Ping! (Kicking The Tires)

I must admit, Apple‘s announcement of their new PING social media platform completely slipped by me over the holiday weekend … until I read 1-million users signed up for the service during it’s first 48 hours.  It sounds impressive enough, but pales in comparison to Pandora, Lastfm, and other music networks.  Ping is integrated with iTunes 10, which had 10-million downloads in the same period (a more impressive 10% conversion rate). 

More importantly,  I wanted to know if there was a radio for radio to leverage this new community for social marketing.  So, here’s what I found …

The concept is pretty simple:  follow artists you like, follow people you know, get information from your favorite artists, discover new music … and buy stuff from iTunes.  The challenge for Apple will be to keep these new users coming back.  Right now, I can’t see much use for the service.  The negatives are so obvious:  iTunes dependency, no connectivity to other social platforms like Facebook, lack of dialogue and compelling engagement, and a cumbersome find/add friends process are just a few.  Bottom Line – right now it’s less of a social network than a sales platform to help generate iTunes sales, artist publicity, merch and ticket sales.  iTunes is a store … buy something, move on with your life.  There’s no reason to hang out on Ping, there’s no unique position that is not already serviced by the other networks – even MySpace is a better user experience right now.

However, we are talking about Apple.  They have a pretty good track record of figuring out this stuff.  So, it’s worth setting up your account to be ready for the point when they hit critical mass.

Here’s a challenge to my radio industry friends … How can we be ready to use Ping as a  new tool for our brands?  Well, I’m still waiting for the first person to follow me so I don’t exactly know how to do any of these suggestions yet; but, let’s start the conversation and learn together:

  • Set up a Station Profile on iTunes/Ping – listeners can follow you, you can follow listeners – maybe you can spot early trends for your playlist?
  • Post your playlist and pay attention to listener comments
  • Solicit feedback on new music before you add it
  • Show Prep – follow the artists you play
  • Jock Profiles – music/concert reviews cross posted to station blogs
  • Morning Show Profile (as an Artist) – podcast audio, appearances, upcoming bits?
  • Discover new music
  • Find great writers to contribute to station website content
  • Sell tickets for station concerts or charity CDs

Ping must become more of a social destination that plays nice with all of our other web profiles and focus less on sales … that comes naturally with great content.  Right, radio?  Discuss …

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2 Responses to “Ping! (Kicking The Tires)”

  1. Nice Article Scott, I still wonder how valuable tools from Pandora would be on Listening habits and regional programming. Ping sounds like a great resource for not just programming but also for station staff in general. I think you are dead on here, the Positives could overcome the negatives so it makes sence to get on board sooner than later. Although, that Positive/Negative battle will be up to Apple.

  2. I just found it boring within a few minutes, and I have plenty of of time on my hands right now 🙂 There needs to be more unique content, more engagement, more interaction.

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