Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Apple's Ping Wants Rock ‘n’ Roll, but No Sex and Drugs

Ping may never move beyond the “interesting idea, executed poorly” stage. But it might! And in any case, it’s Apple, so if you’re a music act you ignore it at your own risk.

Which means those acts need to create a “profile” for Steve Jobs’s social network. An Apple (AAPL) document making the rounds (Apple has confirmed its authenticity to me) explains how. You can read the whole thing at the bottom of this post.

Most of it concerns technical specs about things you don’t care about, like video formats. Here’s one part you might be interested in–some of Apple’s edicts regarding the content of artists’ profiles:

  • Videos, photos, and text posts should not contain pornography, hate speech, racism, nudity, or any references to or depictions of drug use.
  • Posts should not include advertisements or links to sites outside of iTunes.
  • Posts should not contain links to other content providers.

The first item is sort of obvious, but still worth noting. Because theoretically, if the Beatles ever do make it to iTunes, they’re going to have a hard time promoting some of their songs. Like this one.

But that rule seems like the kind of thing that Apple can change or ignore at will–just like its “no porn except sometimes” ban in the iTunes app store. And anyway, artists have always found ways to put up with, or ignore, these kinds of restraints.

The rules about not posting to links outside of iTunes are more worrisome. Because it’s telling music acts to ignore the digital assets they’ve painstakingly built up on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and anywhere else on the Web.

Makes sense for Apple, but not for anyone else.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik