Observations: Pioneers of the iPhone pop app

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The Independent Culture

When Apple first launched iTunes in Europe, indie labels complained they were offered worse terms than the majors. Its mobile phone, though, is offering a more level playing field from the off, as shown by fizzy electropop outfit Heads We Dance. The Leeds band have made minor history as the first to stream an album ahead of release via an iPhone application. Artists from Pink to Depeche Mode offer their own app to keep in touch with fans, but getting accepted by Apple is not that straightforward.

Because iPhone lacks parental controls, any content that smacks of adult themes is scrupulously declined. Ironically, the most high-profile musician to fall foul of such complications was Trent Reznor. Since he broke free from Universal Records two years ago, Nine Inch Nails' frontman has immersed himself in cutting-edge tech, but Apple rejected his app due to "objectionable content". Nin:access has finally gone live, but for Stephen Ackroyd, co-founder of Heads We Dance's label This Is Fake DIY, the process has been much more seamless. "We submitted [our app] and a couple of weeks later we just appeared in the store, as simple as that."

Their pioneering status, meanwhile, caught the label by surprise. "We're rather shocked, especially with the rise of Spotify and the like. Being able to control how we stream the album through our own platform is a very positive method. We know exactly how much it has been played and can direct listeners to the album with ease."

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