music sharing as core functionality for social networking

Ning, the social networking web app for making social networking web apps, has released a module for adding music sharing to your social networking app. It’s very nicely done, and the care they took with it is instructive. Here’s the feature list from their announcement:

Music Player Features

Your social network now comes standard with:

  • One very sweet music player for your network’s Main page and each of your Members’ profile pages. It’s added automatically when you choose Music from the Features page
  • MP3 playback (we’ll be adding support for other file types soon)
  • Upload, edit, and order your tracks right in the player
  • Embed your music player and playlist on any blog or MySpace page.
  • Decide if you want songs to autoplay or not. (It defaults to no autoplay)
  • Upload music and podcasts directly to your network or import them from an URL off your network
  • Share and rate tracks
  • Add tracks from other members’ music players with one click (the Add to Mine button that you’ll see when the person enables it)
  • Display highest rated or most recent tracks from across the network on the Main page. (Feature specific tracks coming soon)
  • Edit track information: track title, artist, artwork (displayed on the player), album name, genre, year, label, artist website, host website (for external tracks), label site, license (including copyright or any of the most popular creative commons options), explicit lyrics flag
  • Choose the option to display MP3 download links to other members
  • Add external hosted playlists via RSS (podcast), XSPF, and M3U.

What is significant about this from my perspective is that it makes music sharing a core feature of any social network. This makes so much sense that I wonder why it took so long to happen — of course groups like a beer can collectors guild would want to be able to share relevant music (like singalongs about cone tops) and talk (like interviews with beverage historians).

(I would paste in their Flash screencast here, but my blog host ( blocks out most third party widgets. So go check out the screencast on

(Full disclosure: I consulted for Ning a couple years ago).