Apple is shutting down Ping, its social network and music recommendation service in the next iTunes update, according to multiple media reports and confirmed to Billboard.biz by a source close to the situation.
The attempt at a social network by the tech-giant-turned-music-distributor first debuted in September 2010, but the service fell flat and Apple has since changed its social-music strategy.
Ping still exists today in iTunes 10.6.3, but will reportedly be gone in the next release scheduled for this fall. Ping was iTunes' answer to the on-going social music dialog.
The service allowed users to follow and receive updates from artists and friends, but with no Facebook authorization and an over-emphasis on driving purchases, Ping failed to inspire users to generate the activity and community required to build a successful social network.
In a Billboard.biz story last January on why Ping was lagging behind Facebook, Billboard's Glenn Peoples gave three reasons why Apple's social-music initiative wasn't catching on:
"For one it encompasses only a sliver of what a typical social network offers. You can't share a wide variety of items on Ping like you can on Facebook. Second, iTunes added in a social layer without fundamentally changing iTunes to be more social. iTunes users are still within a walled garden (even though they can invite their Facebook friends to join Ping). Thus, it misses what has made Facebook so successful: it's where everybody goes to hang out. Third, Ping captures only part of the online word of mouth involved with digital music. People like to share links to videos, web pages and webcaster channels - none of which need involve iTunes."
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Thanks for the report to HollywoodReporter.com.