Slacker Radio just released an update to their popular radio streaming service that makes the app universal. Not only that, but they now offer a premium subscription that revolutionizes paid radio services.
New users can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Slacker Radio Premium through the app’s website. Once you select the free trial, you are asked to sign up through Facebook and are asked a couple of questions about yourself (age, gender, location). After you have completed the registration, you are given a code that you can use to enroll for the free trial period. I highly suggest everyone to get the trial subscription. This is where you will really see Slacker Radio shine. You will never listen to music any other way again.
I am a strong believer that the airwaves should not be exclusively controlled by major corporations that dictate what music I should be listening too. Over the past decade, the Internet has opened the door to those of us not willing to settle for the 20-song rotation that is played constantly on every top 40 station. While Pandora Radio was an early adopter, and certainly the most popular of the streaming radio services, there has since been a plethora of like-minded developers that have improved on the concept and found ways to offer even more to music fans. Slacker Radio is one of those pioneers of the future of personalized radio listening.
Slacker Radio Basic is best described as being a lot like Pandora, but (dare I say it) better. The iPad app’s user interface is much slicker and the available features are much easier to find. While they both offer the same service (select a song, artist or genre and songs that are of a similar style will begin streaming), Slacker Radio offers a larger song library and even has news and comedy stations. In addition to non-music stations, the app offers over 150 pre-programmed stations like, Blues, Country and singer/songwriter. Slacker Radio offers extensive bios of each band or singer, album reviews, band discography, song track listings and related artists. This is all just in the basic app.
For a monthly charge of $3.99, you can upgrade your service to Slacker Radio Plus, which eliminates ads, allows you to unlimitedly skip songs and lets you cache your stations for offline listening. That’s right. You can save your favorite radio stations and listen to them offline, while you’re hiking in the mountains, or lost on a polar ice cap.
Here is where Slacker Radio pushes the boundaries and becomes the leader in its class of radio services. For a monthly charge of $9.99, you can upgrade to Slacker Radio Premium, which includes so many features it will make your head spin. All of the features of Basic and Plus are available in Premium, but you can play the song or artist you choose, no more picking an artist and getting a similar style. You can also play an entire album by an artist and create custom playlists to suit your music-listening desires. With Premium, you can also cache an entire album for offline listening. Can that be right? For ten bucks a month, you can have as many albums as your app can fit for offline listening, plus you can stream music all day long directly from the Internet or from your iPhone, iPod or iPad. And, yes, you can be signed into more than one device at a time. It will ask if you meant to do that, but if you say “yes” you can listen to Slayer while taking a bath at the same time that your boyfriend is listening to She & Him while mowing the lawn, all on the same account.
What I liked: Almost everything. The iPad app’s user interface is the best way to experience this service, even better than the website itself.
What I didn’t like: There is no Airplay capability. Honestly, if this app had Airplay, I would quit my job and stay inside for the rest of my life. O.K., maybe I’m being a little over-dramatic.
[Update]: Slacker Radio is actually AirPlay compatible! I don’t know how I could have missed it. That beautiful little rectangle with an arrow in it is right next to the volume control. Well, I guess I’ll be quiting my job now.
To buy or not to buy: It’s free! There is no need to buy! Enroll for the free 30-day trial and see if you think it is worth $10 per month (which it is).
- App Name: Slacker Radio
- Version Reviewed: 3.0
- Category: Music
- Developer: Slacker Radio Inc.
- Price: Free (with subscription options)