Above Avalon Podcast Episode 147: A Faster Bumper Car

In episode 147, we take a look at the changing competitive landscape facing the giants (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft). Comparing the situation to bumper cars, we discuss why Google and Facebook have the slower cars that are no longer able to hide within the traffic. Additional topics include deep dives into three competitive battles in particular: Apple vs. Google, Apple vs. Facebook, and Amazon vs. Facebook vs. Google.

To listen to episode 147, go here

The complete Above Avalon podcast episode archive is available here

My Ping

Apple - this is what I want you to do with Ping:

1) Don’t make Ping into another traditional social network. I already use Facebook. I don’t need another one. 

2) Make Ping all about content discovery.  I am still having an awful time finding new music. Yes, I know you have genius playlists, but a lot of times it is just so impersonal and cold.  I just want to “follow” my favorite music artists and see what projects they are working on, or cool songs that they are recommending. (I don’t care what kind of music my friends are listening to - I use Facebook for this) 

3) Have more music artists debut new songs exclusively on Ping for a day or two.  I really enjoyed listening to the new Michael Jackson songs. It’s an excellent way to let fans listen and buy new music. 

4) Bring Ping to the iOS app store.  I want to “follow” my favorite iOS apps and app developers. Ping could be a great way for app developers to brand themselves. Imagine an app developer having a follower list of 25,000 iOS users on Ping. Talk about easy marketing.  I can already see myself following Angry Birds or Rovio Mobile and seeing what apps they recommend, if they got inspiration from other apps, or if they will be introducing Angry Birds updates. I can’t get this type of stuff from Twitter or Facebook. 

5) Please do all of this in 2011.  If you wait any longer, music artists and other content creators are only going to be strengthening their Twitter and Facebook presences. If I was a content creator, I would give iTunes and Ping (and all of those credit cards attached to Ping profiles) some attention. 


(P.S. Apple - I already know you are doing all of this, but just make believe I am the first one telling you)

Music Wars: Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Myspace vs. Ping

Curious as to how Ping adoption rates were doing, I compared several popular music artists on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and Ping as of 10:45 am December 11, 2010.  I also looked at the number of original updates posted on Friday (December 10) by each music artist.

Justin Bieber

Facebook: 16,672,233 fans (original updates: 7)

Twitter: 6,295,146 (updates: 17) (38% of FB fans)

Myspace: 1,118,446 (blog updates: 1) (7% of FB)

Ping: 0 (updates: 0) (0% of FB) - No Ping page

Lady Gaga

Facebook: 24,578,788 (updates: 1)

Twitter: 7,325,965 (updates: 1)  (30% of FB)

Myspace: 1,420,540 (blog updates: 0) (6% of FB)

Ping: 635,799 (updates: 0) (3% of FB)

Michael Jackson

Facebook: 25,158,445  (updates: 2)

Twitter: 264,761 (updates: 4)  (1% of FB)

Myspace: 1,008,716 (blog updates: 0) (4% of FB)

Ping: 76,826  (updates: 0) (<1% of FB)


Facebook: 8,401,093 (updates: 1)

Twitter: 3,287,929 (updates: 2) (39% of FB) 

Myspace: 665,719 (blog updates 0) (8% of FB)

Ping: 427,010 (updates: 0) (5% of FB)

Atomic Tom  (band playing song using iPhones on NYC subway)

Facebook: 37,799 (updates: 2)

Twitter: 2,674 (updates: 2) (7% of FB)

Myspace: 12,318 (blog updates: 0) (33% of FB)

Ping: 2,447 (updates: 0) (7% of FB)

Quick Observations:  

1) Facebook pages are killing the compeititon. Pages are easy to navigate and include gift shops and song previews. Comment threads are packed.

2) Lady Gaga had the option to buy songs on Facebook through iLike (which has deep partnerships with Myspace and Facebook). 

2) Twitter had around 30% the number of Facebook followers. Smaller bands have much smaller twitter follower lists. Combined, Myspace and Ping had, on average, less than 10% the number of Facebook followers.  Atomic Tom had a much bigger representation on Myspace and Ping compared to Facebook and Twitter.  Will lesser-known artists/independent musicians turn to Ping?

3) Music artists have more fans following their Myspace page compared to their Ping page, but Myspace pages seem very cluttered and slow. 

4) Maintaining four different fan/music pages seems like a difficult task and very redundant. Original updates were minimal across the board with even twitter updates kept to the occasional promotional tweet (not fun to read). 

5) From the music artist’s point of view, which page is most important? Whichever offers the best spot for music fans to interact and buy music.

Facebook is currently the best spot for fans to interact. Besides Lady Gaga having the option to buy music using iLike,  every other artist mentioned in this post relied on Facebook fans going elsewhere to buy their digital music, with iTunes remaining the easiest option.  

Facebook + iTunes integration - watch out.  (Could this be the reason why Apple and Facebook can’t seem to agree on Ping?)

Two articles on the disagreement between Facebook and Apple on Ping:

The New York Times


This post was compiled while streaming Michael Jackson’s new album “Michael” through Facebook.