Tag Archives | Internet Radio

At Last, Slacker Gets On-Demand Music (and a Neat iPad App)

Way back in March of 2010, nifty Internet radio service Slacker began demoing features for on-demand listening, putting it more squarely in competition with Rhapsody, Napster, and other all-you-can-eat subscription services. Today, it’s finally launching the service. It’s available in its browser-based version and iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, and BlackBerry versions–and also in a new iPad version.

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iPhone Radio Station Apps Not Welcome Anymore

Apple’s become more relaxed about the iOS App Store recently, with policy revisions and the notable admission of Google Voice for iPhone, but that’s not stopping Apple from rejecting app categories that it simply doesn’t like.

The latest victims are single-station radio players, according to a developer who builds and submits these apps to order. Jim Barcus, owner of DJB Radio Apps, claims that Apple recently rejected 10 of his radio apps, on the grounds that they’re essentially spam and are no different than generic fart apps. He even appealed to Steve Jobs, who reportedly wrote back, “Sorry, but we’ve made our decision.”

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Hands On Slacker 2.0 for iPhone (Caching!)

At long last, Slacker Radio 2.0 for iPhone is nearly here! Of course, the most notable and eagerly anticipated feature is the ability to cache stations for offline playback. Slacker’s updated app was submitted to Apple for review yesterday and, barring any show stoppers, should be available in iTunes in the next day or so.

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Pandora Will Live On, At a Price

pandoraWith the music industry demanding ever-higher royalty rates for online radio, Pandora’s future has been in jeopardy for some time, but now it seems a workable deal has been struck.

The station is “finally on safe ground with a long-term agreement for survivable royalty rates,” Pandora CTO Tom Conrad told TechCrunch today. SoundExchange, which collects royalties for rights holders, agreed to a 40 percent to 50 percent reduction in per-song-per-listener rates in exchange for 25 percent of Pandora’s revenue, through 2015.

Notably, that deal is good for other Internet radio stations, so Last.fm and Slacker could also benefit from the agreement.

Some users will end up paying for this change. Anyone who listens to Pandora for more than 40 hours in a given month — that’s roughly a tenth of the user base, says TechCrunch — will have to pay $0.99 cents to keep listening. The premium Pandora One service won’t be subject to the additional charge.

Given that Pandora can get a little repetitive after extended listening, the 40-hour cap is a small concession to make, and even then, a dollar ain’t much. Besides, my sense from other Pandora users is that they’re so enthralled with the concept that tiny trade-offs don’t bother them. Little reminders to click on the player window and an occasional ad are minor inconveniences, well-traded for a virtual DJ that knows all about your musical preferences.


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Sirius XM Says 1 Million Have Downloaded iPhone App

While Sirius XM may not be having much success keeping customers, it seems to be having a good deal of good fortune attracting listeners through its App Store offering, apparently. In the first two weeks of availability, the Sirius XM application has been downloaded 1 million times.

Sirius XM Premium Online is free to download, however it requires a premium subscription to listen. For current Sirius XM customers, that means a $2.99/month extra fee — for non subscribers, that’s $12.99/month.

Regardless, its now the 7th most downloaded app overall, and #1 in the Music category. Lord knows if people are actually shelling out the $13 bucks for the service (I know I wouldn’t), but it’s a respectable showing.


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Learning to Leave Satellite Radio

iPhone XM RadioI’ve been making noises about the idea of retiring my XM satellite radio receiver, canceling my account, and using my iPhone as an audio device in my car for a while now. The more XM charges and the less I like its programming, the more tempting the idea becomes. Now I’ve finally gone and taken a necessary step: figured out a workable way to pump my iPhone’s audio through my car stereo.

This was surprisingly difficult, which one reason why I’ve dawdled as long as I have. My car is a 2004 Mazda3, dating from an era in which cars didn’t come with iPhone integration and even mundane AUX ports were rare. (I did pay extra for a six-CD changer…which I ended up using maybe four times.) I went through an array of wireless FM transmitters for both my various iPods and my various satellite radios, and even the best ones were staticky hassles. I also spent more than $100 and a considerable amount of time on a fancy-schmancy kit that connected my iPod to my Mazda stereo system–it sounded greated, but caused the iPod to have some sort of digital nervous breakdown that rendered it unusable.

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Like Action? Listen to Police and Fire Scanners

Steve Bass's TechBiteI started to write about ways to glean info in a national disaster. I’ll get to that in another story, because as I dug around, I discovered live scanner feeds. You know the kind–police, fire and rescue, forest service, emergency services — and I wiped out an afternoon glued to the broadcasts.

I listened to the Newcastle, Australia police struggling with a jaywalker and then handling a robbery attempt; later heard the Thurston County, WA police nab a parole violator; and finally downloaded a clip from a recent pursuit of a guy shooting at a Snohomish County, Washington, sheriff deputy.

Fascinating stuff, indeed.

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For-Pay Slacker Radio for Free

slacker-logoThe folks at Slacker, one of my favorite sources of Internet radio, have provided Technologizer with some one-month free trials of their premium Radio Plus service, which doesn’t have ads, lets you skip past an unlimited number of songs, and gives you unlimited ability to request songs. The one-month trial is worth $3.99, and you don’t need to supply a credit card to get it. If you’re interested, contact me via this form before 9am PT on Friday, February 13th and simply tell me you’re interested in free Slacker and give me your e-mail address. I’ll choose nine readers at random and set them up with the service.


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Slacker’s iPhone Music App Gives Pandora a Run For Its Money

slacker-logoSlacker, the nifty personalized online radio service that’s available on the Web and on a dedicated portable player, is making its way onto phones. Last week at CES, the company released a version that runs on most modern BlackBerry phones, and today brought an iPhone edition. I haven’t tried the BlackBerry one yet, but the iPhone one is good. Good enough that it’s lured me from Pandora, everyone’s favorite iPhone music service, for the moment, at least.

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Internet Radio in Your Car

miroamer-logoFor me, the Consumer Electronics Show’s expansive hall of car electronics is usually by far the show’s least interesting quarters–it’s dominated by loudspeakers, in-car DVD players, and other pretty prosaic stuff. But I’m intrigued by Torian Wireless‘s partnership with Blaupunkt to create what Torian says is the world’s first Internet car radio.

MiRoamer

The radio piggybacks on your 3G phone’s Internet connection via Bluetooth and provides access to both Internet stations chosen by Torian for the MiRoamer service and ones you add yourself, if you choose; it also serves as a hands-free calling system. It’s due for release in the second half of this year; the price will be in the $300-$400 range.

I’d want to take the radio for a test spin before forming any firm conclusions about it, and am particularly curious about how seamless the phone-radio connection is. (Me, I leave Bluetooth turned off except when I’m using it; I’d have to remember to switch it back on to make the MiRoamer work.)

Side note: The MiRoamer booth had a large display playing a promotion presentation in a continuous loop. I was confused why it seemed to keep claiming that the radio offered “surpassed sound quality” until I figured out that the video was getting cut off at the edges…

Surpassed Audio Quality


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