back to article Apple accused of iPhone ban on 'all single-station radio apps'

Update: This story has been updated with comment from Apple and had been updated in other places to reflect that statement and further conversations with Jim Barcus. Jim Barcus – the president of DJB Radio Apps, an outfit that has long helped build iPhone apps and other mobile apps for radio stations across the country – says …


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  1. James Butler

    It's Simple

    All decisions made by Apple are made exclusively so that Apple can make more money.

    While this is not unusual, and, in fact, most business schools preach this very sermon, this revelation does comes as somewhat of a surprise for all of those Apple-lovers who seem to continue to have an irrational expectation that their love will be returned.

    No, sad little people. Your love is wasted on Apple. They care not how deep your love is for them. As long as your pockets remain similarly deep, they have no motivation to try to understand or please you.

    Better to love Wall Street, as it has demonstrated greater responsiveness to its customers and interest in its customers' desires than Apple ever will. As long as Apple remains a who-gives-a-rats-ass-what-the-idiots-who-pay-our-obscenely-unjustified-prices-think corporation driven by Mephisto's minions, you'll not hear a single word of affection from the aloof object of your desire.

    Time to take the poison. Forever there will you remain with worms that are thy chamber-maids.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Bang on the money!

      I don't own an iPhone and probably never will, however whenever this sort of story comes up everyone suddenly starts shouting about 'Apple = Fascism', 'Jobs is a nutter' and 'It's just not fair!'

      Hate to make it clear again but IT'S STEVE'S TOYSHOP HE CAN SELL WHATEVER HE LIKES!

      If you don't like the way the app store is run, then like me, don't use it!

      If you don't like Jobs' or his company, then like me, don't buy into the Apple cult!

      Much as I like to have a pop at Jobs whenever I can, at the end of the day if he wishes to cut his nose to spite his face, that's his loss. Although there appears to be enough party faithful to make sure Steve has a comfy life until the end of his days.

      Does this DJ guy really think Steve Jobs sitting on $100bn ( whatever it is now! ) , gives a shit about his radio apps? Steve has never given a monkey's about what anyone else thinks, do you think he will start now just 'cos this guy and his radio station mates have a problem?

      1. Anton Ivanov
        Thumb Down


        It is his toyshop until he is determined to yield significant market power in the context of competition law.

        Once that has happened it is still his ToyShop, but he will have to offer space on the shelves to both what he likes and what he dislikes without discriminating between the two or face the competition authorities.

        C'est la vie, we no longer live in the world of Pacific Railroad and Edison Electric Company when you could charge anything you want for any of your goods and services regardless of your market size.

        Now is Apple a significant market power or not is an interesting subject. IMO it is. The test here is simple - if "its rule changes" are sufficient to force a "full market" rule change this means that it is. As far as mobile applications are concerned it clearly passes that test with flying colours and it knows it. It has backed off every time the FTC has made even the slightest hum about investigating the app store practices.

    2. foo_bar_baz
      Jobs Horns

      Treat them mean, keep them keen

      Come on, you can't be exclusive if you kowtow to any old shmuck. Arbitrary and capricious mistreatment keeps everyone on their toes and guessing, and in awe of you. Every respected personality from the Roman centurions to mafia bosses knows this.

    3. Ed 11

      Yes, but...

      All decisions ever made by any business with the cheek to list on a stock market, anywhere in the world, are made with increasing profit and driving shareholder wealth as the primary consideration. That is their raison d'etre.

      Just because Apple have been excepionally good at this in recent times is no reason to criticise. Unless, or course, you are a fully paid up Socialist.

  2. Annihilator

    Yet another reason to avoid the platform

    Honestly, with growing examples of this, it's a wonder any developer wants to take the risk on the platform.

    As Barcus points out (though admittedly he's massively biased), there are radio apps out there for stations precisely because they pay for their development. You're not going to see Magic clubbing together with Capital to make an app - and they'd probably have something to say about a 3rd party tapping into their webcasts and making money out of an app that does it.

    Sadly I'm glad I skipped the v4 phone from the 3G, and starting to survey the rest of the market for alternatives these days :-(

    1. thecakeis(not)alie

      Bloody fanboys.

