Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros

September 10, 2010

Is Apple's Ping Network Shutting Out Indie Bands?

I have yet to download the latest version of iTunes, but that hasn't kept me from hearing the buzz (and controversy) surrounding Apple's new Ping.

It's described as a "Social Network for Music" that is built into iTunes. Apple is hyping it this way:

"True fans know it all: What their favorite artists are playing - and when and where they're playing it. Set your inner groupie free by following your favorite artists on Ping."

That's why a lot of independent musicians were excited by the prospect of creating their own profile on Ping and using it as a way to engage with more fans on the hugely popular iTunes platform.

But excitement quickly turned to frustration as indie artists could find no way to create a profile (as they can a band page on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc).

So, is Apple slamming the door on indie artists and bands?

Hopefully not. Apple is reportedly working with CD Baby, Tunecore, and other indie music aggregators to allow artists of all kinds to create profiles on the site.

The prevailing logic behind it is to make sure that the artist or band itself is creating the profile -- instead of a fan or imposter claiming to be the band.

Makes sense -- but it was short-sighted on Apple's part to overlook this aspect before launching Ping with so much hype.

It also demonstrates the company's overbearing need for control -- and raises a lot of questions about their being in bed with major labels instead of championing the indie underdog (which was a big part of their brand identity as the "cool company" going up against Microsoft).

I hope Apple wakes up and finds a quick way to make Ping artist profiles available to independent musicians. I'm a big Apple fan, and I hope they continue to give me good reasons to stay one!

What do YOU think about Ping? Please leave a comment below.


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Here are some related Ping links across the web:

Apple's official Ping page

Apple's Ping has major label bias

TuneCore: Apple Does Not Hate Indie Bands

Hey, iTunes Ping: What About the Bands?

Why Apple's Ping Stumble May Help Google Music

Ping: Apple should leave social to Facebook, Twitter
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posted by Bob Baker @ 9:44 AM   7 comments


At Sep 10, 2010, 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Todd Billingsley said...

Give Apple time...the same held true for indies when it launched the iTunes Store. Product launches, regardless of whether you're an inexperienced start-up or wildly successful Apple, take time and caution to work out all the kinks.

With Apple historically doing things on a large, dramatic scale, isn't it rather hard to imagine this company with multiple platform-changing innovations wanting to keep its "social netork" small?

At Sep 10, 2010, 12:01:00 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

According to a Mashable post, TuneCore will be providing the ability for bands to create profiles in Ping through iTunes.

At Sep 10, 2010, 3:42:00 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

I also heard that TuneCore will be providing profiles...

At Sep 10, 2010, 4:14:00 PM, Blogger Bob Baker said...

Jeff and Jason ...

Yes, like I wrote in the blog post, Tunecore is working with Apple on this. CD Baby says they are too.

So like Todd says, hopefully in a short while these issues will be ironed out.

At Sep 14, 2010, 9:23:00 PM, Blogger Blaggards said...

Our band, Blaggards (, are an unsigned act and our stuff is sold on iTunes via CD Baby.

Apple sent us a Ping invitation a couple days after I emailed them asking about when independent artists could get in the service. They even put us in their featured list of Ping profiles. Sometimes it pays to be proactive!

~ Chad

At Sep 20, 2010, 4:46:00 PM, Anonymous Trevor said...

Yeah, I was fairly underwhelmed by the (lack of) substance of Ping, after all the hype. Seems like they launched it before it was really ready.

At Oct 11, 2010, 9:48:00 AM, Anonymous Cindy said...

I guess, ping is fine for the music industry, because apple will not have this type of campaign if they don't have the basis of their actions. As a producer, i won't risk it. So it's really better that PING is only for non-independent artists.


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