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?


James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news


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