Slacker (music service)
Type of site
|Available in||English Only|
|Registration||Optional (Limited Plays), Free|
|Launched||March 15, 2007|
Slacker Radio is an online music streaming service available in the US and Canada. Listeners can access the service on the web and through mobile apps on multiple smartphones. It allows users to create and share customized music stations. Slacker allows users to customize one of their programmed stations (for instance, Today's Hits) or start with music similar to an artist or song, and then customize that.
As of August 2015, Slacker has more than 300 expert-curated music stations.
The company was founded in 2004 by Celite Milbrandt and Dennis Mudd who launched the company in March 2007. Dennis was the former CEO of MusicMatch, which was purchased by Yahoo Music and became known as Yahoo! Music Radio. The current CEO is Duncan Orrell-Jones, formerly of Nintendo of America and Disney Interactive Media Group, Asia Pacific.
In September 2007, the service finalized its deals with four major labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI, Universal, and Warner; it also announced deals with thousands of Indie labels.
In 2008, Slacker released the Slacker Portable Player, available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities. On January 9, 2008, the Slacker Portable Player received Laptop Magazine's Best of CES Portable Audio/Video Player Award. On September 16, 2008, Slacker released a new portable player called Slacker G2. Slacker consumer electronics, including the G2 Personal Radio Player, have since been discontinued in favor of an emphasis on smartphones and other mobile applications. In April 2008, the company announced agreements with top music publishers, including EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell Music. These agreements, signed before the Slacker Portable Player (since retired) launched, allowed Portable Player users to listen to cached Internet radio stations and premium radio users to save songs for later playback.
On 13 February 2013, Slacker retired its original look and logo in favor of a new, streamlined design and a simplified logo, now colored orange (as opposed to the black, white and gold colors of the old logo). On 14 December 2014, a redesign and relaunch incorporated a new logo, a red, white, and black color scheme, and a complete UI overhaul for all platforms.
Slacker offers traditional genre, specialty, and artist stations pre-programmed by professional DJs while also letting users build entire stations of specific artists. Slacker users can continue to develop any of these stations by rating favorite songs and banning artists or songs. Stations can also be adjusted to play older or newer music, more hits or more eclectic music. When a user inputs the name of a specific band or artist Slacker will instantly create a station based on that musician along with similar artists. This feature allows users to discover new artists similar to the ones they already like. Users can also create their own stations by inputting artists they like. The rest of the station is automatically populated with similar songs and artists. Pre-programmed themed stations (holidays, music festivals, and artists) are also available.
In July 2010, Slacker added the ABC News station, with an option to include headline news for top-of-the-hour updates on any Slacker Radio station. In late summer 2011, ESPN channels were also added.
The free Slacker Basic Radio user account is an advertisement-supported service. It allows registered users to have free access to basic features, and works on all Flash-enabled web browsers. Ads last thirty-to-sixty seconds and occur every four-to-five songs.
In addition to its free, ad-supported service, Slacker offers additional levels of subscription service:
- Slacker Radio Plus adds station caching to multiple mobile phones, unlimited skips and song requests, no audio or banner advertisements, full lyrics, and the ability to turn off DJs on stations.
- Slacker Radio Premium has all the features of the Plus tier (only allows station caching on one device), adding the ability to create playlists and play selected songs on demand, similar to a traditional MP3 player. This tier was added in May 2011.
Slacker mobile apps work with the free Slacker Basic Radio service and Slacker Radio subscription services on iPhone, iPod touch, WebOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile 6.x & Windows Phone 7.x/8.x smartphone platforms, and Windows 8.x/RT. The applications provide playback from 3G or WiFi connections. Features such as station creation, recently played stations, fine-tune options, artist biographies, photos, album art, reviews, station caching and lyrics (for Slacker Radio Plus or Premium subscribers) are available on the mobile applications as well. Slacker access is build into the music app of the Tesla Model S and X vehicles in the US including an ad free Slacker account at no charge.
Slacker has provided its listeners and all music fans with the opportunity to connect via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to further promote music discovery.
Twitter users can log into Slacker and select the option to automatically or manually alert their friends and followers about the following:
- Station changes/plays
- Favorite song
- Banned song
- Banned artist
Facebook users can find Slacker Radio on Facebook and become a fan to get music news and learn about new features, promotions, and contests.
- 'Slacker' Music Service Combines Player, Recommendations
- Slacker Introduces Personalized Radio Everywhere-Free Beta Service Unveiled Today
- Slacker's CEO isn't one
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- Slacker Music Service Signs Deals with All Major Labels, Thousands of Indies
- Slacker Music Service Launches Portable Player
- Best of CES 2008
- An alternative to the iPod, plus free music
- Slacker Ditches G2 Device in Favor of New Mobile Strategy
- Slacker Announces Major Publishing Agreements
- ABC News' Press Room announces: Slacker Radio Links With ABC News
- Slacker Radio Adds Twitter Functionality To Give Music Fans A New Method To Share Lady Gaga Songs