Does Apple Even Want to Build a Social Network?

As it stands now, Ping is explicitly about selling music on the iTunes store. And while the new service is making us wonder whether Apple could build a viable social network, perhaps the real question is, “Does Apple want to build a real social network?”

Ping: A Social Network Inside a Walled Garden

Whether by design or accident, Ping’s lack of integration with other social networks, or even with the web itself, is now its most compelling feature — at least from a strategic perspective. It’s essentially an e-commerce platform for music disguised as a social network.

As Always, Mobile Music Faces Uncertain Future

Mobile music has long failed to gain traction despite a tremendous amount of hype, but recent announcements about cloud-based services have reinvigorated the space. But as carriers and record labels should know, the only certainty in mobile music is that old business models don’t apply.

Hands On with mSpot, an iTunes in the Cloud

mSpot, a new music streaming service for your own audio collection, recently launched on Android 2.0 or better devices. Thanks to local caching, mSpot offers playback even when your phone has no data connection. But seamless on or offline playback is hurt by one main issue.

Pandora Raises Funding From GGV Capital and Allen & Co.

Pandora, the music streaming provider and Silicon Valley darling, has raised additional late-stage funding of an undisclosed amount. Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy said in an emailed statement the funding would be used “to invest in resources we need to continue to execute on our strategy.”

Lala to Go the Way of the Dodo

Sorry, “web song” buyers: Lala.com now says its service will be shut down on May 31. Whatever Apple is planning to do with Lala, the cloud-based streaming music service it acquired in December, it’s not going to keep the site functioning as it once did.