Apple Tries To Marry Music Recommendation And Retail, But No Streaming

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Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is trying to close the loop between music discovery and iTunes Store’s music purchasing, by injecting a brand new social network in to iTunes itself.

Integrated into new iTunes 10 and into the iTunes Store app on iOS, “Ping” lets users “follow” friends to see what they’re downloading from the store, which concerts they’re attending and what opinions they are posting about songs.

Plus, users can “follow” artists, who will be able to list their own favoured tracks, post concert listings, photos and videos for fans. The gig info comes from Live Nation.

These kinds of features are already on offer in a range of existing websites, including Last.fm (for listening habits and concert attendances), Songkick (for concert sharing), Spotify (for social sharing and playback) and MySpace (NSDQ: NWS) (for following artists and for playback itself). Spotify only launched its social features in April, using Facebook’s membership graph, after reluctance since its launch.

But iTunes is the most popular music player out there, and iTunes Store is now by far the largest music retailer there is, with over a quarter of U.S. sales. Each of these rival, fragmented services should be concerned at the prospect of unifying their discovery feature sets together with music…Read the full story at Paidcontent.co.uk

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