The year was 2010, the date, September 1 and Apple decided it needed to go social so it launched Ping; a social music network that Apple hoped would help with music discovery. Naturally, they wanted you to discover new music and then buy it (via iTunes) and they recruited big names to the service that you could “follow” and be “followed” to share music.
Jobs himself pitched this network to be Apple’s attempt at solving music discovery. This was to occur by allowing you to see what your friends and favorite bands were actually downloading. Ping also offered up a wall/news feed feature that would show what your favorite bands are saying and you could interact with the postings as well.
While Apple can get thousands to line up for their new products, they have failed to build out a social network. You would think that the “cult of Apple” would flock to any social network built by the Cupertino powerhouse but here we are.
Top: Twitter | Bottom: Ping
If you happen to venture into Ping, which is conveniently bloating down iTunes, you will discover not music, but that it has turned into nothing more than a glorified Twitter aggregator for musicians. While there are some unique postings, the majority appears to be pulled directly from Twitter, which begs the question, why not just use Twitter instead?
Ping! is not only teetering on obscurity when it comes to social networks, it doesn’t have the spit and polish that you would expect from Apple. The interface is clunky, finding new bands to “follow” (put in quotes as following fits more appropriately with Twitter) is a bit awkward and for the discovery part, it’s about as useful as looking at the billboard top 100 listing.
Searching around Apple’s website, it looks like the last time they updated http://www.apple.com/itunes/ping/ with relevant content was on January 24 2011 based on the image dates with some of the images dating back to 2010. While we know images can grow long in the tooth, theses are the images promoting the platform and their age would suggest that there has not been a feature upgrade since this time otherwise the images would have to of been replaced.
If you are up for a challenge, go to Apple's website and try and find links to Ping (Hint: Scroll to the bottom).
So what were saying here is Apple, Ping is dead, it’s a glorified Twitter feed with relatively low interactions. The idea was sound (pun!) but the concept never took off and maybe the World isn’t ready for a social music platform (or the HiFi).