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Apple banning new single-station radio apps?

updated 11:30 pm EST, Wed November 24, 2010

Dev claims Apple equates them with "fart apps"

Jim Barcus, president of DigitalJukeBox.com and DJBApps -- a company that makes smartphone apps for commercial radio stations -- says Apple has started (as of Nov. 10th) rejecting "all" single-station iPhone apps in favor of radio apps that only feature "hundreds" of stations, saying that Apple told him they equated the single-station apps with "fart apps" and considered them a form of "spamming" the App Store. However, dozens of single-station radio apps remain on the App Store and the company does not appear to be removing any existing apps, making it unclear if this is a real policy change at the App Store -- or if the company is referring specifically to Barcus' products only.

In an editorial for Radio Magazine, Barcus quotes Apple representatives saying that his company's single-station apps -- which are predominantly re-skinned versions of the same basic program tuned to that particular station's online stream -- violate rule 2.20 of the iOS App Review Guidelines, which states "Developers 'spamming' the App Store with many versions of similar apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program." This would, on its face, appear to exempt single-station apps that are built in-house or otherwise aren't just lightly-customized versions of existing apps.

In the article, Barcus claims Apple told him that "will no longer approve any more radio station apps unless there are hundreds of stations on the same app," but despite the quotes appears to be summarizing any actual contact from Apple formally rejecting his company's apps. On the company's web site, he quotes an e-mail sent to Apple CEO Steve Jobs complaining about the rejection -- along with Jobs' typically terse reply, "Sorry, we've made our decision." DJBApps has left the Apple apps page up with just the article in place, and removed mention of App Store apps from the rest of the site. They still offer Android Marketplace and BlackBerry App World services.

There is at least one developer, Stormy Productions, who has made multiple single-station radio apps for commercial and internet-only radio stations whose products are still available on the App Store. Single-station apps are popular with fans of a particular local radio station, and indeed some were featured on the App Store's category spotlight last July.

Barcus' article maintains that Apple doesn't understand that commercial stations are in "fierce competition" with each other and don't want to be grouped together in "tuner" style apps, concluding that Apple simply "doesn't care about radio stations" much, rarely advertising on them and allowing other sorts of businesses -- like "pizza joints" -- to have single-store apps.








By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    -2

    What is that...

    awful SMELL? Oh,it is another single-station radio app.
    Funky!
    Zoinks!

  1. russellb

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2001

    +11

    That Sucks

    I may well have a fav radio station and I may well WANT just an app for that .... leave it to the user to choose.

  1. leamanc

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2003

    +3

    More to this story

    There is likely more to this story. The guy's apps probably violate some other guideline. He's the only app developer to complain of his single-station radio apps being banned. As mentioned, there are others in the app store already, and no one else is complaining of being rejected. And he's the one to equate them to f*** apps, not Apple.

    Bottom line is that his apps are likely c*** for some other reason, and he's trying to make a case of it. Steve's curt response is actually very polite, in that he is not allowing this guy to continue to make a fool of himself with his poor grammar, whiny sense of entitlement and tone of victimization--all present in his email to Steve.

  1. climacs

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2001

    +5

    single station apps

    I have one for each of two Italian radio stations which I can't listen to through a browser on my iPhone - Radio Deejay and m2o. The m2o app is VERY basic but the Radio Deejay app is really nice (and free).

    I hope this policy was applied only to this developer - there is a very real demand for, and reason to have, single-station apps.

  1. Gazoobee

    Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 2009

    0

    SOMA FM

    Is probably one of the most popular radio stations on the net. It's a listener supported, non-commercial, no advertisements. Buying the iPhone app to hear it is the way in which SOMA gets the money to run the station. What's the point of banning that, but letting all the giant commercial radio stations on?

    Just cause this one assh*le tried to make himself rich making radio apps, doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of legitimate free radio apps out there.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999

    0

    Competition?

    Really? Between radio stations? The only competition is internal between ClearChannel's Soft Rock division vs ClearChannel's Country division vs ClearChannel's Classic Rock division...

    When radio stations go back to an individually owned model, then you can talk about competition. Until then, why not make a tuner app that lets you set a default station?

  1. facebook_Brian

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Nov 2010

    +1

    Unsure this is a blanket ban

    I'm the developer from Stormy Productions (mentioned in the second to last paragraph of the above article), and this story is the first I've heard of a blanket ban on single-station iPhone radio apps. I had a single-station app approved a few days ago, so if Apple did institute a new policy banning all single-station apps, I've not yet encountered it.

    I suspect Apple is simply enforcing their existing ban on what they call limited-function apps (hence the reference to "f*** apps" in the explanation for the rejection). If an app just plays the stream for a station and offers no additional functionality, Apple may be saying that's not enough to justify a dedicated app in iTunes.

    As of earlier today, the developer guidelines which Apple publishes have not been updated with any mention of radio apps.

    In either case, given the stir this story is causing among those in the radio industry, it would be nice to hear an official word from Apple if they really have changed their policy on single-station radio apps.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -18

    come on..

    this is becoming ridiculous.. f.ck apple and f.ck steve jobs! What the h***? and what an arrogance, always replying with a single sentence after the guy asked about many points...

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -9

    h e l l

    MacNN censors "h e l l"?? what should I say? Heck? f uck?

    and why do people voted me down? are you happy that apple controls what you can put on YOUR phone at that level? are you happy that apple can't come up with a clear guideline and instead refuses apps arbitrarily? are you happy steve jobs doesn't give a damn about complains? the guy complains that he can't talk to someone higher and the highest people in the company doesn't give a damn and instead serves him his famous one-line replies that just basically says "f uck off"

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999

    0

    funny

    how they accept single-newspaper apps but not single-station app..

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