By: Jill Forkal
Last September, Apple launched the new iTunes 10 and introduced the music-oriented social network Ping. With many similarities to Twitter and Facebook, Apple hoped to offer competition in the social networking world – but Ping fell short.
Ping allows iTunes members to follow their favorite artists and view their music recommendations. Users can also comment on artists’ status updates and photos. Along with artists, members can follow their friends and see what kind of music they are listening to and what concerts they are attending. Links are conveniently provided to Ticketmaster to buy tickets to the artist the user is currently viewing. An advertising strategy perhaps? Similar to Twitter, there is a recent activity feed that shows what friends have bought and offers only a 30-second preview with a big button you can’t miss to purchase and download the song.
Compared to Facebook, Ping is limited in what it can do. Users cannot upload pictures, links, or videos, and Ping is only available through the iTunes interface. Apple boasts that there are over 160 million iTunes users, and attributes this number to possible Ping users. However, with Twitter and Facebook already in existence, is Ping really necessary?
Additionally, artists are required to register with Apple in order to be presented in the Ping world. From reviews about Ping’s music recommendations, the recommendations appear to be the most popular artists at the time and do not offer little known, rising musicians. This may be because it is most likely easier for well-known artists to register, giving them an unfair advantage.
Privacy settings are available, but users must use their full name on their Ping profile. Some other drawbacks include not being to see your “friends” music libraries and not being able to find friends from Facebook or Twitter. With the option to buy on almost every post in the Ping network, Apple released more of a marketing tool than a social network. Ping is accessible through the iTunes app for phones, making it even easier to purchase music.
For music junkies, Ping might make discovering new music easier, but for the rest of the population, it’s better to stick to Facebook and Twitter. At least until Apple makes some notable improvements to this music network.