Hang on, Ping? Wasn’t that an Apple thing?
Yes, and it was rubbish. Fortunately, this isn’t iTunes Ping but PingTune and is by some clever British people, not Apple; even more fortunately, it’s not rubbish.
OK, so what does PingTune do?
Post sign-up (a process that takes seconds), you use your iPhone (or, soon, Android device) to search for music by typing in whatever keywords you fancy. You then get a bunch of results from YouTube and SoundCloud that you can share. But that’s not the really good bit!
So what’s the really good bit?
Rather than simply firing a link at someone, you can add a message and also edit the track to the bit you really want them to hear, thereby firing the most magical part of the song directly into their ears. Well, in theory.
More after the break...
We’ve found that it doesn’t always work. If everyone’s in the app itself, edits work fine, but if your pals and chums haven’t yet signed up, they’ll get a web link to a bespoke playback page, which is a bit of a lottery.
In our tests, it worked on the iPhone, played an entire track (not just the edit) in Chrome for Mac, but sat there doing nothing in Chrome for Android. We’re cheerily chalking this up to teething problems and mostly getting on with sending Stuff.tv’s editor an infinite number of Wire clips. That’s what’s most important after all.
Any other teething problems?
It’s otherwise a pretty solid (and very good-looking) app. The search sometimes doesn’t return precisely what you want and unfortunately appears to be finite — there’s no ‘lazy load’ to grab more results when you scroll to the end of the list. Also, as already noted, it does tend to fare better when people you know have signed up.
Still, being a newcomer to the crowded world of media-sharing and social networking, PingTune wisely enables you to send sharing links via Facebook, Twitter and SMS, even if it currently does so imperfectly.
And what about the bands – what do they get out of it?
Exposure, primarily. It might even encourage more of them to put some music up on the excellent SoundCloud, or officially on YouTube. (Let’s face it – the entire world’s ‘helpfully’ putting up most new albums these days very unofficially on YouTube, to the point it’s now the most popular way of accessing free music among US teens.)
Sounds good, but I fail to see how a niche messaging service can exist in a world of giants like Facebook and Twitter.
We’ll be sure to let Snapchat know.