Nine Inch Nails Access

Nine Inch Nails Access

Another day, another ridiculous tale of Apple’s App Store approval process.

While the Nine Inch Nails iPhone app we told you about recently is great, it suffers from a crash bug that affects users outside the U.S.

The bug was fixed within 24 hours, but the update containing the fix was eventually rejected from the App Store last week – despite it being identical to the live version of the app. Read on for NIN frontman Trent Reznor’s profanity-laden take on 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.

Those who are familiar with Apple’s “objectional content” clause of the SDK agreement will likely know the reason for the dichotomy of the Music Store and the App Store – there’s no “Parental Advisory” label for content in the App Store, and no parental controls built in to the iPhone that would obey the label if it existed.

Which essentially means any app that draws on user-generated content should be rejected from the App Store, lest a 13-year-old encounter a word that they would’ve heard in the playground by age 5. Twitter, Facebook, Skype, IM, even the built-in Mail and SMS apps should go too.

So here’s my tip for iPhone developers looking to sneak apps with potentially vulgar user-generated content through the cracks of the App Store approval process: make your application request a value from a server at launch, and use that value to determine whether to filter profanities. Start with “yes”, and after launch, switch to “no”.

…and if my T-Mobile G1 vs BlackBerry Bold vs iPhone 3G article was a little long winded for you, here’s Trent Reznor’s take:

Everyone – let me be clear. I love Apple products and as goofy and out-of-touch as their app approval process / policy is, I will still use them because they work 1000X better than the competition. This is not a debate, it’s a fact. The iPhone is THE most elegant, modern smartphone at this point in time and it’s perfect for what we want to do with the NIN app – except for the ludicrous approval process, and that’s what I want to draw attention to.

Android is cool, but nobody has an Android phone. Blackberry is OK but the hardware is inconsistent and WinMo straight-up sucks balls. If Apple doesn’t get it together, we will most certainly make it available to the jailbreak community. I didn’t invest in this app to see it languish on the sidelines from an idiotic policy while this tour is in full swing.


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  1. Apple Fan-586
    Posted May 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Well, if you download the free ipod app for “Scramble” called “Scramble Lite” you can eventually spell all kinds of “bad words.”

    Ooops! : )

  2. Susan
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Trent, you make great points in this, you’re my HERO now!

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