for submitting nin: access to the App Store. 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
iPhone Developer Program
Now, “The Downward Spiral” the album is not available anywhere in the iPhone app. The song “The Downward Spiral” I believe is in a podcast that can be streamed to the app.
Thanks Apple for the clear description of the problem – as in, what do you want us to change to get past your stupid fucking standards?
And while we’re at it, 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.