Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, respected for his innovative approach to music distribution, has gone on the rampage against Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) after the company blocked an update to the band’s iPhone app due to “objectionable content”. The band’s NIN:Access app contains news, photos, streaming music and videos, location-based fan community and messaging. It went live in April, but over this weekend Reznor reproduced an email from iPhone’s Developer Program that said a song contained in a linked podcast, The Downward Spiral, had fallen foul of rules, presumed to be because of profanity.
Reznor said he’s an Apple fan but called its app approval process “goofy and out-of-touch”: “You can buy The Downward … Spiral on iTunes, but you can’t allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it.” He also made a point of principal – that NIN:Access’ forum area allows users to swear uncensored and that iPhone’s Safari browser also allows access to “objectionable content” like profanity and pornography. Read Reznor’s post for plenty more profanity.
A version of NIN:Access was downloadable today, at least from my iPhone. Mobile apps are a new channel for bands that route around online music store rules and offer a packaged experience to fans – Death Cab For Cutie, Snow Patrol, Akon, Pink and others have recently added them. As app stores increasingly take on the role of music stores, it so far seems the terms of service, which last month let through Baby Shaker before it was removed, may need to adjust to catch up.