With the recent release of iTunes 10, Apple has dipped its foot into the pool that is social media with Ping. Ping allows iTunse users to read up on their favorite musicians, share musical tastes with friends, and more importantly, discover new music. Given the social nature of music, integrating Ping with Facebook would open up a whole world of cool possibilities, and indeed, Apple unsuccessfully attempted to hammer out a deal with Facebook prior to the iTunes 10 announcement. A few weeks back, Steve Jobs explained that Apple was ultimately unable to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with Facebook due to “onerous terms that we could not agree to.”
While this might suggest that negotiations crashed and burned, Dan Frommer of BusinessInsider writes that Apple was actually in serious negotiations with Facebook for 18+ months trying to reach a deal.
While we don’t know the details of their discussions, it makes sense that Apple may have wanted to build Ping as a music-tracking and sales service on top of Facebook’s social graph. This could have allowed Apple to get what it wanted out of the relationship — more iTunes and iPod sales — without having to build a social network from scratch.