If the new Ping sidebar that was launched today as a part of iTunes 10.0.1 looks familiar, perhaps it's because you've been using the iLike Sidebar - an iTunes (and Windows Media Player) plug-in that does pretty much the same thing. We know at least one person finds the two very similar: Ali Partovi, the co-founder of iLike.
“I just hope Apple also copies iLike's mission of democratizing music by empowering artists, especially the little guys. With Ping's restrictions so far on artist signup, the major labels are the winners, not artists, and that breaks my heart,” Partovi told us today when asked about Ping's newest feature.
For all the criticisms of Ping so far, this is one of the most troubling. The service is dominated by big-name artists from huge labels. That's finally starting to change, but slowly.
When I talked to Apple about the issue around the time that Ping launched, the acknowledged that it might be a while before they had a system in place to make it easy for all artists to use Ping to connect with fans. But they were working on it, they said.
Partovi, who has since left iLike following the acquisition by MySpace, clearly wants to get in the “we were there first” jab, but also definitely cares about these smaller artists who are being largely overlooked so far with Ping. Regardless of features, hopefully Apple does copy that.