Upon quiting totem i heard a ping. This is from xchat-gnome ( from sound-notification plugin ). Seems that gnome_sound_play is being used to play the sound, which defaults to esd backend !!!
ESD has been superceeded by pulseaudio in most major distribution. I would prefer if we moved to a gstreamer based backend. I did end up re-writting the code to use gstreamer. The ping still did not work when i was playing music via totem.
Digging this further up, it turns out GStreamer support multiple profile for "audiosinks" and gstreamer-properties can only configure the default "audiosink". Grrrrr ! Ended up configuring all "audiosink" to "pulseaudio".
Abra ca daba ! magic with gstreamer. Ping now works as expected and on time.
reference bug : gnome bug #401829 – gstreamer-properties change all types of sinks (musicaudiosink) when changing audiosink