Apple Ping: there’s always something brewing
Business news can rarely be described as ‘fast breaking.’ Oh sure, there are profound exceptions – the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy came as something of a bolt from the blue – but mostly markets rise and fall in an understandable capacity. The ‘stuff’ that seems to tickle our collective ribs, and make us arch an eyebrow is usually in the Tech sector. Even if the innovations have been brewing behind curtains and in labs for years, it’s the product or system advances we’ll be saying ‘wow’ about – that, and not investment banking, is where money is playing. Because that is where we say ‘wow’ the most.
It’s no surprise that Steve Jobs and his Apple corp. are usually making the headlines. They never stop unveiling something. Well, now it’s time to take on the ailing music business and really take over (Jobs has effectively replaced record labels anyway). Rupert Murdoch’s Myspace is bound to be usurped, and every day it’s losing numbers to Facebook and other social forums. Enter Apple’s latest gambit: Ping – already the talk of the town, this is a new ‘social music forum’ open to the already 160 million existing iTunes users (see video below).
Business Week has just run an article on how this could be a ‘game changer’ for the industry and social networks. The writer of the piece, Om Malik, had just sat through the latest launch of Apple updates and new software, iPods, etc. when Ping was also in the queue. What it does is ‘function like a cross between Facebook and Twitter for iTunes by allowing you to follow celebrities, create social cliques, and get artist updates via an activity stream.’ In other words, act like a much more social Myspace with a direct portal to the iTunes music catalog (which is formidable, at this point). And I’m sure there will be an ease of operation that Myspace is sorely lacking. Malik also mentioned an interesting point in that Ping could “create a compelling discovery experience” and one that might just help sift through the huge amount of information we have to digest everyday (music or otherwise). Whatever the case may be, it is bound to create some ‘excitement’ in the music business and might even start getting some of its artists paid. Wouldn’t that be something?