I thought I would write a short review on iTunes Ping since iTunes 10 has now been released for PC and I finally had the chance to check it out. For those who don’t know, Ping is a new social network built into iTunes which allows you to follow artists or listeners and get updates on music. Any music you purchase through the iTunes store will automatically be posted on your profile, which is very much like your wall on Facebook.
This brings me to the first downside of Ping. Sure the iTunes store has become one of the main platforms for music lovers to purchase their music digitally, but there are many out there who have iTunes libraries full of music that was not purchased through the iTunes store. It’s just a shame that there is no way for you to showcase or display the music in your library that was obtained outside of the iTunes store. Of course many people obtain their music illegally any way, but I am sure there wouldn’t be any way to expose or penalize those illegal downloader’s.
The interface of Ping is very clean, ensuring that it’s easy to use. Those who are used to using the iTunes store will feel at home using Ping, it is every bit as accessible as the store. Upon signing up/into Ping for the first time you will be asked to complete your profile; which is basically uploading a picture and filling in an “About Me” text box. After that you will be presented with a selection of featured music artists, which you then have the option to follow. I’m not sure if Ping uses some kind of logic to tell which artists you like, but as soon as I signed up 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo we’re right there, and I got the feeling that Ping was suggesting them for me based on the music I have purchased previously through the iTunes store.
As Ping is fairly new, there isn’t that much activity going on right now but I am sure the whole experience will be just as live as Twitter and Facebook soon enough. Because Ping is all about the music I see much more point to it than certain other social networks, so I feel that once Ping catches on it will be a very interesting experience. Whilst browsing Ping to get a feel of what it’s all about, I saw an update from Lloyd Banks telling the fans to check out his new leaked single “See Me Bright”. You are able to leave comments on these updates, so I left one responding to another fan who asked when Lloyd Bank’s album would be released.
The whole thing works very quickly with hardly any loading at all, leaving me impressed. I can definitely see the artist interaction with Ping being the entity that brings more people over to the network. Artists will naturally jump on board with Ping because of iTunes being a top platform for buying music, meaning they can literally point the fans in the direction of where to buy their music and get a sale within two clicks.
I tip my hat to Apple for trying to do something more social with iTunes, because they have millions of users so it definitely made sense to give them something more to do than just buying music. Also Ping should prove as a good marketing tool for artists, as they can directly interact with the fans buying their music, and because the store is already integrated within the interface I am sure artist interactions will boost their own sales in a big way.
Overall I have to say that Ping is a great idea on Apple’s behalf, and they should have done this sooner. I can definitely see it catching on real quick as Apple is already a huge brand. I can see people interacting with the Ping social network whether it’s on their iPhone, iPod, Mac or PC. If you are an active iTunes user then I suggest you get involved as soon as possible, because the platform is sure to grow at a rapid rate. Also the fact that there is a feature to sign in with your Facebook account ensures involvement from a wide range of people, whether they buy music through iTunes or not.
– Gary A Swaby: The Epic Network