Ping a Threat to Other Social Networks?


appleADOTAS – The 80s had Madonna, the 90s also had Madonna, the 00s had Britney and in the teens we have Lady GaGa. Or is it Katy Perry? I’m not very good at keeping track of mainstream pop divas.

I wasn’t really surprised to see Ms. Stefani Germanotta as the featured musician on the Apple page for its new iTunes-based social network Ping (I was surprised to see than she likes Iron Maiden old Metallica and Faith No More). I swear I must see eight different headlines about the pop star every day, no matter what website I go to. Popular music needed a larger-than-life character a la Grace Jones and wa-lah — here is what the industry manufactured (whines the truly independent — read unsuccessful — musician who needs a day job to support his hobby).

Ping resembles a Twitter for the music obsessed, allowing iTunes users to follow their favorite musical artists, as well as friends, and see what they’re doing and listening to. It aims to be the musical discovery service MySpace never was. Silicon Alley Insider set up this handy-dandy tour.

Apple chose an interesting tag line — “Set your inner groupie free.” Apple is aware what groupies do, right? They want us to offer up our bodies to our musical idols through their social network? Perhaps they’re trying to sex it up a bit, but being a starf—er isn’t much of an appeal… At least not to me

When it was introduced yesterday, users could find their friends via Facebook Connect, but that’s gone today. Apple CEO Steve Jobs told AllThingsD that Ping is not hooked up with the social network because Facebook’s terms were “onerous.” Perhaps FB is feeling threatened?

Actually all the social networks should feel threatened. Where are the ads? we in the marketing world ask. Well there aren’t any because Ping is supported by iTunes sales. It’s another Apple walled garden that may take a lot of attention away from other networks, ones that subsist on ad revenue.
However, the tech media is already complaining about problems in functionality (as well as the name choice). There’s also the drag that classic rockers like The Beatles aren’t featured on iTunes (I’ve also got some 30-year-old bad news if you want to see what John Lennon is up to these days — RIP, Working Class Hero). There seem to be some overtones of Google’s much maligned Buzz — can Apple get away with adding a social element to a popular service?

And also, tell me the chorus of “Poker Face” doesn’t remind you of Glenn Frey’s “You Belong to the City.”


  1. That Lady Gaga chorus has been driving me nuts for months — I knew I’d heard it somewhere before but couldn’t quite place it. Thanks for finally making that connection for me!


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