Has Ping’s Falter Made Way for Google Music?

Ping, Ping, Ping. Although it would be a long-shot to say that Apple’s lost its pristine polish, it has taken a few hits in 2010. Case-in-point, the devastatingly awful social music service, Ping. I’ve already written at length about what exactly is wrong with Ping (in a recent poll, voters actually preferred MySpace to Ping), but that was just the beginning. With Ping’s falter, the market is wide open for a new player to enter and reign. A new player from this tiny, little company called Google – probably nothing to worry about.

So, Google, show us what you’ve got! Google Music, or whatever it might be called, is expected to launch by Christmas. Rumors state that not only will listeners be able to host music in the cloud via a $25-per-year subscription, but they will also be able to download songs. This is exciting because not only is Google aiming at Ping, but perhaps iTunes at large (oh, you though iTunes was infallible?)! Google Music would of course be incorporating the social side of the network as well, by allowing listeners to share playlists with friends and exchange messages and music suggestions.

So, iTunes aside, what could possibly go wrong for Google? Well, first of all, just because a service is Google-backed does not make it an automatic K.O. (RIP Wave, 2010). Second of all, let us not ignore the fact that this market – online music and social music – is beyond saturated. There’s Pandora, Last.fm, Bandcamp, Purevolume, MySpace, Facebook (yes, it does have music pages), MOG, Hype Machine, Shuffler, Spotify – and hey, did you notice I still haven’t even name-dropped the number one and two destinations for music online yet?

It will be increasingly difficult for Google to carve out a niche in this space, especially as many music heads, myself included, have already developed deep music libraries, and even deeper brand loyalties, to their favorite music service online. That said, if anyone can do it, it’s Google. They have the resources. They have the social savvy that perhaps Apple lacked. They have the iP – oh wait, nevermind. Let the social music wars begin!

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