Is Apple Ping A Complete Fail?

Social Network - Or Walled Community?      03/09/10
Is Apple Ping A Complete Fail?


Apple's introduction of its iTunes social music network, Ping, was the biggest news from the company's special music event, yesterday. 

Ping has the potential to be revolutionary - because it's based on a platform, iTunes, that already has 160 million users. 

But Ping currently feels less like a social network......than a walled community.

Ping Is A Walled Community For Artists, And You're Not Invited

If you look for artists to follow in Ping, it seems that there are only 14 musicians that you can follow:

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Yo-Yo Ma
  3. Katy Perry
  4. U2
  5. Jack Johnson
  6. Linkin Park
  7. Shakira
  8. Coldplay
  9. Mark Ronson
  10. Taylor Swift
  11. Dave Mathews Band
  12. Diddy
  13. Linkin Park
  14. U2

You might think it's cheating to include Linkin Park and U2 on the list twice.

But that's the way Apple does it. 

Looking for other artists, I searched for profiles for these top-selling iTunes artists, in vain:

  1. Jay-Z
  2. Ke$ha
  3. Owl City
  4. David Guetta
  5. Vampire Weekend
  6. Sade
  7. Black Eyed Peas
  8. John Mayer
  9. Alicia Keys
  10. Selena Gomez
Digging a little deeper, I found that artists that are more up my alley, like Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and Thievery Corporation, don't have artist pages in Ping either. 

According to Apple, "Artist profiles were launched by invitation, but we'll keep adding more and more." 

So, for artists, Ping is a walled community. And you're not invited in. 

Ping Is A Walled Community For Fans, Too

Ping is a bit of a walled community for fans, too, but more like a prison. Instead of keeping fans out, Ping makes it hard for you to connect with other people. 

There are two options for connecting with other people with Ping:

  • You can search for them by name; or
  • You can send them an email invite.

There's no way to easily connect with friends you may already have on MySpace, Twitter of Facebook. 

The end result is that Ping makes it very hard for fans to be social. 

At this point, it's very difficult to see why Apple is hyping Ping. It's a walled community, it's hard to use and it just feels way too lonely for a music social network. 

If you're trying out Ping, though, here's a link to my Ping Profile.

I'd be interested in finding out your thoughts on Ping, too. Is it a complete FAIL - or are you finding things to like about it?

Link:

James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news

More From: APPLE
Even more news...

5 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Juicy Audio Productions    Said...

On the one hand i have the feeling of "it's early days yet, so lets see what happens" but on the other hand i also have "hang on a minute...they of all people should really have hit the ground not running, but STEAMING along". Considering their pedigree, apple seem to be dropping the ball a little these days ( iphone 4 issue was conveniently sidestepped).

As an INDEPENDANT artists platform, right now this is a fail. Let's hope they make it more open,sooner rather than later as there are LOADS of other more workable platforms out there already.

03-Sep-10 06:27 AM


tony    Said...

Its a little early to call it a fail...but this is an absolutely horrid start. Only 14 artists you can follow, and its invitation only? Not having a good way to connect to people on a social network is just ridiculous. If this was 2001 and social networking was new this could be forgiven. As it stands, they better get working on it..

03-Sep-10 08:39 AM


DBM    Said...

Fail or complete fail on day 2 ? Seriously ? Is this a fox news report ...sounds like it . Now 6 mounths from now if nothing new is added then we can spit on it. Until then just kind of reminds me of the 90's ideal of cool thing (apple) gets big = cool kids call them a poser . Seams to be the fad to doubt them at every turn now . Reminds me of when you were freaking out on the podcast about the loss of fw400 ports in favor of the 800 and how your then assumption that that would make everyones 400 audio i/o usless . lol . Don't get me wrong apple can and have f#ed up and can , but let's lose the fad guys . It is a turn off . ;)

03-Sep-10 10:53 AM


James lewin    Said...

DB - if it were Fox News, the headline would have been something more like "Liberal Media Hype Can't Save Apple Ping".

I appreciate your wait and see attitude, but Ping will be a failure unless it opens up.

Remember iTunes LP, Apple's digital album "experience? It started with 12 albums and wasn't open to indies, and went nowhere.

I'd agree, though, that musicians should try out Ping and keep their eyes on it. Given iTunes 160 million users, there is a lot of potential for Ping if Apple can fix it.

03-Sep-10 11:29 AM


gizzard    Said...

"There's no way to easily connect with friends you may already have on MySpace, Twitter of Facebook."

There Was a Facebook Connect option in Ping but Facebook blocked it yesterday according to Engadget. Apple and Facebook are negotiating. It's a bit rich to label Ping as a walled garden when the biggest social network Facebook is the prime example of it.

03-Sep-10 01:11 PM


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