Beatport have announced a beta programme for their new non-Flash site. Many people have complained (including myself) that the Flash interface is clunky and resource hungry. This is particularly true for OS X users who have long suffered from battery drain, excess heat and CPU wasting.
The company have decided to go down the Google route of dishing out limited invites to allow for a slow ramp up of usage, with each new invite coming with two more to dish out.
Why is this good?
The old interface relies on a closed plugin created by Adobe (Macromedia originally, for you lot too young to remember). This makes it a nightmare for accessibility and pretty much excludes smartphone access. The site can also be slow to load and it is a lot harder to share a link to a track, release, artist or label page.
But there’s a mobile site!
Yes, but functionality is not nearly as intuitive, and frankly, listening to clips is a nightmare. The iPhone has an app for that, but with Android and other mobile OSes creeping up the usage stats, unifying the experience between desktop and mobile makes sense for everyone.
Is it any good?
Let’s hope so! I’m not sure how many people have access, but I’m sure we will hear soon enough.
What if I like the Flash site?
Good news then! Beatport have said they will keep both running indefinitely (or until people are used to the new one, I reckon).
A little bit of irony that didn’t escape me is that the page announcing the beta is filled with Flash videos from Youtube. Coinkydink or an inside joke? The site is meant to go live “Spring 2011″ according to the site. I guess that depends on how the testing goes.