What if you don’t have Ping

Apple made some great announcements on September 1, among them the iTunes 10. Though everyone was quick to download the new version, it suddenly dawned while the user interface improvements and a new tricks were there, the new social network for music, called Ping, was missing from the iTunes in India, as it needs access to the iTunes stores. Those of us who got access to iTunes stores had access to Ping, but with mixed feelings for those who didn’t.

For those of you wondering if you need to upgrade and download the latest edition, you don’t have to rush. Right now the only two features available in India are the simpler Sync, again more of a user interface improvement than anything else, and a feature called AirPlay which allows you to play any media in your library to enabled devices, which are yet to hit Indian markets.

If you want your friends to know what music you are listening to, who your favourite artiste is and what you think of their latest album, there are simpler ways of doing this, even if you do not have Ping.

To do this, you can go to www.last.fm and open a free account. The application does what it likes to call scrobbling and listen into what you are listening to and what kind of listening preferences you have. Depending on this it will do one of the following:

* Show you more information on the track that you are listening to, and the album, and let you buy the album from Amazon.com or other online portals the CDs is available on.

* Show you similar artistes.

* Show the top listeners on last.fm who have a similar taste as yours, and help you make friends.

* Let you listen in to tracks from similar artistes in your social neighbourhood.

* Mark your songs as loved or banned, so that they don’t get played again.

Sometimes artistes and companies work with last.fm to offer you free downloads of music, and if you hit their portal, you will also get an option to download a few mp3s.

I tried artistes varying from Frank Sinatra, A R Rahman, Shreya Ghoshal to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Alam Lohar and it was not only able to pull out the right information, but even suggest that since I loved Alam Lohar’s music, I would like Kartar Ramla and Sukhwant Kaur, adding another dimension to my music.

So if you are worried about not getting Ping, get yourself a free account with last.fm, download the scrobbler, and enjoy music, like never before.

The above article appeared in the Indian Express, on Sunday 12th September 2010