Muschamp Rd

Apple still struggles with social

September 13th, 2012
Apple logo from 1978

Lost among all the glossy photos of the new iPhone, Apple quietly announce the closure and failure of Ping, their social network targeting music fans. Ping was built into iTunes and thus only accessible when you were using iTunes on your computer or other Apple device.

Apple famously integrated Twitter more tightly into iOS as they see Facebook as a bigger rival, but their continued insistence on a made at Apple social network, definitely seems like paddling upstream near the falls. Well maybe not near the falls, Apple may have achieved too big to fail status. It would be nice if they remembered their loyal fans and customers from back in the day, especially those that are currently unemployed…

iTunes got a make over, but I can’t see much real difference. iTunes Match or iCloud whatever the proper term is for keeping your music in the always available network cloud is now working pretty well. I noticed it is set to auto-renew, but I can disable that feature. Some few tracks couldn’t be uploaded, one example being a track off the Beavis and Butthead album where I removed Beavis and Butthead from the intro or outro, other tracks iTunes Match doesn’t like for unknown reasons. Of more annoyance, some of my smart playlists, particularly those that are recursive, (ie playlists made from other smart playlists) won’t upload either.

On a decent Internet connection playback once started is smooth, but running iTunes and Last.fm slows down the rest of my programs a tiny bit. I’m still not sure every scrap of meta data is getting synced and shared, but I know I still lose play counts when I sync my two older iPods and I lost a bunch of meta data moving my collection around before I new all the tricks, not to mention all the hard drive issues I had with my last laptop.

I’m generally a satisfied Apple customer, but I’m not sure why they keep creating specialized social networks. Game Center is supposedly more successful than Ping, but with all the social networks out there and all the music sites, surely there is one Apple can partner with or acquire. Does it need to be a made at Apple solution, does it have to run WebObjects? If it does like I said I’m available. I’ve even worked with the iTunes Music Store API and a host of other social APIs.

Why can’t you just Tweet the song you are listening to from inside iTunes? You probably still can with the right plugin/addon. This was a feature of Ping. You may still be able to do this from the Apple iTunes Store, but I want an easy way to share a song, maybe I’ll just build one. Going to give this AppleScript a try first. It should be possible to share at least a clip of the song using the iTunes Music Store API. I’ve done something similar on various mashups, such as this one or this one. You can try getting the previews from another API such as the Amazon Product API but that is more problematic in my experience.

I wonder if Tweeting the audio sample from Apple or Amazon is in someway illegal, does it violate the API terms of service?


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