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.
Tag Archives | Slacker
Sneak Peek: Slacker's On-Demand Music Service
Tonight at the annual Pepcom holiday event in New York, Slacker will preview its new on-demand music service, a major upgrade to the existing application available on the Web, and on Android, Blackberry, and iOS phones. As long-time Slacker fans here at ZNF, we couldn’t be more excited about the launch. In addition to caching stations and enabling downloads of favorite tracks (available with today’s Slacker premium service), the new on-demand service will let users call up and play specific artists and songs at will. The new genre stations, pre-programmed by Slacker DJs, will provide details on the top station artists and songs, with an option to jump around to those tracks and others at any time. The search function will also provide more information on artists and songs, including what stations they’re programmed on, associated albums, etc. You’ll also be able to sort and play favorites easily, and there will be significantly more functionality for programming your own custom stations from any mobile interface.
Slacker for iPhone Gets Caching
Pandora may be the Web’s best-known personalized radio service, but it’s not the best one. That honor belongs to Slacker, which just upped its game by adding caching to its iPhone app. The new feature lets you download thousands of songs to your iPhone, listen to Slacker’s customized stations when you don’t have an Internet connection, or a reliable one, or you just want to conserve battery life. And as the Slacker folks are pointing out, it may prove especially appealing for folks who sign up for AT&T’s new, not-unlimited-anymore data plans–they can cache music over Wi-Fi, then listen without eating up any wireless data.
(When you tell Slacker to cache, it advises you to do so over 3G only if you’ve got an unlimited data plan–that alert will take on new meaning once there are iPhone users who don’t have unlimited data.)
Missing, at least for now, is the automated night-time caching feature that’s available on Slacker’s Android and BlackBerry versions. Maybe Slacker will add it once iPhone OS 4 is out and it can make the downloading happen in the background.
Dave Zatz liked this feature when he tried it a couple of weeks ago, and I do, too. It’s a point in favor of Slacker’s $4.99 a month Plus service; you can try it out for two weeks for free. After the jump, some screenshots.
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.
Three Things I Want From Sonos
The Sonos S5 ($399) was one of my 2009 boxes of the year. With good reason. Sonos is a sophisticated but easy to implement and easy to operate whole-home audio solution. Featuring content from both our local music collections and various online sources. The S5 broke new ground in the Sonos lineup by integrating rich, powerful speakers into their connected receiver. Sonos is not an inexpensive solution (especially since you won’t stop with just one room), but it’s clearly the best at what it does. Yet, what’s next?
A Sonos email survey I received a few days ago alluded to several interesting expansion possibilities. As I still have a loaner unit on hand, I’ve got a few ideas….
For-Pay Slacker Radio for Free
The 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.
Slacker’s iPhone Music App Gives Pandora a Run For Its Money
Slacker, 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.
Looks Like Pandora Could Stuff Doom Back Into the Box
Don’t declare victory just yet, but Pandora, the really cool, wildly popular online music streaming service, may avoid being driven out of business by dramatically higher licensing fees. The House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Webcaster Settlement Bill, which gives online music services such as Pandora more time to work out a deal with the music industry. It’s now headed for the Senate, where its chances of passing look just fine.
Pandora has done a good job of rallying its legions of fans to support it–I got the following e-mail (after the jump) today from Tim Westergren, the company’s founder:
Slacker G2 Internet Radio Portable: The Technologizer Review
Pandora and Last.FM do so via desktop and laptop PCs with a live Internet connection. Which makes ’em very different from plain old radio, a medium that folks are used to taking with them in the car, on the subway, and while jogging.
And then there’s Slacker, a service which, like Pandora and Last.fm, lets you conjure up custom radio stations which riff on what you tell it about your favorite artists by creating playlists with both faves and other performers you’ll probably like. Slacker is available in free and fee-based Web versions, but it was built from the ground up to work with portable players. Earlier this year, the company released a Slacker handheld that had plenty of promise but was also kind of bulky and clunky. And then it moved quickly to replace that first version with an improved model: the Slacker G2, which is available from Slacker’s site and Best Buy. I’ve been playing with it and really enjoying having personalized radio I can stick in my pocket. But while the Slacker service is a kick and this second-generation hardware is more polished than its predecessor, the device still feels like it’s a good fit for dedicated radio fans more than for music aficionados of all types.