Apple Having iTunes Trouble with China

By: Chris Crum - August 22, 2008

Apple is everywhere in the news this week, with its big score on the American customer satisfaction Index, its MobileMe problems, its iPhone 3G lawsuit, and now issues with the Chinese government. Apple’s iTunes store has been blocked in China for pushing a controversial benefit album.

The album, "Songs For Tibet: The Art of Peace," is a compilation of popular artists including Sting, Alanis Morissette, and Moby. Proceeds from the purchase of the album go to the Dalai Lama’s cause. However, the proceeds won’t be coming from China if their government has anything to say about it.

They’re not only blocking access to the iTunes store, but to show they’re not playing favorites, they have also blocked Amazon’s album download and CD-purchase pages.

iTunes is promoting Songs for Tibet pretty heavily. The album is even advertised as the iTunes store prepares to load here in the States.

Loading iTunes - Songs for Tibet

It appears to have been the heavy promotion of this album that led to the iTunes blockage in the first place. It was not blocked until the Art of Peace Foundation (the organization behind the album) issued a press release saying that 40 Olympic athletes had already downloaded it.

As an afterthought, the blocking does not really come as a shock, but Apple must’ve been a little surprised to have suddenly had its entire iTunes store shut down in China.

As for the album itself? Let’s just say the reviews are mixed. Jeff Giles at writes:

Among the album’s worst offenders are Sting, who contributes a useless remix of the already-crappy "Send Your Love"; Moby, whose new version of "We Are All Made of Stars" is the very definition of inessential; and Underworld, whose "To Heal (And Restore Broken Bodies)" is ultimately far less interesting than its title. The Alanis track, titled "Versions of Violence," sounds impressively polished for something that was recorded in a dressing room, but unfortunately, it finds Morissette in full-on screeching hippie mode – as a song, it’s pretty bad, but it does make you wonder how quickly Chinese Communist Party officials would cave into Tibet’s demands if they were locked in a room with the singer while she performed it.

Maybe a better strategy for the Chinese government to dissuade people from getting the album would have been to post reviews like this.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Guest

    We all know that the only person that had the ability to change the world was John Lennon, but it is refreshing to know that artists are standing up for what they believe in. I wouldn’t even watch the Olympics this year because of what China did to Tibet. They stole their culture, destroyed their temples, you can’t even do Tai Chi without getting arrested.


    Who cares how bad the album is? Glad to hear that everyone got the shock, because even if Apple decides to stop selling the album just to gain China’s business, many people will have already been reminded that China is a communist country that is cruel and dark. In other words, it’s a good reminder for us all, and any news is good news at this point.

    Since John Lennon was taken, people have been too scared to stand up for others. In fact we’ve become so compliant, that even if Apple removes the album, US citizens won’t give a damn. We’re not going to stop using iTunes and forego our comforts.

  • snt

    What if all US companies that China blocks decide to stop buying made in china products?  Is there a possibility?

    • Paralympics

      Never. Where else do u find resources as cheap as the Made In China’s

  • coonass

    If you’d really like to hare-lip China, Inc. and do your local business people a good turn at the same time, boycott Wal-Mart.