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Beatnik is a programming language developed for the Beatnik Audio Engine technology in the late 1990s to early 2000s. The Beatnik Audio Engine used MIDI-like synthesis and sample playback capabilities to create interactive audio for web pages, animations, and games. The Beatnik code was written using a C-like syntax that could be embedded in web pages through JavaScript or Java applets. While it offered advanced audio processing by standards of its time, with support for sequencing, filters, effects manipulation, and real-time streaming of compressed audio over low-bandwidth connections, its complexity led to slow adoption among developers who preferred more lightweight solutions like Flash at the time. Ultimately Beatnik couldn't compete with emerging web standards that natively supported multimedia without requiring proprietary plugins or technologies like HTML5's <audio> tag and Web Audio API.

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