Trent Reznor: Nobody Has An Android Phone


trent-reznor-androidTrent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails (NIN) are undoubtedly musical pioneers when it comes to the digital age of entertainment profiteering – they don’t have a record label and released their last two albums (Ghosts I-IV and The Slip) under the Creative Commons License. Unlike most in the music industry… they get it. And considering the digital age of music is still being formed, the are defining “it”.

Their latest “it” is a NIN iPhone application that connects the band with fans in a multitude of ways. But last week Apple rejected an updated version of the group’s app, noting that it contained “Objectionable Content”:

“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch

Clarification has pinpointed the specific content crossing the line as the song “The Downward Spiral” which can be streamed to the Application and apparently includes one too many F-bombs. Yes… Apple is not only screwing their developers but is also imposing ridiculous limitations on what content their customers and users are allowed to access. Give me a break… what a crock of horse manure.

Trent Reznor agrees with me – the iPhone might be dainty and elegant but their “pick and choose” morals are total BS:

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.

I would plea to Mr. Reznor, telling him I feel his pain and asking him to join us on the Android side of the fence where the grass is greener. Or perhaps not “greener” but “less pissed on”. But it wouldn’t likely help much. Reznor pretty much pissed on our side of the fence, too:

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.

I absolutely HATE when people say that. It kind of reminds me of the Yogi Berra quote about restuaruants… “Nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded” or something like that only the inverse. That is an absolute TERRIBLE reason. Go ahead, Trent… allow Apple to compromise your artistic integrity and continue rewarding them for it. Trent Reznor and NIN should walk away from Apple for the same reason they walked away from Record Contracts with big agencies. They should make a statement…

And that statement should be Android.

Update: Jeremy sent me an appropriate News Tip with the comment, “Nobody has Android my ass Trent Reznor!

[Via EngadgetMobile, iPhoneBlog, NIN Forum, NIN Forum again, AndroidGuys]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I honestly wouldn’t want them anywhere near Android. :)
    He looks like a big douche.

  2. “Android is cool, but nobody has an Android phone”

    That is a naive statement to make,considering the potential of android.By next year i can assure you the number of android phones would be in the millions. imagine how many android phones would be sold in China alone,which has the largest network in the world. NIN better have a re-think before its too late.

  3. What a pity…

    So what if you have an iPhone app that sells for $100 a week, wouldn’t you still want that extra $20-50 a week from Android? Don’t forget that, by the end of the year (optimistically) there will be at least four more phones on different networks.

    How many (albeit legit) iPhones on other networks? I probably could count them on my fingers and toes (/sarcasm)…

  4. Unfortunately for Android, for Trent and for us, potential only goes so far. You can have all the potential in the world and never achieve anything with it. The reason that “nobody has an Android phone” is due to the lack of devices. I desperately need a new phone and want Android, but hate HTC devices, the G1 (and the upcoming Magic) included. For all intents and purposes, Reznor is right: for the current market, Android just doesn’t have the numbers behind them. Hopefully this year and next will prove different and all that potential energy behind Android (and the device manufacturers) will become kinetic in big way and rocket Android’s popularity way beyond Apple and their proprietary golden poo.

  5. Ricky, stfu. Trent Reznor is the genius musician of our time. EPIC doesn’t even begin to define how good he is. In the world of WinMo and Apple, no one has Android. Look at how huge its installed base is now…less than one year and its already growing so much. Give it time people….give it time. I think im gonna go listen to NIN now.

  6. I like Android, but the fact is that if you want an Android phone in the US, you have to be on T-Mobile (unless you’re willing to cope without 3G). And T-Mobile is the smallest of the major carriers in the US in subscribers and network footprint.

    Until other carriers come out with Android phones, which they’re apparently in no hurry to do, Trent’s right. He didn’t really say anything bad about the platform itself; I’m sure he’ll take a look if Apple continues to piss him off and AT&T gets an Android phone.

  7. @Rollins – iPhone is only available on AT&T which most people think absolutely sucks. More subscribers on an equally shitty network. Android will inherently, over time, be found on more phones and more carriers than the iPhone… that is plain and simple fact.

  8. No Trent, that IS a debate. Your word is not fact it is opinion.

    Android comments aside, I’m utterly sick of celebrities telling us what is and isn’t in this world. And the sad part is that people actually listen to him and believe him when he says shit like: “this is not a debate, it’s a fact. The iPhone is THE most elegant, modern smartphone at this point”. I’m sorry jackass, but those two adjectives (elegant, modern) are entirely subjective and you don’t make the rules that determine them.

    Now continue on with your love of a phone OS that will continually shoot your apps down because, even if they let it pass this time, you can bet your ass that they’ll shoot down another one in the future. So have fun Trent.

    P.S. I do applaud NIN’s lack of a record label and their mentality towards DIY distribution.