      Gotta love the guy who downvoted you for your honest and straightforward comment. I can’t see anything wrong with what you wrote – save that someone evidently took objection to the fact that you are surveying the market for an alternative replacement to your aging iPhone.


      Are we become so petty that we downvote an individual simply because they have decided they wish to explore options beyond the carefully manicured, glass-backed walls of Cupertino? Exercising personal choice in which vaguely poisonous built-using-nearly-slave-labour-import-elctro-toy to use is now a reason to downvote someone?

      Develop some platform agnosticism, people. It’s just a bloody phone! It has an OS. It consumes power and connects via radio to distant devices. You can run applications on it. Who bloody cares who makes it…and why downvote someone simply because they might be considering that they are possibly disenfranchised with the current pop culture cult?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        yup, I mean NO! (i think)

        you post here for inciteful logical posts?

        you're new arent you.

        1. thecakeis(not)alie

          @Danny 14

          Not new...but growing increasingly disenfranchised. There was a time that insightful, logical posts which contained vast amounts of information were made by knowledgeable individuals on these boards. It still happens occasionally…but to my perception the absolute percentage of such posts seems lower. Perhaps it’s a function of age – becoming jaded? – but I do miss the days when we IT folk were a bit more pragmatic.

          Jihads were what Slashdot was for. It magazines like El Reg were for open discussion of technology with as little bias as possible. Attacking the tech, not the people. Poking holes in corporate structures, political decisions and bad engineering choices. Even Ars Technica has fallen a few notches towards Slashdottian misanthropy…something that makes me sad in a way I lack words to properly describe.

          Tell me then, good sirs: where in this world might I find such a place any more? Online or off…where is this land where people are critical and suspicious of all things, think for themselves and only truly accept something once it has been thoroughly through the wringer?

          I like hanging out at those places; critical nit-pickers have a tendency to select “best of breed” devices and software on a consensus basis. Lots of people get hold of the alternatives and tear them to shreds. The least crap X…wins. When did we stop looking at technology dispassionately? When did it stop being merely a tool with which to accomplish a task? When did technology become a badge we wear that displays “who we are?” Wearing a corporate logo is now the definition of the individual? What to you use has become a means of self-identification?

          Stop the world please…I want off.

          In the meantime, I will lament the steady decline of online nerd communities as they slide away from critical thinking towards base tribalism.

      2. Shakje


        Welcome to the internet, enjoy your stay.

      3. ThomH Silver badge


        On the contrary, the original post opens "Honestly, with growing examples of this, it's a wonder any developer wants to take the risk on the platform." — it therefore takes one factor in the decision process and proceeds to a conclusion with no further evidence. The post alone doesn't make a complete argument and I guess that somebody (not me, by the way) didn't like that.

        If I were to suggest that because Oracle are suing Google over Java, it's a wonder any developer wants to take a risk on the platform then I would much more obviously be talking biased rubbish but would have stated exactly as much of an argument.

        1. thecakeis(not)alie


          But it IS a wonder why people continue developing for that platform. Examples of exactly this sort of thing would make me very twitchy about putting my efforts into it. I like the concepts behind things like “freedom to write what you want” and “freedom to run what you want.” As a developer that would translate into “people are free to run what I write and nobody can tell either of us “nyet.”

          So I can’t speak for you, but I personally do wonder why. That isn’t a bias thing…it’s honest pondering. Similarly, the whole Oracle/Google thing would make me think twice too. Microsoft’s got some very restrictive policies as well…Symbian’s dead…Meego doesn’t have market share.

          So it’s a question of picking the lesser of various evils. Thus: I do wonder how various people make those choices. What drives a developer to one platform over the other?

          That doesn’t indicate to me any bias, and certainly not a reason to downvote the guy for his post. It means he’s asking the right questions about the environments on offer without simply drinking /ANYONE’S/ kool-aid.

          Hey though, it’s the internet, let’s use our nerd-rage cannons, eh?

    2. AdamWill

      except that... stations only got popular in the first place because you can listen to all of them via one interface (it's called a 'radio', hence the name 'radio station'; little tip-off there if you're paying attention!) this is actually a case where Apple being the big bad bully will probably help people out overall: for the benefit of the platform Apple will be able to use its strength to force the radio stations to all sign up for some kind of unified interface, and we won't have to install five hundred stupid variations on the same codebase just because radio stations can't see it's in their own long-term interest to be part of a shared platform.

      of course, Apple will probably fuck up the benefit to the wider market (y'know, the one including people who *don't* use iphones) by making said platform accessible only via iOS, but sigh. can't win 'em all.

