[Update December 13, 2010 - I was asked to condense all my tribulations with Apple and Ping into one long article that is now posted on Michael Brandvold’s great Music Marketing site, here.]
After all I went through previously, a few days ago I got official approval from Apple for a profile for Jimmy Z, the independent musician I help with marketing & social media. The email had the subject – Your Artist Profile on Ping is waiting for you.
Summary – The process is simple. The only glitch I found so far has to do with text handling of the bio area. There are no hints on how to customize and add shows. I have written to Apple for further guidance. Jury is still out on usefulness, especially since there is no access from iPhones and no way to group videos together.
The steps and more follow…
I feel like I should print it out, frame it, and post it on the wall – but that feeling quickly passed.
Their first suggestion was to create a separate Apple ID for the profile, so it would not be confused with my own. In a follow-up email I asked how could other people share administration of the profile and they said
“Presently, the only way to have multiple people access the account is to share this Apple ID and password, which is why you will want to make it dedicated to the artist.”
I created a new Apple ID and clicked the link in the approval email:
A confirmation screen followed:
No surprise – a Terms & Conditions Agreement was next:
This is one of the few online agreements I actually read. Nothing onerous or surprising in it. I liked the fact you could email it to yourself.
The Create Artist Profile screen appeared:
I selected Group from the You Are pop-up:
When I clicked the Add Photo button, the iChat image chooser appeared. I browsed and chose Jimmy’s standard head shot:
The About section is limited to 2000 characters, only it was not obvious to me until I had cut and pasted in Jimmy’s standard bio:
I was working on my Powerbook and did not notice that the bottom of the About section had the limit indicated:
I finally got the bio to the correct length, but discovered a glitch – it does not handle carriage returns consistently. More on that later.
Continuing to the My Favorite Music section, I chose one of Jimmy’s influences, the harmonica great – Little Walter (I need to get a longer list from him to complete it), and selected the genre categories:
Shortly after, I received the following message:
Before beginning to post, I wanted to check how things looked to others. I wanted to first see how the bio appeared – it did not handle carriage returns well. Though I edited a few times a few ways, it did not change:
Since there are no guidelines, trial and error will have to suffice to attempt to fix this.
Next, I wanted to try the three kinds of posts offered – Photo, Video & Music.
For Photo, I wrote a message about an upcoming gig and added the ZTribe Jaguar symbol – all straight forward (I’d normally add more text, but I simply wanted to see what happened). The results did not appear immediately as the photo needed to be processed. An email was sent when it was completed (5 minutes or so):
Hi Jimmy Z and the ZTribe, You recently uploaded a photo and it has finished processing. To view your upload, go to: http://ax.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtistProfile?socialId=xxxxxxThanks, iTunes Ping
For Video, I write a bit of text an uploaded a Flash video of Jimmy playing Missionary Man with the Eurythmics live in 1986, just to see if a Flash video would show up – being aware of Apple’s anti-Flash position. I clicked Video and immediately it asked me to select the video and then uploaded it:
Like with the photo, it had to process it and sent an email when completed (10 minutes or so). When you play it, it opens a separate area:
Of course, the whole purpose of having a social network in iTunes is ultimately to sell more product. When I chose Music I found I could insert music or a music video:
Presuming the music or music video is on iTunes to being with, I searched for the original music video of the Eurythmics Missionary Man. It came up with 2 selections (both appeared identical):
Since the video is on iTunes, once I clicked Post, it appeared immediately. Note that my screen capture was prevented from showing a video still.
I wanted to see how the Pros did their profiles, so I looked at Jack Johnson’s – what a difference:
I have written to Apple about how I can customize the background color and add Jimmy’s shows.
Note: It took at least 4 hours before the profile was active and be able to be found via searches.
Conclusion – It was all easy once I got the account approved. I still do not know how Ping will survive as it is currently worse than MySpace Lite would be, especially with no iPhone support.
I’ll be posting a number of videos to the account and moving ahead to try and get Jimmy’s current fans to come on board.
More to come, I’m sure… But with no interactivity, I do not have any idea how useful Ping will be.
Update December 13, 2010 – I was asked to condense all my tribulations with Apple and Ping into one long article that is now posted on Michael Brandvold’s great Music Marketing site, here.
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