A few days ago Apple released a social network. Gee, how bloody creative of them and they used to be so cool. There are enough social networks, too many actually. But I digress.

Yesterday when I updated iTunes and got the slightly odd new version (what’s with the vertical window buttons anyway?) there was no Ping in sight. Very well then, failed already as predicted by my tweet?

Well today when I opened iTunes again. There it was! Let’s go click that bad boy.

The first screen was pretty nice, some blahblahblah about how this is a social network and can do socially stuff. Create account!

Ok, first thing that’s a bit odd is that my Ping account is the same as my iTunes store account. Luckily I have a slightly hacked one so I can use the US store, otherwise Ping wouldn’t even exist for me.

Fail #1 – only exists for US people like I suddenly woke up in the middle ages.

Another thing that strook me as odd was setting up an avatar:

I can swallow the fact there’s no Gravatar support but what’s this nonsense about my avatar being approved!? What the flying fuck is going on here?

Then there’s this lovely tidbit about being forced to choose a whole of three genres of music that I listen to and being forced to choose between a very poor variety of stuff.

Fail #2 – nobody likes more than three genres and certainly nobody listens to Metal, Punk, Alternative Rock, Punk-Rock, Cabaret,  Swing, Folk and so on. Just the top10 chart on last.fm lists stuff from at least 6 different genres, most of them not on this list.

Coming to terms with the uselessness of this profile creation screen I finally clicked “Continue” and was greeted with this little ditty:

Sure, alright, I have to allow them to scrobble what I like. This makes sense. But what the hell!? They … they aren’t scrobbling what I’m actually listening to? Just what I’m … buying? What the fuck Apple? Don’t you realise the last time I bought any music was a few years ago and even that was only after I had been a fan of the artist for a few years and only really considered that CD merchandise?

That’s Fail #3 right there – need to buy/rate/review stuff through the iTunes store for Ping to do anything.

And then, then I was greeted by the most hilarious thing ever:

Quite obviously they recommended some weird stuff. Ok, granted, I like Linkin Park. Good guess. But Katy Perry? No, good boobs, bad music. Lady GaGa? LoL! And U2? Not really a fan, some songs are good, but meh. And I have no idea who Yo-Yo Ma and Jack Johnson even are.

This is a problem that Ping could easily have solved by syncing with my last.fm account that contains the past 4 years of my listening habits.

Fail #4 – obviously commercially inspired music recommendations are obviously lametastic.

Ok let’s try searching for some of my favourite bands so I can, you know, follow them on Ping and hopefully get something useful out of this pile of steaming cow dung.

Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – nope, not there

The Dresden Dolls – nope

Amanda Palmer – nope, just some fat chick, no sign of my beloved Amanda Palmer

Inkubus Sukkubus – nope

Voltaire – nein

Cruxshadows – negative

Jack Off Jill – nope

Blink-182 – halleluya they’re there, but as a … user? O.o

Ok now I found someone and … where the fuck is my search box? Ah ok, it was a few clicks away.

The Doors – nothing

Dropkick Murphys – nope

Meh I give up, there is nothing worth following on Ping. The artists I do find are labeled as users and everybody knows it’s not really them there, it’s some automated bot thing to keep us notified of their stuff. But none of the artists I’m actually listening to are there …

Fail #5 – Ping is empty. There are no artists or anything of worth following.

I’m going to give Ping the benefit of the doubt. They’re just having a bit of a cold start problem and nobody at Apple was smart enough to put at least placeholders for some of the most popular bands/artists of recent decades on there. Even Marilyn Manson, Iron Maidden and Offspring aren’t there …

Oh and here are some more fails:

Fail #6 – Everything is locked in iTunes, you can’t send music to people, can’t use other players, nothing. It’s just plain old locked to the single worts music player in the history of music players

Fail #7 – can only invite via Email, who cares about twitter and facebook where my social network actually is? Yeah, nobody cares about that

Fail #8 – no integration with anything. at all. Last.fm would make sense, but at least Twitter and Facebook? Anyone? Yeah I didn’t think so. Who uses that crap huh?

Fail #9 – oh yeah, there’s already a ping.fm, which, coincidentally, is a social network for music that integrates with stuff and works pretty well from what I heard

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  • n/a

    Not every application or service has to be made for you. Get a life!

  • You hit the nail on the head all the way down this list. When Apple is good, they’re fantastic, but when they’re bad, they’re REALLY bad. And Ping is going to be just like all their mice and the old *and* new AppleTV-it’s really bad.

  • Marty Pitt

    Applaudes quitely.

  • Laurent Desegur

    I would read your post if it’s was not so vulgar. Adding all these F words in your comments doesn’t make your point stronger. In fact, it does the opposite. Do yourself a favor: grow up and get civilized.

  • Yo-Yo Ma is a famous Cello player. If you don’t listen to classical music, suggesting him is indeed weird.

  • Carl

    Wow. You really harbor a lot of pre-emptive hate against something so volatile as a one day old first release of software. Maybe you should seek the aid of a therapist for whatever underlying cause there might be – and in the meanwhile, your incredibly valuable feedback on Ping might make it, and the world, change, just for you!