  3. famousringo

    I don't get it

    All of Apple's other App Store restrictions I've been able to understand the position they're coming from (usually some mixture of this way is better for our customers and this way is better for our reputation), but this one is pretty baffling to me. What's next? No more book apps unless they contain multiple books?

    Luckily, this one doesn't actually effect me because I get all the streaming radio I need from TuneIn Radio, so I don't need to make a big dramatic production of leaving the walled garden.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      So, they force you to download a bloated, buggy app (wait, buggy apps aren't allowed in the iStore....) that has 1001 stations you DIDN'T want to listen to, and the off-chance they can stream/play the ONE station you actually listen to. <sarcasm> Of course, if it's a local station, you could just use the FM tuner... </sarcasm>

      Question is, why do they still have 3000 fart apps if Apple considers them spam? Number padding perhaps?

  4. maccy

    What about the newspaper apps?

    What if it read:

    "will no longer approve any more newspaper or magazine apps unless there are hundreds of newspapers or magazines on the same app."

    Bye bye Grauniad, Times, FT, Economist, Wired.

    So why are radio stations any different?

    1. Bryce Prewitt
      Jobs Horns


      Newspapers pay to play. Simple as that.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        No they don't

        Not all newspapers do pay, and besides what about radio apps which include advertising through Apple's own service.

        The cold fact is that once again Apple has decided it knows best and to hell with radio stations. To hell with them even if they have invested significant time and effort in producing an app which adds value to their broadcasts.

        1. Bryce Prewitt

          All right then. Let me spell it out for you.

          Newspapers do pay to play. By your own admission, if not all, then some.

          However, what you miss is the obvious fact that newspapers are as integral to the iOS as they are to Kindle. Further, Apple produce no competing product to newspapers, therefore they view newspapers as a truly value-add service that doesn't detract from any of their own lines of revenue. The fact that Apple is trying to cozy up to the publishing industry doesn't hurt, either.

          Now, and think rrreeeaaalll hard here, what service does Apple run that could possibly be considered a competitor to radio stations? Could it be the one that's allowed them to single-handedly have their way with the record industry, in the way which they're attempting to do with publishers? You know, the one called iTunes! Yeah, that one! That basically is the precursor to all of this app madness? To completely spell it out for you: they sell mp3s. They don't want you listening to radio. They want you buying mp3s. I am sure Apple has taken the exact same stance on OTA TV apps, as they sell tv shows and movies, too.

          In the end, though, it all comes down to Apple wanting to deal with content creators (the studios, labels and publishers themselves) or distributors (such as Amazon and Netflix), not content retailers (such as radio stations and random podunk whogivesashit affiliates from Timbukfuckingtu). No one cares about radio stations, at all. Especially not when every single one has their own app despite having the exact same playlist. Do you really want to have to download eighty different apps, or do you want to just download one for CBC, one for BBC, one for NPC or one that combines them all? I know which one I'd pick.

          Not saying Apple are good/evil/Marmaduke for this, just trying to explain the logic behind it.

          1. Antidisestablishmentarianist


            Apple dont sell mp3s.

            Just sayin....

            1. Bryce Prewitt
              Thumb Up

              A pedant says what?


            2. David 105
              Jobs Horns

              Apple don't sell mp3's


              Just sayin...

              1. Rosco

                File format

                iTunes tracks aren't in mp3 format, they're in AAC

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Do web sites too!

    now they should do the same for web sites, separate apps for separate sites are like fart jokes as well useless and spammy, and there is already an app for that, called a web browser. amazingly it lets you freely move between millions of sites without opening a different app!

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Why not...

    just download apps from somewhere without such restrictive policies?

    ...or am I missing something here?

    1. Matt 53


      I really hope you meant to put <sarcasm></sarcasm> around that!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barrier to entry

    If you are listening to a radio station, you aren't buying as much on iTunes.

    It creates a larger barrier to entry for potential competitors to iTunes.

    Small inter-competitive stations wont be available but large commercial operators will be.

