When I first heard the news today that Apple was unveiling a social network today called Ping, a new addition and feature set that’s part of iTunes 10, I was immediately wondering what partners the company was bringing on to support the tour dates part of their new Artist Pages. Among other things like showing favorite songs, recent status updates and samples of music, every artist in their database will have a “Follow” ability and a set of tour dates accompanying their profiles. All of this is going to be powered by the people that actually control most of the ticket market, Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

This was part of the press release that hit the wire soon after the new product was revealed during today’s Apple keynote…

Following up on comments made at today’s Apple event regarding concert information on iTunes, Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. stated: “We are thrilled to power the concert listings feature on iTunes and deliver this new and simple way for millions of iTunes users to purchase concert tickets at Livenation.com and Ticketmaster.com. Our partnership with Apple is a key part of our strategy to empower fans with the greatest access to live entertainment.”

Based on what Steve Jobs said during the keynote, there will be some level of built-in social integration on what concerts you’re going to see which will automatically notify your friends when you’ve added that event to your calendar. Granted, this can work okay at times within a network that everybody already interacts on like Facebook or Twitter, but there are chances to capitalize on that market with closer and more direct relationships with the folks that control what tickets are sold in the US (not to mention the record companies, as well). Apple could really do something cool with this, but like every social network it’s going to really depend on where the crowd is at. They have a bit of a headstart with about 160 million iTunes accounts already, so….yeah…other music social networks just got a strong sign that they need to raise the bar immediately.

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