Over the weekend, Trent Reznor, front-man for Nine Inch Nails, received quite a bit of bad news from the App Store. It seems that the update to their app, nin: access, was denied.
The app is currently in the App Store, available for free, having already passed through the approval process once. The changes in this update? Well, they'd fix some of the bugs that have left many users giving the app a poor rating due to unexpected issues.
So what exactly was Apple's reason for denying the update?
“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.”
This is in reference to the album "The Downward Spiral" made available through the app. Here's what Trent had to say in response to the issue:
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.
The developer has removed the album "The Downward Spiral" from the server and is attempting to resubmit the app and get the bug fixes resolved. While some see this as Trent and his team backing down, I see it as them not wanting their fans to be disappointed with a buggy app while his latest tour is going on.
The ups and downs of the iTunes App Store approval process is really starting to wear on everyone. We've been through times when the strictest of policies were followed to baby shaking apps making their way onto your device. We understand that Apple has quite a lot on their plate, but they're the ones who instated this approval process. It's time they get things under control.