  9. I can’t say I agree with Trent (about Android,) nor do I care for their music whatsoever.

    I do, however, agree with his position on the App store. They chose to use Apple to distribute their app, and they’ll get all of the ‘benefits’ of the closed system too. Open and easy, or closed and bureaucratic – they got to choose.

  10. Well seeing as the G1 is the 5th best selling smartphone in Q1 and it wasn’t even supposed to be a big seller it wouldn’t be all that smart to piss on Android at this point. When the so called “sexy” phones start to drop he an others will be breaking their necks trying to get an Android port up and running. I noticed Facebook took a shat on Android as well(beef with Google)….watch what happens in the coming months.

  11. Phil…

    Right, because when you are a musical entrepreneur like Rez, you really want to shoot for the 5th largest smart phone market…

    Look guys. I love Android. I really do. But let’s face it: it may have potential to be the best/most marketable platform, but that *really doesn’t matter until people *other than Android users see it as a viable rival to the iPhone. Could it happen? Yes. But really, once Android starts coming out on some new hardware (on multiple carriers, and for a significantly lower price than an iPhone), do you really think people are going to be making the choice “iPhone or Android”? Probably not. They will be thinking “hey, i can get a cool phone for half the price, and NOT switch to AT&T.. AND, it actually looks cool, so I may achieve a similar social status to people who can afford an iPhone”. iPhone has something that Android doesn’t offer to the general public: an accessible sense of elitism. People walk into an Apple store and see a little piece of the nu-American dream. They see a white picket fence or a Soho flat, or a cute coffee shop with wireless internet and people with tattoos and a world where all it takes to bring people together in a harmonious thread of peace and understanding, is the iconic metal and white of a Mac Book pro, or yes, even an iPhone.

    And the rest of us? Well, we are the *un-accessible type of elitists– but ironically, the people that will constitute androids biggest demographic in the next few years, will mostly be people who don’t give a shit, or can’t afford that slice of nu-American pie. They will be like “open source what?”, or “OHA what??”.

    Androids take over of the mobile market will be slow, but timely. In these days of collapsing economic crisis, people will have to set aside boner-ific materialism, for practical realism. They will pick up a G# and realize, *hey, this phone kicks ass too. We will slowly gain ranks, and the companies that matter to a media crazed populous, like Pandora and EA, will see the light, and make apps for we the people. Programmers will get sick of being screwed by Apple, and start making their apps for android too. Then, before you know it, we are playing our G#’s like ocarinas and rockin’ BBQ simulators.

    Then, Google will land on mars, melt the polar caps to stimulate the development of a breathable atmosphere, build a city called Googletropolis, immigrate people from earth, and eventually, develop a hyper-space drive engine that quickens our induction into the universal community, but eventually pisses off a race of quick tempered and aggressive aliens, that rain upon our existence like an H-bomb on an ant hill.

    But just in our last moments or cohesive life, just as we see a glowing sphere of death the size of a star approaching Googletropolis, we realize: we are materialistic bitches too, and nobody was right.

  12. @Grant – copious lol’s. And massive amounts of agreement.

  13. 5th in the market is still a significant amount of users. It would be wise to target the largest amount of users possible, therefore releasing apps for multiple mobile platforms including Android.

  14. You all have to realize that NIN developed this app out of their own pocket and is available for free on the Apple App store (iPhone +iPod Touch). The reason they chose Apple is as he mentioned the hardware, and the fact that Apple has the NUMBER 1 APP STORE… No debate on the latter. Keep in mind that the app is primarily meant for NIN fans at concerts. He is not making money of the APP… no ads whatsoever and he is charging Nothing for it so it only makes sense to launch it on the most popular app store.

  15. On the above statement when I say NUMBER 1 APP STORE, I mean in terms of apps available and download numbers.

  16. The words of somebody with no business sense. First off how does a million people equal 0? Lmao…secondly the potential of android by the next two years will two fold. Sky rocket technology, this man must be nuts. Iphone is now and android is future.

  17. “Android is cool, but nobody has an Android phone”


    Don’t hate the man, he’s pretty clear about technology and he laid out awesomely for apple to get its game together.

    I love android, but its true, right now, nobody has android and from a business perspective he wants a bang for the buck. He’s not a technology firm, he’s a musician on tour trying to promote his act and the iPhone is (as of now) in a lot more hands than android.

    As soon as more manufacturers adopt android I bet NIN will be on android, he’s already said the technology is cool, it’s just a matter of time.

