Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 12:18 UK

Reznor takes a byte out of Apple

Trent Reznor
Trent Reznor was very explicit in his views on Apple

Apple has reversed a decision blocking a Nine Inch Nails (NIN) iPhone app.

The application - nin: access - was rejected last week on the grounds it had "offensive or obscene content".

Nin: access allows users to access streamed music and video content from the NIN homepage, including a song called The Downward Spiral.

The band's frontman, Trent Reznor, accused Apple of double standards - the song could be bought on iTunes - and a few days later Apple relented.

Come on Apple, think your policies through
Trent Reznor

On the NIN forum, Trent Reznor posted an e-mail exchange between the developer and Apple. In it Apple stated that the app was a "violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement" and asked them to amend the application.

"The objectionable content referenced in this e-mail is The Downward Spiral," said Apple.

In an explicit reply, punctuated with obscenities, Trent Reznor said that the album was not available anywhere in the app, although the song The Downward Spiral was on the NIN homepage as a podcast and could 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... standards?" he wrote.

Using expletives to emphasise his argument, pointed out that The Downward Spiral was available on iTunes "but you can't allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it."

He asked what would happen if someone swore on the forum in the app. "I suppose that also falls into indecent material," he wrote.

"Come on Apple, think your policies through and... get your app approval scenario together."

Apple have refused to explain their change of heart, saying: "It's not something we comment on."

Bad taste

At the end of April, Apple was forced to apologise for a "deeply offensive" application called Baby Shaker, which made a game of quieting crying babies by shaking them.

The Downward Spiral
The Downward Spiral was NIN's second album

Although approved by Apple, the application sparked outrage from children's groups and brain injury foundations and the firm was forced to withdraw it two days after it went on sale.

"This application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store," Apple said in a statement.

Trent Reznor is no stranger to digital distribution. Last year, Nine Inch Nails put out their album Ghosts I-IV - a 36-track instrumental compilation - that was offered via the website without any hype and was followed up by a user-generated film festival on YouTube. He also released an online game accompanying his YearZero album and distributed an HD video of his tour via BitTorrent.

His achievements were recognised at this year's Webby Awards, winning the Webby Artist of the Year. The judges highlighted his skill in "harnessing the power of the internet to share his music and passions".

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