  • 3 things are wrong in this article but everything else seems quite true…

    1) I live in France and since it started I do have Ping in French
    2) Apple did not decided not to put facebook in, Facebook decided apple had to pay AND to put their design for like buttons and other integrations, Apple said no
    3) Ping.fm exists BUT it’s not specialized in music it’s just using social networks to sync your profile everywhere on the web

    They at least could have added the artists they have in the store, but no… Even Madonna and Daft Punk haven’t their official profiles yet…

  • Darren Mason

    You should have titled this article “I don’t like Ping and wish Apple didn’t add it to iTunes. I prefer alternatives.”

    Apple huge library will leverage Ping into one of the major social music scenes. It’s a no-brainer for them, and it’s probably been on the table for quite some time. Even if it has bugs and limited features at first, it will hurt Apple less than other standalone efforts because it is just one part of the iTunes universe. But they will improve it and it will grow. And probably at least half of people who buy from iTunes will prefer to use it. Which is tens of millions of people.

  • Nick

    Fail #1 of your post:

    “nobody likes more than three genres”

    I don’t consider myself to be a musico and there are 9 genres on that list I really enjoy (alternative, blues, classical, dance, electronic, jazz, pop, reggae, rock). That can’t be that rare.

  • Greg

    I almost stopped reading this article when you said nobody likes more than three genres of music, because a statement like that is just so asinine. Then when you mentioned you actually liked Linkin Park, that’s when I knew I didn’t want to hear anything else you had to say.

  • Dave

    When I first logged into Ping I had the option to log into Facebook to see if anyone was on there. I logged in, no friends found, and now the button is completely gone.

  • Heiny

    So says the blogger with the LIVENETLIFE schlock at the bottom of the page. Get over yourself.

  • I’m just wondering: why do people should prefer Ping when they have Spotify? I think it’s pretty useless…

  • dave

    ping sucks bad so far. it’s like when they rolled out .mac. It needed a few years before it became usable. iPhone helped it a lot.

    Ping could evolve over time into something interesting, but right now it’s not very.

  • Um, fellow commenters.. Swizec was being sarcastic when he said that ‘nobody likes more than three genres’.

  • Hey Swizec,

    This is Chris here from Like.fm (founder). I’ve been working on a site JUST like Ping (at least like it when I first heard about it) for the last 3 months. I managed to avoid most of your fails :). Like.fm is also BRAND new though. Right now you can only follow Billboard hot 100, the Hype machine, or any of the existing users (aren’t that many, in the hundreds). I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me but if you’re interested in Last.fm competitors, or have any questions or wanna learn more about Like.fm feel free to email me at chris@like.fm.

  • Rune

    I’m amused with all the ranting and flaming going on in the comments. Strong opinions are strong, and also have a very high entertainment value.
    This Ping thing looks useless, I’m again glad I never fell into the iTunes trap (aside from being by far not the best music store or player, words like iTunes force bad punctuation habits, they make me sad).
    Last.fm and real CDs are shiny.

  • Frederic

    “Fail #6 – Everything is locked in iTunes, you can’t send music to people, can’t use other players, nothing. It’s just plain old locked to the single worts music player in the history of music players”.

    What do you mean by that? The files you have “in iTunes” are readily located on your harddrive, browsable, copyable, and readable by any other application, you computer illiterate nutsack. Check your facts before you blurt out statements.

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  • Silent

    Ping is so meh it’s a disneyfied boring sterile one way social network.

    You are lucky to have such choice on the Australian one it didn’t have half the genre choices… Sigh

  • Daniel Buchner

    Fail #10 – Not knowing who Jack Johnson is

    You should listen to his first three records, they are pretty damn good.

  • Will Cannings

    re Fail #1 – it’s definitely available outside the US. I have an Australian account and I’m signed up. Also @Silent don’t know what screen you saw, this is the same (pathetically short) list of genres I got to choose from. I really don’t know why they didn’t make the Ping genres match the genres from the store (since that’s where all the data comes from anyway…)

  • Sam

    Slating an Apple product? You’re a brave man.

  • Wilhelm Reuch

    If you dont use iTunes why would you want to use Ping? Idiot, go back to mourning Pirate Bay.

  • I’m the Blink-182 user 🙂

    600+ people following me

    There really is an amazing lack of artists on there.

    toypaj

  • John Bon Jovi

    @n/a #1 oh anonymous troll, why don’t you get a life?

    @Laurent: How do you know it was full of F words if you didn’t read it?

    @Loup: It seems to suggest much the same set of artists/bands for everyone when they log in.

    @Carl: He’ll be forming a queue behind you.

    @Nick: No, he’s saying that the problem is Apple thinks people don’t like more than three genres of music. It was badly worded, but that’s what he meant, as is clear from the point about major genres missing.

    @Greg: See @Nick.

    @Dave: Yeah, Apple is enemies with Facebook as well as a lot of other people.

    @Heiny: Eh?

    @Ivar: Not so much sarcasm as reversely explained from the other #fail points.

    @Rune: Bad punctuation habits? Are you serious? Seems you are able to use punctuation badly without iTunes’ help.

