Apple's music site gets tweeting

Image caption,
Apple is hoping Twitter deal will give Ping a social push

Apple's social music site Ping has partnered with popular micro-blogging site Twitter as a way to let users discover more music.

The move comes after Apple failed to strike a deal with the world's largest social network Facebook.

Ping, which works within iTunes, was unveiled in September as a way to let users follow artists and recommend songs to their circle of friends.

Industry watchers said the deal would provide a much-needed boost for Ping.

Ping friends

"This is something a lot of people were looking for to set Ping on the road to being truly social," Mike McGuire, principal analyst with Gartner research told BBC News.

"Mostly for Apple this is yet another way to put a potential iTunes transaction in front of more people. They are always looking for new ways to keep the existing buyers buying and for new buyers coming in.

That is what this is about but it's going to depend on how many existing iTunes users turn Ping on and start using it regularly."

Most of the popular digital music services have social aspects but now many are looking to move this a step forward, with commercial deals with the likes of Facebook.

At the launch of Ping, Steve Jobs told the news blog AllThingsDigital that Apple had been talking to Facebook but could not come to an agreement because the site's conditions were "too onerous".

On its company blog Twitter said its "users send over 95 million Tweets a day, many of which are about the music they are listening to."

The new link-up means that posts and reviews in Ping will be tweeted on a users' Twitter feed with links to the music on iTunes.

These tweets will in turn expand to allow users to play a preview of a song or link to iTunes to buy it.

The catch is that to find your Twitter friends through Ping they have to be signed up to the service.

David Sarno of the LA Times said this deal has the potential to make Ping a more compelling product.

"Apple is doubtless hoping Twitter will help with Ping's problem of making friends.

"Since Ping debuted, it's been thanklessly tedious to invite friends to the service: users have to manually enter friends' e-mail addresses - one by one - or search for individual names."

Matthew Ingram of news blog GigaOm said "It gives iTunes much more reach outside the Apple community, and sharing links that go directly to iTunes is smart."

Not everyone saw the collaboration as a positive move.

"Tweeting music previews from Ping? That is not very interesting," said Marshal Kirkpatrick of news site ReadWriteWeb.

"Now you can push iTunes ads into your friends' Twitter stream from inside a social network no one uses. That's not exciting, it's depressing.

"The long and the short of it is this: the user experience is unappealing and it's totally focused on commerce not community."

Financial details of the deal were not revealed.

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