Introduction to iTunes Ping
Not to be confused with the popular computer network troubleshooting tool of (nearly) the same name, iTunes Ping is Apple's social networking platform. This music-oriented service was first launched on Sept. 1, 2010, and has been integrated in the iTunes software program for Mac and PC since version 10. The service is currently available in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. As well as using the service via Apple's iTunes desktop software program, you can also access iTunes Ping from your Apple mobile device -- currently for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In order to start using this service, you need to have an Apple ID store account and ensure Ping is activated via the iTunes software; by default it is disabled until you turn this function on.
How Can it be Used for Digital Music?
For the digital music fan, Ping can be a useful tool for broadening the type of music you listen to by seeing what your 'Ping friends' like -- you can of course share your favorite songs and artists too. However, Apple's social music networking service does a whole lot more that you can take advantage of. For instance, you can use it to practically follow an artist's every move by keeping up-to-date on information such as their tour dates, and any playlists, videos or photos that have been uploaded. You can also create your own profile which shows others what music you are into, the artists you are following, etc.
The benefits of Using iTunes Ping for Music Discovery?
The most obvious benefit of using Ping is for music discovery. It is generally accepted that finding music you like is a far quicker and easier process if you utilize some kind of social music networking platform. Looking at songs and artists that other people have recommended (by word of mouth) for example gives you a far better idea than if you randomly pick content. Because social networking is a two way process, you can also tell other music fans about what you have discovered -- even comment or review your latest purchases so that others can learn about your thoughts. iTunes Ping can also be used to connect to your Twitter account (if you have one), allowing you to extend your music discovery boundaries.