    @Frederic: I expect he was talking about iTunes from a few years back, when purchases (as opposed to tracks you burned yourself from CD or imported from elsewhere) were DRMed to death.

    @Daniel: Only if you like Jack Johnson, to be fair.

    @Wilhelm: in order to blog about and wind up people like you. Success.

  • Uxfam

    I have been using iTunes for a decade and Apple products for longer. I have seen iTunes grow iteratively over the years and welcome this latest cycle. It will improve rapidly as Apple learn user adoption habits. I don’t see my Facebook network on Ping but I can see my linked-in network on iTUnes Ping, weird huh?

  • Where’s the metal

    Man you are dead on. Ping is a piece of crap right now. The success of a social network depends a lot on freedom and the ability for it to integrate with many parts of the web. Itunes has neither. It’s a grid locked system and ping will be a total flop. Apple is too arrogant and stubborn to play nice with other services such as facebook, lastfm, etc. And enough Lady GaGa already.

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  • PING=Ping Is Not Good. It is really broken, too. I can’t even follow more people (I’m up to about 520 and it just gives me a very lame error message. Reminds me of Windows Me.

    It is the most un-Apple service I’ve seen them release in quite some time.

  • kejia

    My “Artists We Recommend You Follow” was almost identical to yours when I joined Ping yesterday. I think the only difference was Katy Perry. Can’t say for sure b/c I didn’t take screen shot. I’d disabled Ping and when I started it up again today, the list was completely different. even though I’ve made no purchases or reviews since then. At least Lady Gaga was moved to 2nd page. That’s a good call, but I’m off to disable Ping again.

  • By the way, I think you might be insulting dung. It can be useful as fertilizer or an alternative fuel source. Can you say the same for Ping?

  • Chace

    Wikipedia sucked for the first 5 years and still often does.

  • Dante

    They made a social network for people who are regulars in the iTunes store. It’s not supposed to compete with the size of facebook or twitter. It’s strictly to increase music sales.

  • Well it seems that ping is just not ready for music social netowkring, however, they are trying to make just like MySpace Music so everyone can interact with his/her music. The problem with iTunes Ping, is that Apple wants you to buy its products and services, what else to listen for if you are not paying for it, or just go to MySpace.com and it is free and more music to listen tooo.

  • Bobby G

    It’s obvious from the childishness of your post and the immature nature of your blog in general that it is in fact YOU who are the steaming pile of dung. But you knew that already.

  • Grats on hitting TechMeme!

    Anyhow, completely agree with you. I had exactly Same thoughts, to the bullet, when I signed up yesterday.

    And now that they lost Facebook integration, it’s slow and painful death… Unless they start RE-ENGINEERING and fast..

  • Nikki Ives-Allison

    Why are some many of the people making comments completely unable to see the sarcasm in so much of this post – “No one like more than three genres.” – this is so sarcastic it couldn’t be more obvious. Maybe instead of just going off on everyone you read you could, maybe just once, actually read the article through fully before speaking. I don’t think he’s being egocentric at all – he’s pointing out obvious design flaws (though he does make a couple of errors – ie. It works in Canada you just need a credit card to sign up – which is another FAIL). A social network doesn’t have to work for every individual in the world but if it wants to be successful it needs to work for some.

  • eknirb

    “computer illiterate nutsack.”

    That’s a pretty good one.

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  • Riley

    This is one of the ugliest blogs I’ve seen in a long time. Written by a complete moron too.

  • grumbles

    Lord, lots of Apple fanboys and people who don’t know how to read commenting here. It is embarrassing, really.

    My take: iTunes is an OK operating system, but what it really needs is a decent MP3 player.

    I don’t want a social network in my jukebox. I don’t want to have the store shoved in my face when I back up my cell phone. Moving documents to my iPad shouldn’t require looking at my video collection.

    I can’t believe Apple is humping the bunk so hard on a bit of software that is so strategic for them.

    And yeah, the thing about social networks is that they’re made of people. If you try to clean them up, make them presentable for selling, limit them to commerce and respectability, they will fail. People are messy, profane and random. I love Apple products – they’re consistently best-in-class. But this one is a dud, and should be left on a mountaintop to die like the Newton and the Cube.

  • As you can read from my post, I finally have gotten some actual directions from Apple about how to proceed getting a profile approved for an Indie artist and I have a contact email for people to write to:

    http://gulture.com/wordpress/?p=792

  • Jo Dea

    OK that makes a lot of sense dude.

    http://www.anon-surf.at.tc

  • Bubba

    Vertical window buttons match their space saving layout in the Mini Player view – which I have iTunes in 90+ percent of the time. Nice touch, me like…

  • fjpoblam

    Your post:
    Of value? To you, perhaps, to get a load off.
    Of rousing lasting value? Meh…

  • James

    I find all of Apple’s new and improved updates and versions of ipod, itunes, appleTV to be underwhelming and geared only for mass market sales not really for the quality and innovation. Apple has indeed lost it’s edge. Ping is LALA bastardized with itunes store.

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  • curt

    dude … jack johnson … cmon , u dont know him … ? that’s an other fail , but anyways only johnsons recommendation was successful

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