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Trent Reznor, front man of industrial giant Nine Inch Nails, is in a vocal battle with Apple over its censorship of his iPhone application update which contained profanity.  (Source: ClubNotes)
Nine Inch Nails frontman remains angry over Apple app store rejection

Trent Reznor, a vocal tech leader in the music industry, would rather die than give Apple control -- or let it tell him that he can't use profanity in the gritty, emotional tracks that have made his band famous. 

The singer had spent months hard at work on an iPhone App.  The result, recently unveiled, was an ambitious app which offers Nine Inch Nails lyrics, forums, and a means of locating fellow fans looking for friends via GPS.  The app also provided live feeds of concert video and more. 

Apple, fresh off controversial rejections of the South Park and Baby Shaker apps, approved the app, but this week rejected an update to the app which would have allowed users to listen to tracks from NIN's landmark 1994 album “The Downward Spiral”.  It cited the profane lyrics on the tracks as the reason for the censorship.  Ironically, the tracks are available on iTunes, and have been strong sellers for the music service which the App Store is built on.

If that contradiction makes little sense to you, it doesn't to Mr. Reznor, either.  He unloaded against Apple in a recent blog posting, writing:

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?

Come on Apple, think your policies through and for f***'s sake get your app approval scenario together.

Apple, despite repeated attempts from Reznor and the press has refused to comment about its censorship tactics or to reverse its decision.  The disappointing part was that the update also contained essentially stability fixes, which prevented the app from crashing.  Without the fix, the app is drawing many negative reviews, but as Mr. Reznor puts it, his "hands are tied" as Apple won't approve the update.

While Apple is hardly the first commercial media retailer to practice censorship of violent, profane, or sexual content in recent years, its censorship on the iPhone stands out as an industry extreme.  Whereas retailers like Target, or even Walmart at least stock violent/profane movies and video games, Apple, with its App Store, has thus far most aggressively rejected content that might be found morally questionable by some.





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Balls of Titanium
By robertisaar on 5/6/2009 10:29:04 AM , Rating: 3
trent reznor is about the only major artist with enough balls to do this kind of thing, and i applaude him and listen to his "art" every day, especially Ghosts.




RE: Balls of Titanium
By nstott on 5/6/2009 10:45:22 AM , Rating: 1
He has more than two?!


RE: Balls of Titanium
By omnicronx on 5/6/2009 11:27:45 AM , Rating: 2
I've said it before and I'll say it again: REZNOR FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!


RE: Balls of Titanium
By HostileEffect on 5/6/2009 2:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
Me thinks Trent Reznor has a mega set of balls, they might not compare to Duke Nukem, but they still scream badass.

I'll pass on NIN music though if it has profanity in it, that is just not my taste. Artists should not have their hands tied on what they can and can't have in their art.


RE: Balls of Titanium
By omnicronx on 5/6/2009 3:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
Well.. when you own your own record label, and your last album release had more sales on your website than in stores, you can say these kinds of things ;)


Thank you Apple...
By Gilamunsta on 5/6/2009 10:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
...for doing what apparently I am incapable of doing - deciding for myself whether content is appropriate or not!




RE: Thank you Apple...
By robertisaar on 5/7/2009 1:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
apparently the FCC has followers everywhere...


So warm....
By SlipDizzy on 5/6/2009 2:01:46 PM , Rating: 2
When Apple censors something, I get this warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It makes me feel like the world is a safer place. Thank you Apple, please keep me safe from profanity.

I love you Apple.




RE: So warm....
By croc on 5/7/2009 2:25:54 AM , Rating: 2
I have this vision....

Steve Jobs, in fine white silk robes, standing before an altar adorned with the Apple logo...

And all of his Acolytes arrayed at his feet, bending down and....

I...Just....Cant....go on.


1-0
By rdeegvainl on 5/6/2009 10:01:21 AM , Rating: 3
Game.
Set.
Match.




Trent is NIN
By nstott on 5/6/2009 10:49:49 AM , Rating: 3
Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails. The remaining "band members" are always stand-ins.




By grandpope on 5/7/2009 2:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
Trent Reznor is about as fanatic about macs as he is about his music. Way to make him pick one over the other.

Good call. I mean, what's your encore? Do you, like, anally rape my mother while pouring sugar in my gas tank?




By grandpope on 5/7/2009 2:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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