Slacker (music service)

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Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Internet radio
Registration Optional (Limited Plays), Free
Available in English Only
Owner Slacker, Inc.
Launched March 15, 2007

Slacker Radio is an interactive Internet radio service available in the US and Canada. Listeners can access the service on the web, through mobile apps on multiple smartphones as well as on Slacker Personal Radio Players and other devices. It allows users to create and share customized music stations. Slacker allows users to customize one of their programmed stations (for instance, Top hits) or start with music similar to an artist or song, and then customize that. In May, 2011 CEO Jim Cady stated that Slacker has 26 million listeners, 13 million songs in its library,[1] and licensing deals with all the major labels.[2]

As of June, 2012, Slacker had "more than 200 expert-curated music stations."[3]


The company was founded in 2004 by Celite Milbrandt[4] and Dennis Mudd who launched the company in March 2007.[5][6][7] Dennis was the former CEO of MusicMatch, which was purchased by Yahoo Music and is now known as Yahoo! Music Radio. The current CEO is Jim Cady, former CEO of Rio.

In September 2007, the service[8] finalized its deals with four major labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI, Universal, and Warner; it also announced deals with thousands of Indie labels.[9]

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 launched, allowed Portable Player users to listen to cached Internet radio stations and premium radio users to save songs for later playback.[10]

In November 2008, Slacker became available on Sony's BIVL service.[11] In May 2009, a built-in Slacker Radio app was launched on Sony's Walkman X1000 series. In principle, it worked similar to the Portable Player, refreshing music when connected to a WiFi network.[12]

On 13 February 2013, Slacker retired its original look and logo in favour 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). This new look was also introduced to the service's iOS, Android, and Windows 8 applications.[13] Listeners are, as of March 2013, still able to access the old site.

Among the loading screen messages on its current player is a statement that Slacker has "more music than Pandora".

As of March 31, 2013, Slacker currently has around 300 premade stations.

As of October 11, 2014, Slacker requires Ad Block Plus to be disabled before listening for all free accounts. This is done to allow popup video advertisements to play.

Basic functions[edit]

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.[14] In late summer 2011, ESPN channels were also added.

Account types[edit]

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.

Mobile applications[edit]

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 has provided its listeners and all music fans with the opportunity to connect via Twitter, MySpace and Facebook to further promote music discovery.


Twitter users can log into Slacker[15] 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.


Listeners can add their Slacker Radio station to MySpace with the free Slacker widget.

Slacker Portable Radio Player[edit]

The first generation players were available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities.[16] On January 9, 2008 the not yet released Slacker Portable Player received Laptop Magazine's Best of CES Portable Audio/Video Player Award.[17]

Slacker G2 Personal Radio Player[edit]

The Slacker G2 Portable Player doing a station update

On September 16, 2008 Slacker released a new portable player called Slacker G2.[18] When located in a WiFi hot spot or connected to a PC, its radio delivery network can download and refresh selected songs on the device and turn them into personalized radio stations. The players do not have to be connected to WiFi for playback.[19] The player ties in with a Slacker account, and features available depending on whether the user has the free, Plus, or Premium service. It has a 2.4” color screen (Resolution: 320×240 TFT) and comes in capacities of 4GB and 8GB. It is compatible with various digital music formats (MP3, WMA, and ACC), and claims up to 15 hours of battery life.

Slacker consumer electronics, including the G2 Personal Radio Player, have since been discontinued in favor of an emphasis on smartphones and other mobile applications.[20]

Devicescape Connect[edit]

Devicescape Connect is a feature that was added to the Slacker Portable Players to allow users to access WiFi-hotspots that would normally require a web-based login, something that the Slacker Portable could not previously access because of its lack of a web-based browser.[21]

Similar services[edit]

These similar services are no longer in operation:


External links[edit]

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