Apple Backtracks, Accepts Nine Inch Nails App

Rock band's program will be allowed in the App Store after all, despite its ability to stream "objectionable" content.

Marin Perez, Contributor

May 8, 2009

2 Min Read

Apple has changed courses on an iPhone application it once rejected, and has accepted a Nine Inch Nails iPhone application that can stream what Apple has termed "objectionable content."

The company had originally said the app was in violation of the iPhone developer's terms of service. The app itself does not contain profane content, but it enables users to stream music for the album The Downward Spiral, whose lyrics contain multiple curse words.

"NEWS FLASH: Apple has approved the NIN iPhone app update. Should be live in a few hours," said Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor via Twitter Thursday.

Reznor said the update to the app was completely unchanged, indicating Apple succumbed to public pressure. Apple did not respond to press inquiries regarding the app, but Reznor was livid when he found out the program was originally rejected.

"How does that make sense? You can buy 'The Downward ****ing Spiral' on iTunes, but you can't allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it," Reznor wrote in the Nine Inch Nails forums.

With more than 1 billion apps downloaded in less than a year, the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch represents a lucrative opportunity for developers. But the hurdles with the Nine Inch Nails app bring up lingering concerns about Apple's vetting process.

Some developers say the approval process is inconsistent, as a South Park app was rejected for its content, but a baby-shaking program was briefly allowed to be sold. This inconsistency could push some developers to move to competing platforms such as Android, which Google said will have a more transparent and open approval process.

The iPhone platform will likely still be attractive to developers because of its customer base, which is more than 30 million counting the iPod Touch audience. Apple said it approves about 96% of the apps that are submitted.

Reznor was tapped this week for the Webby Artist of the Year by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Judges cited his achievements in "harnessing the power of the Internet to share his music and passions.

As mobile devices become more prevalent and deeply ingrained in employees' work lives, the question of how to deploy, secure, and manage them has become an increasingly pressing problem for enterprise IT departments. InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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