    The workaround is to make a "Radio Station Info app" provides information and just happens to include the radio station as a feature

    1. Annihilator

      Barrier to entry

      Your argument would make sense if Spotify didn't exist - surely an even bigger problem for iTunes revenues.

      With radio, you're more likely to hear new material (new to you, or just new) and presumably look for it on iTunes.

  8. jbelkin

    Makes total sense

    90% of US radio stations are part of some radio conglomerate so yea, what exactly is the point of an app for each of the tens of thousands of stations in the US ...

    1. ArmanX

      What's the point? The other 10%

      There are a couple local stations that have (well, had) apps for the iPhone; I have an Android, so I still have said apps installed. I'd much rather be able to "open... go" than "open... search... wait... filter... sort... ah, there it is, go"; I know what I want to listen to, and so I listen to it. It's like not changing the radio dial in your car; I like the station it's on, so I keep it there.

      1. JonHendry

        The don't buy a poorly-designed app

        The obvious solution, and one that's already offered by existing internet radio apps, is to store your favorite stations. Then you don't have to search every time you want to listen. You get a list of your favorites.

        1. CD001

          What happens

          What happens if your list of favourites comprises 1 single radio station?

  9. Nigel 4
    Thumb Up

    Why would anyone want a single channel radio app?

    Why the heck would you want a single-station radio app anyway? All thats gonna happen is that the radio station will start shoving in-app spam in your direction.

    There are quality internet radio apps for the iphone that allow you to listen to almost any radio station worldwide. TuneIn Radio is excellent. No, its not free, but a quid is hardly going to break the bank!

    I *like* the fact that Apple has some controls on the stuff that can get into its store. They could do with being a bit cleverer in their selections though - there is some utter sh1t that has made it through and some excellent apps have been rejected (the rejected mxtube is a case in point). The free-for-all in the Android Market Place ensures that average app quality there will be lower than average app quality in apples store.


    1. heyrick Silver badge

      @ Nigel 4

      Perhaps because people have a fidelity to a particular radio station? On FM in the UK I listened to one, and now via Shoutcast I listen to one. And only one. Because it plays the sort of stuff I like to hear.

      Shoutcast is a good example. I found the station, out of many, stuck with it, and then I took apart the control file (.pls or something? I forget) so I could program it directly into WinAMP. All I do now is fire up WinAMP and click the play icon. It's a hell of a lot easier than navigating my way around something like Shoutcast where the sheer number of stations is overwhelming. Isn't the Apple UI paradigm supposed to be about simplicity? How is it better to take one app offered by your chosen favourite station and replacing it with a generic multi-station app which may or may not even include your favourite?


      Oh, and Nigel, you can't really state anything using "average app quality" as an indicator. There is an awful lot of stuff in the Ubuntu package manager and while I won't make any comment on the quality of it, the quality of everything *else* is irrelevant so long as your are able to find and install decent stuff that does what you want it to do. Look on-line, go Google. There's a thousand Notepads, some amazingly worse than the original. And then there's OpenOffice. Statistically, OpenOffice is crap (1 vs 1000), but because it isn't, the 1000 crap things don't matter. It isn't about how many and how good, it is about basic bottom line CHOICE. But, reading El Reg for the past year, I'm not certain Apple fans entirely understand the concept of choice, unless it is "that which is chosen for us by Apple Corp".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They do.....

        Apple fans do seem to absorbed the meaning of choice, it's just unfortunate that they seem to have absorbed S Jobs version of 'choice'.

        As you say, do I give a monkeys if there's 1000000 apps if it doesn't contain the one I want? Coversely, do I care if there's only 5 apps in the store so long as I want at least one of them?

      2. Dave Rickmers
        Jobs Horns

        Shoutcast is included in WinAmp

        At least in California, in WinAmp there is a Shoutcast "file" and an AOL radio "file", that seems about the same as CBS radio's I-app. iTunes has very similar functionality if you dig deep enough into the directories downpage.

        The main reason I bought an iPod Touch is to use it as a radio tuner. It certainly wasn't for the uber-klunky music player. Apple is the dreaded "Nanny State" writ large.

    2. Belvedere Mulholland

      iPlayer is a single station

      Are you saying "why would anyone want iPlayer"?

    3. Rick Cross

      Why would anyone want a single channel radio app?

