All you need to know about Apple iPing

This is a guest post by TCO's Community Manager Michael Goldstein - follow his brain at @MickeyG77

Before the internet people were living in a musical dictatorship run by the Radio. Because it was the only source of new music what they decided to play was what the public heard, and eventually, bought. This is why genres were so defined and strong, because people simply didn't have other options of musical discovery.
Then the internet came and changed all that, all of a sudden we are exposed to thousands of genres, it's no wonder that most people proclaim to 'love all types of music' on their Facebook profiles.

So with a plethora of music floating around, the question of how to organise all these tunes has been largely ignored. There are a myriad of blogs claiming to host the newest music, as well as Hype Machine which is organised by 'Hype' not taste and has been criticised by musical aficianados as a fast food musical outlet.

Facebook is one of the most popular places to share new music, with news feed's littered with poor quality YouTube clips of buzzbands. Twitter too has musical links shared till kingdom come to sites such as Soundcloud. However none of these platforms offer truly integrated music sharing and purchasing options.

What is Apple Bing?

The Apple Ping is Steve Jobs' latest software innovation that catapults Itunes into the social networking world. It's almost a hybrid of Facebook, Twitter and Itunes, a social site that revolves around music.

Users will be able to show off their musical taste and get credit for their online musical finds. Music lovers will no longer rely on a random and sometimes un-reliable feed of music from a blog, but can source musical inspiration from their friends. This site has the potential to totally remove the need for FM radio as not only will people, as they do now, discover music before it hits the airwaves, but they will also be able to purchase a high quality copy of it.

Logically it makes sense, people share so much music already online, this should be a seamless, streamlined way to do what people already love doing.

But will it work?
Apple does have the assets for a successful social network, 160 million Itunes users and the status as one of the most respected brands in the world will make it easy to attract users. They are also not trying to wipe out or even directly compete with Twitter and Facebook, both of which serve separately defined purposes. Interestingly this is where Ping's biggest problem lays, whether people have the capacity for three seperate social networks, is an interesting question that time will answer. The key to the success of Ping is how seamlessly it can integrate with other social networks, it could be a question as simple as how many steps it takes to move between networks, or a more complex psychological evaluation of social networking values.
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