(update: please click HERE for new information regarding Ping. Contrary to initial reports of Ping being available to artists by “invitation only,” they are now accepting profile requests from major label and indie artists alike.)

On September 1st, Apple announced they were launching a new social network called Ping, which is integrated into their somewhat ubiquitous iTunes player. Ping allows for music fans and artists to interact and share details about their listening habits. This is another great way for musicians to market themselves, share content, display concert info, and boost sales (artist profiles link to iTunes artist pages). Unfortunately, Apple is currently only allowing artists to start profiles by “invitation only,” though anyone with an iTunes account is welcome to start a user profile. CD Baby is currently in talks with iTunes about the opening of this network to the indie music community.  We’ll keep you posted!

Features According to Apple’s Website:

  • “Follow your favorite artists with a click and become part of their inner circle.”
  • “Get in on the action with artist photos and status updates. Even add comments to join the conversation.”
  • “Find out what music an artist likes and pick up a few recommendations.”
  • “Ping is built into the iTunes app on iPhone and iPod touch. So you can see artist updates from anywhere.”

Granted, it has only been around for a day, but Ping does still have a few big obstacles to deal with before it becomes a runaway smash hit. The two big oversights thus far are that Ping has no Facebook integration or friend-importing function. Check out this article from All Facebook for more more info on Ping’s weaknesses. Steve Jobs has said already that Facebook integration is not out of the question, but it would require more favorable terms.

It is tough right now to gauge Ping’s impact on the music world, but the next few weeks will be telling. Do you have thoughts, opinions, or knowledge to share on Apple’s latest unveiling? Feel free to comment below.

-Chris R. at CD Baby