SAN FRANCISCO (03/21/2000) - Shockwave.com Inc. has introduced two new streaming music applications and launched a redesign of its Web site to lure visitors with its interactive entertainment.
The front door of Shockwave.com now employs a living room theme, an attempt to make the site friendlier and easier to navigate. You can choose a look for the room, selecting among motifs as diverse as desert and space. The site dynamically changes its images to match the time of day.
"We've gone with a physical metaphor for users who are not Net-savvy," says Rob Burgess, chief executive officer of Shockwave.com. "For advanced users, we've made all the content on the site available in just two clicks."
Joining content offerings like electronic greeting cards and downloadable games are MixMakers, which let you remix pop music distributed on the site. The application is a joint venture between Shockwave.com and Beatnik, which provides the streaming audio.
Also new are Shockwave Singles, a combination of streaming visuals and MP3 audio compression. A new Beck Single, called "Nicotine and Gravy," is the first to appear on the site.
The site scales its content to meet the bandwidth demands of both broadband and dial-up users. The applications often download most of their content to your hard drive before playing, avoiding the interruptions often experienced with other streaming media. Of course, the process delays the start of your music and images.
Those slugging along with modems will see sharp images and hear clear sound--but not immediately. The Beck Single took more than 5 minutes to pull down over a 56-kilobits-per-second connection. But Shockwave won't abandon the slower downloads.
"Low bandwidth will be with us forever," says Burgess, citing the growing adoption of wireless Net devices. "We'll have a broad set of offerings for varying performance and bandwidth for the foreseeable future. We're concentrating on a wide range."