[This article was initially posted on Tight Mix]
In addition to music, I also like to read up on technology (the two have always been closely related), so I subscribe to several tech-related RSS feeds. I have been loosely following the feud between Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs and Adobe, the creator of the popular “Flash” web plug-in. Steve’s passionate hatred of Flash kind of intrigued me. Apparently, there is a new version of HTML (the main language used to code the Internet) that may rid Internet of those web plug-ins (like Flash) that you are annoyingly forced to download (and that public computers never seem to have) in order to view certain websites. There is currently a working subset of the code that is already in use, most notably by popular video sites YouTube and Vimeo. Should companies in the music industry that use Flash to create their websites and widgets be concerned?
People like to jibber jabber, and lots of bloggers were extremely quick to revere HTML5 as the replacement of Flash, and “the future.” Although dramatic, are they right? Well, effing DUH – HTML5 is only around in a limited, subset form right now. So it is probably safe to assume that yes, a full version will emerge eventually, and at a time that isn’t the past or present. Thanks for that, guys. As far as being a replacement for popular plug-ins like Flash and Java, however…this is still kind of unclear. The W3C and browser vendors (ehem, Internet Explorer) are extremely slow to change, and it’s been predicted that the W3C won’t even consider THINKING ABOUT revising HTML to its fifth version until 2012. So that makes me think that Flash will be safe, for now. I think.
I am a huge fan of Fairtilizer’s Flash-based music player widgets. Their unique visualization is trendy as hell, and they’re ridiculously easy to use.
Should us industry dudes/dudettes care? Should music fans care? Should companies in the music industry that create Flash-based widgets be worried, and consider the HTML5 route? Personally, I think that Flash still has at least another decade of shelf life, and that music radio giants like Pandora & Last.fm shouldn’t be worried yet – just aware of what’s going on, and actively experimenting with the new technology.