Fixing Apple's Ping to Make Us Happy AND Generate Revenue
Music is a social experience
Music is an inherently social experience. We talk about it, and form interest groups based on genres or artists. We love to tell others about songs we're obsessed with, artists we're going to see in concert and obscure remixes that only the "cool kids" know about. It's a highly shareable experience. This is apparent as people have opted to share everything they are listening to on Facebook via Spotify.
So if music is such a social experience, why can't Apple make Ping the least bit interesting?
The Wrong Approach
Let's be honest...no one is clamoring for ANOTHER social network to participate in; that includes musicians. So when Apple released Ping, everyone let out a collective sigh and muttered "so what?" The reason is that there was no clear value statement, particularly for the user. We can already connect with our favorite artists on Twitter and we can access them from 100's of Twitter apps, the web, iPads and Android devices. That means artists get a dramatically greater reach by participating on Twitter than Ping. To be fair, social isn't Apple's strength. If they were to create a secrecy network they'd probably nail it, but it'd be awfully quiet.
The Right Approach
Give us a good reason to use Ping. What is a good reason? Free music? Money? iTunes store gift cards? Now we're talking.
Rather than build a social network, Apple should be building on top of existing social networks. Apple doesn't need to build a network for people to share music, that's taking on two challenges instead of one.
And this isn't just me, people have by and large rejected Ping.
Here's the Gameplan
I won't bore you with a grandiose build up, here's the plan.
1. The Affiliate Model
Give users a cut of every sale that is a result of their sharing.
What does Apple want? To sell more music and sell more hardware. Want to increase the amount of music people buy? Reward them for selling it. Part of everyone's complaint with the music business is that some white haired fool who can't spell MP3 is making decisions about how music is sold and reaping huge profits off of the artist's work all the while unknowingly encouraging piracy and contributing to declining music sales. If we were to begin seeing people, normal people, that purchase music as the ones who profit, we might see more legitimate music sales.Continued on the next page