      Your question leads me to ask: "Why would anyone want an app icon that leads to only one app? Heck, let's just make it that so that there is only ONE icon on your iPhone... click it and then scroll until you find the app that you want to use that time."

      While I no longer live in the UK, I DO remember being about to count all the available radio stations on one hand and with fingers or at least a thumb) left over. Come to think of it, an official BBC radio app will never be allowed. It doesn't offer "hundreds" of stations as the BBC doesn't have hundreds of channels.

      The stations here may have advertising, but just in my local area I can choose from about 40 local stations. Out of those, I rarely listen to more than just one of them. So I'm a lazy sod and would much rather press one icon and immediately get my one station.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Radio groups

    Great, so now the large radio groups who are already in bed with Apple, such as Global Radio whose stations like LBC have presenters and technology 'gurus' constantly plugging Apple products and advising any PC problem be solved by going out and buying a Mac instead, will be able to add Iphone apps that list their scores of stations, whilst the smaller independent radio stations are shafted.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      I believe...

      ... we have a winner!

  11. DrXym Silver badge


    While it is silly to some extent that radio channels need their own unique apps, it's also clear that many of them link to content on their site and provide additional value add. And even if they don't why impose this on just radio stations?

    After all, how many bloody apps are there which are glorified feeds to a single source. That would include the likes of The Times of course, but would include other news sites, weather sites, TV listings, TV channels, and so and so forth.

    The answer of course is if someone wants an app which is tied to a site, why the hell is Apple interfering with their choice. It's just more meddling for the sake of meddling. I hope some of the radio stations tell Apple where to get off - they're not the only show in town anymore and perhaps a concerted boycott might make them see sense.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    OK thats it... Stupid crap Iphones... sorry, iPhones... WHATEVER..... I have one of these retarded things and I hate it. And I am stuck with it. Along with the tariff till 2012. I have always considered Apple crap and overpriced. Its entirely my fault. I am aware of that. I saw the bandwagon and jumped. And now I want to get off. What right does anyone have to tell me what I can and cant put on MY phone?? I dont remember renting the thing from Apple. I don't remember saying "oh can I be told what apps I can install please"... And now this.

    So as soon as I can afford some other phone my iPhone is gone, although its starting to look like one overblown shitfest on the phone front. Hey, heres an idea how about making a phone that makes phone calls properly and not have to reboot the thing every FUCKING DAY.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I call PEBCAK on that. A daily reboot? wtf? You do know that's not normal, even for "buggy" (according to you) iphones? Your phone is fecked, or you fecked it.

      The first is an easy fix - trot into the shop and get a replacement under warranty. The other...well...

      Or you're a troll. And I just fed you. Dammit!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I know I shouldn't feed the troll either...

      ..but my phone (SE Satio, not an iPhone) was crap too with 8 months of contract to run, despite SE dropping support for it after about 6 months with a "final ever update".

      So I used , got over £120 and bought a budget Android handset.

      Pulling the SIM, selling the phone and buying an el-cheapo Android handset (see ) might just be a way out for you too!

    3. Rick Cross

      What makes you think that you OWN that iPhone?

      If you owned it, you'd be able to do what you wish... install any app from any source, roll it back to previous versions of the OS or even write apps for it for your personal use without paying Apple $100.

  13. TheOtherHobbbes


    An app for a radio station that only plays fart sounds is right out then.

    That's going to hurt a lot of the wackier talk radio stations in the US.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    What about shopping apps?

    There seem to be lots of single-store shopping applications too. Target, Walmart, Sears, and plenty more all have their own one-store applications. Perhaps Apple should declare these to be farty too and demand that there just be one giant shopping application? They could even roll the Apple store application into it too.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Winkypop Silver badge

    No single radio station for you... little Pippin!

    No go back to your shiny white tech.

  17. The Stainless Steel Cat

    Multiple Radio Station apps?

    Can't see the point myself. If there are people out there who listen to *both* Radio 2 and Radio 4, then stick them in the same app.

    After all, Radio 1 listeners won't be using iPhones/iPads until they evolve opposable thumbs, Radio 3 listeners won't give up their valve-driven wirelesses and surely there's no-one reading here who would listen to a commercial station with all those ads being pushed at them and no possibility of filtering them out?


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