Shockwave.com has introduced two new streaming-music applications and launched a redesign of its Web site to tempt visitors with its interactive entertainment.
The front door of Shockwave.com now employs a living room theme, attempting to make the site more approachable and easier to navigate. The look of the room can be changed to themes ranging from the desert to space. The site changes its images dynamically to match the time of day.
Rob Burgess, CEO of Shockwave.com, said: "We've gone with a physical metaphor for users who are not Net-savvy. For advanced users, we've made all the content on the site available in just two clicks."
New features have been added, including MixMakers. This lets users 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 a hard drive before playing, side-stepping the interruptions often experienced with other streaming media, though at the cost of a delay.
Those slugging along with modems will see sharp images and hear clear sound, but not immediately. The Beck Single takes more than five minutes to download over a 56K connection - but Shockwave.com will not abandon 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."