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Apple iTunes Match Glitch Replaces Explicit Lyric Songs With Censored Versions

Tunes by rap artists Kanye West, Jay Z, and Ice Cube are affected.

Explicit lyrics might not bother you, but at the moment, they're a problem for Apple's iTunes Match service.

When users try to re-download certain songs containing explicit lyrics through iTunes Match, a glitch causes the service to download a censored version of the track instead. Cult of Mac has confirmed four tracks that are being cleaned up, including “Hell of a Life” and “Power” by Kanye West, “Can I Live” by Jay-Z and “Jack N The Box” by Ice Cube.

Apple has been investigating the issue and working on a fix since a couple weeks ago, when a 9to5Mac reader reported the issue to Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services. In the meantime, there's no workaround.

iTunes Match, a $25 per year service, will scan a user's music library, matching songs with iTunes copies that the user can re-download on other devices. The problem, in some cases, is that iTunes Match can't distinguish between clean and explicit versions of the same track, so it's defaulting to the clean version when the user re-downloads those songs through iTunes.

The issue is reminiscent of when Siri, Apple's voice-activated assistant on the iPhone 4S, got called out for refusing to locate nearby abortion clinics. That too, turned out to be a glitch, but it fed into the Apple stereotype of censoring subject matter that might be considered offensive. The company has removed apps from its App Store that make fun of politicians, and two years ago purged apps that were overtly sexual.

In this case, however, Apple just let a bug slip through. Hopefully iTunes Match users can get back to enjoying a full array of musical curse words before long.

Follow Jared on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for even more tech news and commentary.


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