What is Ping? Jobs explained it this way, "It's like Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes." Although Apple is promoting Ping as a music discovery platform where artists and fans can interact, it's a lot more strategic than that. Until now Apple has mastered technology and content, but Ping gives them the one piece that they never had before - people, the most important of them all.
But Ping will be very significant for artists and bands too. Here's how:
- 1) There are already 160 million iTunes users. That doesn't mean that they'll all use Ping, but it provide a huge base of people already on the network.
- 2) iTunes has a direct connection to your content that other social networks don't have. This should make an impulse buy easier.
- 3) Ping is about all music, unlike other social networks (sorry MySpace, you don't count anymore). At least in the beginning, there won't be any other distractions.
- 4) iTunes users consume content. They're used to buying, and they already have credit cards on file.
- 5) Ping is about music discovery. Discovery is still the Holy Grail of the music industry. Ping provides discovery on your own, discovery through friends, and discovery from other fans, and anything to help people find your music is a good thing.
- 6) Ping has a direct connection to buying tickets to gigs. With their database of over 17,000 shows and concerts (provided by LiveNation, by the way), it'll make it easier for a fan to purchase a ticket without ever leaving the network.
Look for an announcement soon of how you can claim your artist page on Ping (check Lady Gaga's artist page out as an example). Then be sure to do it right away. Although it may be too early to tell, there doesn't seem to be a downside, unless you like being undiscovered, of course.
Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.