What was that iTunes social network again? Three problems with Apple’s Ping

When something called "Ping" showed up in my iTunes a few weeks ago, I have to say I was intrigued.  As someone very willing to engage in social media and a full fledged music junkie, it seemed like something perfect for me.  But as the weekend and subsequent weeks rolled on I could not think of any reason to get involved.  Much like Facebook Places or the Microsoft Zune, sometimes being late to market can make a potentially superior offering completely undesirable.   Here are three reasons that I think Ping will go the way of Google Wave... A good idea with a short, modest shelf life.

1) I am already up to date on the bands that I love.  Between email lists, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter I already have access to the bands that I love.  I know of advanced tickets from Martin Sexton.  I see live recordings from the Derek Trucks Band.  I see where Guns n Roses is currently playing.  I know when my cousin’s band The Yes Way has new tracks coming out.  In short, Ping tries to solve a problem I don’t have.

2) It feels too iTunes centric.  Ping feels like its goal is to get me to buy more music… through iTunes.  It doesn’t feel like an engagement platform and is only about following big name bands.  Sure, Ping makes it easy to buy more Soundgarden tracks, but it make me feel any closer to the band or its fans at all.

3) Simple saturation.  As more and more social networks pop up, even a social media junkie like me can only do so much.  There has to be a really good reason for me add something new to the mix and there needs to be value that I am not getting anywhere else.  And even if I did find Ping useful for myself, my current social graph is unlikely to get on board.  I like to talk music with friends and suggest new bands, but I can already do that without Ping.  

Am I missing something here?  Is the power of Apple enough to keep it alive and kicking?  Time will tell.  But if I am hard pressed to find a reason to get engaged, I can’t imagine many people are jumping into the world of Ping.


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