By Daniel Callicott
Social media meets iTunes.
Apple recently launched iTunes 10, which adds a social networking component called Ping to iTunes tried-and-true format.
Ping serves a function similar to Twitter, providing musicians with the opportunity to share pictures, videos and status updates with fans. The updates are posted to an Artist Profile page.
Another update to the Profile Page is a list of upcoming concerts are also listed on the artist page with ticket links.
Ping enables iTunes users to follow their favorite artists and comment on posts. Also, iTunes users can follow other fans, read their reviews and discover new music from their profiles.
Some musicians using Ping have already amassed a faithful following. The British band Coldplay, for instance, has nearly 300,000 followers. The band posts regularly, recently including updates and pictures from the recording studio while creating a new album.
Lady GaGa also uses Ping, and has more than 400,000 followers, whom she referred affectionately to as “my little monsters” in a post. GaGa has posted not only on music but also on political issues and lifestyle.
Although Ping allows artists to have more contact with fans, the new feature could pose safety concerns. Users can now follow each other with ease. However, iTunes 10 allows users to control whether their Ping profile is public or not. Thus, iTunes users concerned about safety should create a private Ping profile or identify themselves with a nickname.
Like Twitter, Ping has capabilities to increase communication and connectivity between public figures and their fans. Ping’s features could give musicians a new outlet to reach out to new listeners. In order to ensure interest, maintain their iTunes followers and a vibrant Ping page, musicians will have to post regularly.
Other changes Apple introduced in iTunes 10 are graphical. In fact, the iTunes logo has been redesigned.
According to an Apple press release, there were more than one million Ping users within 48 hours after its introduction.
In the press release Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services, said “one-third of the people who have downloaded iTunes 10 have joined Ping.”
Although many joined Ping quickly, Apple expects even more iTunes users to join
“As many more people download iTunes 10 in the coming weeks, we expect the Ping community to continue growing,” Cue said in the release.
Ping is yet another chapter in the long lists of innovations from Apple. Ping’s success is not surprising considering the popularity of social media.
Ping and iTunes 10 are worth the download for users who wish to interact with musicians on a much more personal level.