Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter

Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter

Summary: Ping, a social network described as Facebook and Twitter meeting iTunes, was launched today. But will people really go to iTunes to be social?


One of the announcements out of Apple's event this morning focused around Ping, a Facebook-and-Twitter-meets-iTunes kind of social network.

It was a nice effort, I suppose. After all, if you have 160 million members - with credit card numbers on file, no less - it's probably a nice way to jump start into the social networking game. But will users really go to iTunes to be social?

I know I won't.

A couple of quick thoughts off the top of my head:

  • iTunes is already bloated. There's already too much there and adding something else is too much,
  • A Facebook or Twitter button might have been better. Instead of creating your own social network, why not team up with Facebook or Twitter and let them "like" songs or artists and share links that go back to iTunes? After all, if there are 500 million Facebook users and only 160 million iTunes users, there's a quick way to pull some of those holdouts into iTunes, right?
  • And what's up with the whole "tunes" thing? Sure, iTunes got a new logo but iTunes is about way way more than music - and has been for some time. It needed a new name.
  • I'll give Apple this much - at least they got it right with the privacy settings. Users have total control over who follows and what's shared. The "Circle of Friends" thing could be cool but... it's not enough to pull me into iTunes to be social.
  • And going mobile with Ping right out of the gate may help with some traction. Mobile users love to be social - but are we really buying music on-the-go in widespread numbers? Or are we mostly just listening? And if we are buying on-the-go, is that something people will be willing to share?

Ping is an interesting idea and music is something that we have been sharing with friends for the longest time. It strikes me as interesting that Apple has come up with a way to allow people to "share" their music tastes but not the music itself - which I never would have expected Apple or the record labels to do. Is this one way to make "sharing" music OK?

Apple is good at what it does - hardware, software, design and, of course, marketing. But social networking? Even if it is tied to music, I just can't see widespread adoption of Ping - even if it's forced on us through iTunes.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, Social Enterprise

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  • Privacy

    Apple is giving more privacy control than, say, Facebook. That's undoubtedly why they didn't partner with Facebook. Having said that, I agree this was a bad move.
    • FUD

      @macadam I have my privacy controls set on Facebook and I can't find anything on my FB page through Google. Stop the FUD!
    • RE: Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter

      @macadam Well, that's the beauty of Ping. Facebook has lost a lot trust with their users and Twitter? Twitter still doesn't have a workable business model. MySpace is a has been who is owned by a dislikable corporation, Hence why Ping has a decent chance of succeeding.
      Gerald Shields
  • Ping is picking MySpace's bones, not going after Facebook

    No one's going to "live" in iTunes they way they do Facebook, or use it as a means to broadcast sporadically to their Followers like Twitter. What Ping <i>will</i> do is allow you to easily buy that song your new-music-fiend friend recommends so highly, or, more importantly, buy the new track from your favorite, but semi-obscure indie, band. That combined with some basic community building features and you've got a tool that will have a fair amount of benefit for music lovers, musicians who want more rapport with their fans, and of course Apple at 30 cents a track. You're not going to keep up with your Grandmother or high school crush on Ping, but you will with the bass player from that band that's coming to town next week.
    • RE: Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter

      I think that's a reasonable way to put it in perspective.
    • Wow, that's a great idea! I wonder what Apple got it from?

      [i]What Ping will do is allow you to easily buy that song your new-music-fiend friend recommends so highly, or, more importantly, buy the new track from your favorite, but semi-obscure indie, band.[/i]

      Oh, wait, this was exactly why MS invented this feature in the Zune. Apple, once again, late to the game, copying everyone else's features. Why can't Apple invent or even innovate anything by themselves?
      • Yeah but...


        Yeah, but Microsoft botched Zune and its 'Social'. Everything about Zune was a failure. Once again, Apple will show them how's it's done.

        Take it and go.
      • jaypeg, Apple will show them how it is done?

        I agree, if we wish to see the wrong way to do it, then we shall continue to watch Apple's immitation.
        Tim Cook
      • Hard to fail when you are a monopoly

        [i]Once again, Apple will show them how's it's done.[/i]

        Ping can't possibly fail, it is tied to a monopoly product.

        The truth is that Zune was a fantastically well made combination of hardware and software. It was so good that Apple just had to copy it!
  • RE: Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter

    I agree - iTunes is bloated on my pc I avoid whenever I possibly can - often!
  • RE: Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter

    where's the iPhone app for this? when i search the app store for "Ping", i get ping pong games and network ping apps. no apple-tastic social networking app.
  • I hope you all are having a good time

    remaining poor and remaining behind the 8-ball in your Apple-bashing.

    As the French say (for those of you that have heard of that language) it's in the non-dit you need to focus.

    First, if the record companies get it right, you can friend Beyonc?, Edge, Sting or Bruce Springsteen if you want. Now you can do that on Facebook but now the real focus will be on the music.

    Does this replace Facebook? Not at all. Does it replace MySpace? Maybe.

    But for the record companies, the market focus opportunities are huge. And don't forget TV. Fox and Disney get it, the others will be like ZDNet - it just takes a lot more time for you folks to get it.

    In the meantime, go on and on about how cool Zune is (was?) and how Apple doesn't innovate Microsoft does (iPod, iPad, iTunes music store weren't innovation but Zune is? Oh, OK. I guess geek-logic isn't like human logic).

    Ping will work if the studios do it right. It's for them, not for iTunes users.
    • I don't disagree

      @mlindl But I really believe that Ping will work if the artists, especially the Indies or major label-bound artists who wish they weren't, see it as a tool to reach, and expand, their current audience directly
  • This is a comedy blog, right?

    Josef Goebbels would be proud of you, Non Zealot. The re-definition of monopoly to demonize the second most valuable company in the world with a minor market share is pretty funny and SO convincing.
  • good idea about facebook

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