At the beginning of September Apple released iTunes 10 to go along with the release of its new iPod line up… nothing really new there, new iPods always appear this time of year and are noramlly followed by a update to the iTunes software. This time though Steve Jobs and Co. included a new feature… Ping, a music orientated social network. Is there enough room for another social media site or have Apple managed to find another money spinner. But first what is Ping for the people out there that havent tried it….
According to the Apple website Ping has three main functions:
- Follow your favourite artists: Very similar to MySpace, the application allows you to view an artist and the bands she or he likes while also viewing there status updates and photos (sound familiar?)
- Follow your friends and find new music: Ping lets you see what your friend has just brought and its recommended to you if you have a similar taste in music
- Stay upto date on who, what, when and where: Ping creates a list of recent updates from friends and artists as away to keep up to date.
So far its sounds just like Facebook or Myspace or Twitter and Steve Jobs would kinda agree with that statement:
“sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” but stating that “[Ping] is not Facebook” and “it is not Twitter,” instead describing it as “something else … all about music.
So what are the benefits of creating another social media site and saturating the market place?
- iTunes has 160 million users. And within two days of release Ping had 1 million users, tapping into this readily accessible number of users should give Ping a leg up and chance to succeed.
- Ping is focused on music exclusively (for now i guess), no other distractions may increase popularity of the service.
- Encourages music music discovery, this would immediately boost sales and line the pockets of the record labels.
- The Ping user demographic is buy-friendly, legal and music-focused. Users on iTunes have a credit card on file and are responsible for most of the legal digital purpose for the music industry.
- Since iTunes is the direct seller of the content, it can best leverage its social network to maximize sales .
- Ping can cross sell other Apple products (iPhones, iPods, AppleTV etc)
- Apple fans (myself included) will generally endorse any Apple product.
- Apple has the iPhone (150 million) advantage to gain social networking lead.
- Apple are are customer focused, they will make improvements (books, music, tv added to the service?).
- Ping’s interface is clean and easy to figure out, somewhat similar to Facebook.
- Apple is considered cool and cutting edge – many people will try out Ping to see what the fuss is all about.
- Cut the middlemen out. Myspace artist pages have links going to iTunes or Amazon MP3.
The numbers are obviously impressive but with any product there a disadvantages:, some of them seem to be:
- Another Social Network for artists to maintain.
- No integration with other social networks. (Facebook negotiations)
- Not a website, todays trend is cloud computing not application based computing
- Artist can only be invited to Ping. Unsigned artists therefore need to be invited – unlike Myspace.
- Ping can therefore be seen to only benefit the bigger artists.
- Apple iTunes only operates in 23 countries therefore Ping not global.
- Joining a social network and a marketplace together has not proved to be a commercial success eg: Myspace, Facebook and Twitter are still figuring ways to make money from the sites other than advertising.
- Ping still seems buggs and occasionally freezes. [Based on Roussos, 2010]
It will be really interesting over the next couple of months to see how Ping grows, and to she how the service can be utilized. The fact that the iTunes store is more than just music these days allows for the service to be extended into the TV, movie and book genres and possibly increase it user and has we more past this version 1 of Ping more features will surely be added.
Is it a Facebook killer… No, a MySpace killer… Maybe (Ping vs MySpace).
As for me for now ill stick with just the hitlist of the Triple J website to find my music, but it may not be long before “Ping Me” becomes a part of everday life.
Give Ping ago for yourself and share your thoughts….
Links/Further Reading:Why Ping Is the Future of Social Commerce iTunes Ping: The missing thing Apple Introduces “Ping” Music Social Network and iTunes 10 iTunes 10.0.1 Update Improves the Ping Experience Apple Home Page – Ping