Thursday, May 7, 2009

iPhone Music: Slacker Radio

Reading these posts will make you quickly realize how much of a music nut I am. My first inclination anytime I open up the iTunes App Store is to look up any new music apps. I love the way the iPhone makes it so much easier to find, acquire, and listen to new music. To this end, I've finally downloaded the Slacker app, to hook up with my Slacker subscription.

Slacker is an online streaming radio program, which allows you to create custom stations based on your own personal preferences. Basically, you can go onto their website, plug in a few artists you like, choose a few of your favorite songs by them, and then set a few sliders that determine the level of "discovery." In other words, you can set it up so you only hear the bands you entered, or you can set it so those bands are used as a jumping-off point for a whole world of music discovery.

The iPhone app takes all of this on the road for you. Although you can't create custom stations on the app, you can listen to all the stations you've created, as well as the long list of stations Slacker has created themselves. You simply load up the app, click a station, and start listening.

Slacker has a really simple, pretty slick interface. While you're listening to a station, you see the album art for the song currently playing, and the next song's album art is in the background. Since Slacker is a streaming radio station, you can't go backwards, but you can skip a song, pause it, "like" it (a heart button) or ban it. You can ban a single track, or an entire artist. You can also go to the next track just by swiping the album art, which they thankfully made a little difficult so you can't just accidentally switch to the next track (with no way of getting back!)

Slacker is a great service which allows you to stream all kinds of music, anywhere you want. Well, almost. Because Slacker is all streaming, I still can't listen to these tunes on the subway. Without WiFi or 3g connectivity, the app is basically useless. Furthermore, in order to get the full feature set, you have to pay for a Slacker account, which costs about $50 a year. For a music nut such as myself, $50 a year is just a small chunk of my music budget, but for a casual listener, this may be too much. Slacker does have a free option, but you're limited on what you can listen to and how many times you can skip. The app itself is free in the iTunes Application Store.

Overall, Slacker provides a great service in a convenient package. I know everyone loves Pandora, and sure it's free and a bit easier to use, but the level of control you have with your Slacker stations is unmatched in online streaming radio applications. Since Slacker is free to download, I'd recommend everyone give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. In my experience, Slacker Radio has proven to be superior to in almost every regard. The price is absolutely fine and perfectly acceptbale, especially considering that you are not just paying for music, but for an amazing music recommendation service that, frankly, stuns me on a day to day basis with the quality of its suggestions.