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Can Apple Fix Ping?

Apple's new music social network got off to a bumpy start this year. The company couldn't work out a deal to add Facebook Connect; it kept record labels out of the mix; created odd guidelines for members; and at last count, had just over 2,000 artists on the network.

But Apple has been working to correct its mistakes.

In the past months, the company has better integrated Ping with iTunes. It hashed out a deal with Twitter to port followers and activity between the networks. And yesterday it introduced new features including social playlists, a tool that enables friends to collaborate on, share, and publish music playlists on Ping.

So why haven't you joined the network? And more importantly, what could Apple do to improve the service?

Apple has lost a lot of opportunity to create a fun place to socially share one's music and tastes. On Ping, you can essentially share two types of music: the songs you "Like" and the songs you've purchased. (Those songs start out as one and the same, as Apple automatically updates your "Music I Like" section with purchases from iTunes.)

Noticeably absent from these sharing options: Music I'm Listening to, in real-time. Apple's iChat IM client is already capable of broadcasting this information as your status message. Wouldn't it be fun to see what your friends and favorite artists are listening to at this moment, all in one place? That might give them more reason to opt in. How do you think Apple can fix its struggling network?

Follow Austin Carr on Twitter.

[Image by NASA]

[Image by Andrew Hur]