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Thursday, December 02, 2010, 07:55 am PT (10:55 am ET)

Apple pushes Ping with exclusive Michael Jackson song

In a new promotional effort to generate interest for its iTunes Ping music social networking service, Apple has landed an exclusive track from the late pop star Michael Jackson.

The song, from the forthcoming album "Michael," is called "Much Too Soon." The world premiere of the track is available exclusively on Ping, a new social networking service from Apple that allows users to connect with artists and share their iTunes purchasing activities.

The newly released song from the "King of Pop" can be streamed within iTunes by accessing Ping, and navigating to the official Michael Jackson account. It's also a new way for Apple to promote Ping, which garnered over a million users in its first 48 hours, though Apple has not provided an update on the number of accounts since.

The new song from the late artist was written at the time Jackson was working on "Thriller," released in 1982, which went on to become the best-selling album of all time.

"Michael always liked the song but never found the right home for it; here it finds its place as the bittersweet closing to the stellar collection," the official Ping account for Jackson reads. "This song was written by Michael Jackson and produced by Michael Jackson and John McClain. David Campbell is featured on the strings."

The album "Michael" features new songs from the late artist. The complete collection of 10 tracks, featuring artists 50 Cent, Akon and Lenny Kravitz, will be released on Dec. 14.

Ping


Apple's exclusive Michael Jackson track marks the second major content deal the company has secured in less than a month. In November, Apple began selling the entire catalog of The Beatles through iTunes, the only digital service with the rights to the band's music. Sales of Beatles albums topped 450,000 in the first week.

Ping was launched with the new iTunes 10 in September. The product is based on discovery, allowing users to see what their friends are listening to and what concerts they're going to.

In November, Apple and Twitter announced a strategic alliance that allows users to share music discoveries with their friends through Twitter. Users can advertise their Ping activity, with song previews and links to purchase and download music from the iTunes Store, on their Twitter account.