Whether you’re listening to a concerto at Carnegie Hall or a jam session at the House of Blues, the best way to experience music is live and loud. But for those times when you’re stuck in front of your computer at work, you can at least log on and tune in to the first visual radio station at http://www.flashradio.com.
FlashRadio features continuous loops of different kinds of music, just like the armrest radio programming on airplanes. These selections, however, are targeted to hipsters: The genres represented are alternative, pop, rock, electronic, remix, freestyle and hip hop.
Listeners can continue working while playing the music, or they may choose to watch the Op-Art inspired animated graphics and cartoons that accompany each selection. All that’s needed is the latest version of Navigator or Internet Explorer, a RealPlayer and Flash plug-ins. Both the player and the plug-ins can be downloaded free from the site. Once fans arrive at FlashRadio, they can click on the SonicNet link ( http://www.sonicnet.com) and make their way to iographies, discographies, music news, reviews, audio clips, chats and cybercasts.
FlashRadio is a partnership between SonicNet Inc., the self-proclaimed largest music network on the Web, and Macromedia Inc., the developer of multimedia Web tools that is also responsible for the technology generating the animated images. The site debuted in October 1998 and was relaunched this past spring with more music and additional content. With any luck, it will be upgraded again with better graphics and a more compelling user interface; of course, staring at your screen, regardless of how it pulses and flashes, is not as entertaining as seeing bands live. But at least you don’t have to pay a cover charge.