    Props to TR

  18. I believe that we are missing the silver lining in what Trent said:

    “The iPhone is THE most elegant, modern smartphone at this point in time…”

    Like it or not (and I’m part or the later) the iPhone is dominant in American cell-phone culture and has set the bar higher for mobile computing for everyone else, period. This is not the first device to ever do this in our society; anyone ever own a RAZR? But the notable words are “at this point in time” Trent is not an idiot. He is a digital music pioneer, and, whether or not you care for his music, a man who has survived the test of time to still be relevant in today’s pop culture. I believe that he knows that the iPhone will not rule forever. There are some incredibly sexy devices and breakthroughs in software (see Android, shocker) that will one day rival and defeat the iPhone. Until this finally happens, you have to acknowledge that the iPhone is the standard and the mark that we lovers of Open Source and the OHA need to set our sights firmly on.

    Silver lining no 2:

    “Android is cool, but nobody has an Android phone.”

    Do you think it’s significant that Trent cites Android as the first measure of comparison in his statement (before Blackberry and WinMo)? I think so. So does Trent. Look again, he said “Android is cool” We all know this. But here in America there is one Android device. One, Uno, Eins, A, Singular. The whole point of Android from the first time is was announced, to I/O last year where we saw working demos and even as far as MWC earlier this year is that Android is meant to be a broad stroke for our digital life: variety of phones (touchscreen, candy bar, qwerty, etc…), netbooks, home phone hubs, and on and on. Relatively speaking, Trent is right…no body has an Android phone…yet! Look our for the Samsung i7500, especially if it does indeed come Stateside this year, to be a springboard for Android. Full capactive touchscreen (AMOLED!!!) 5 MP cam with LED flash, 8 GB internal storage, etc… Priced right, this phone will sell, and sell a lot. Add to that the rumored Moto touchscreen qwerty slider on Verizon, and I think you will see Trent and other celebs start to jump ship.

    Potential is nothing, if you do nothing with it. Once more products come on the market, Android will challenge the iPhone, and cause all others to rethink how they do mobile computing.

  19. At least he didn’t say Windows Mobile is better then Android, compared to the number of iPhone/iPod Touch users, Android is rather insignificant. I haven’t used the NIN app, so I’m not sure how hard it would be to put it to Android, but it might just not be worth their time.

  20. I have a feeling someone will be eating crow and cupcakes soon. Pay attention to the moves that google is making with android. Android MURDERS WinMo, and S60. BbOs is stepping its game up some-what. Its in the top 5 in less than a year….nuff said.

  21. Though i don’t agree with Trent Reznor but let’s face it, iphone’s app store is a gold mine (unlike android’s marketplace so far). I haven’t heard any success story so far on the Android platform like the ones we heard about the developer of trism and others on the iphone.
    And millions of potential customers for the iphone is absolutely more attractive to people who wish to make money rather than 1 million customers and most of them are cheap asses (i’ve read many comments on many android apps saying that this app should be free and rate it cause of that, it’s saddening and google need to do something about this. They even have to open the marketplace for non-us and non-uk developers)

  22. Dear Trent,

    Who’s your Daddy now, b*tch?

    S. Jobs
    Cupertino, CA

  23. The sad thing is I LOVE NIN and totally appreciate Trent – but his statement just shows his lack of knowledge and respect of the subject. Not only should he know the over 1million Android G1 users since its debut less than 10 months ago, but he should realized the research news that has shown more and more devices and carriers planning to carry the Android OS . Unlike Apples iPhone *of which i disagree about being the best* The Android OS is available to multiple carriers (including ATT) and multiple options of phones and manufactureres already in the works. Can we point out the Android OS pc devices we’ve been talking about and the number of developers that have already duplicatd their iPhone App for the Google platform. Come on NIN – You are serious blessings of musical genius, now use that brain a little more on research and thought – you don’t even have to give up your iPhone App – Wait, didn’t they already boot you anyway? Oh thats right, i read that somewhere… Lets hope you develop an App for our Google Phones, but lets hope its also free – since you pretty much just offended anyone that would have paid for it. DUDE?!?

  24. No comment on TR’s rant. But just to throw another idea out there…

    Part (not all) of the “success” of the iPhone App store might very well be related to the self-selecting process of the type of people who choose an iPhone over an Android device. Since I am partial to opensource systems, I am more likely to purchase an Android device. But that also means that my values will affect how many apps I will buy and how much I’m willing to pay for them. The equation to determine where the most money can be made is not as simple as just looking to see how many devices have been sold.

    But it would seem there is little reason for not doing “both/and” instead of “either/or”. The potential of Android seems so broad at this point that I can’t see why someone wouldn’t consider getting established early. But maybe that’s just me….

  25. Seriously people. TR is probably reading this and laughing his ass off. All he said is that the iPhone is the best there is RIGHT NOW. The definition of “potential” is, “capable of being or becoming”. Why the hell would he release his app on something with “potential”, when he can realease it on America’s #1 smart phone market? Do you really think he wants to wait a year or so before it reaches a reasonable amount of his fan base? You’re killing me. *death*

  26. I actually take issue with anyone calling the iPhone a “smartphone.” W/o multitasking, how can you call it “smart?” It is just a well-featured feature phone.


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