When it comes to streaming music services, there are several available with wide ranging capabilities. For example, Pandora is popular because it is free, but only allows users to provide examples of artists to indicate what music they want to hear, and service then selects the music to play. On the other end of the spectrum are services like Rhapsody, which charge $10 per month but provide users the ability to select whatever song they want to hear from their library.
Up until today Slacker Radio has been closer to Pandora than Rhapsody, but now you can subscribe to Slacker Radio Premium for $10 per month and have the ability to play any song you want from their catalog. To celebrate the launch of their service, Slacker is provide a free month to everyone, and having a contest for a free year subscription.
Slacker Radio is available on every smartphone, and can be played via a personal computer. I’ve tested the Slacker Radio apps, which are free, on my Nexus S, iPod Touch, and HTC HD7. The Windows Phone 7 version currently doesn’t appear to support the premium service. The Android version running on my Nexus S has been producing far too many force closes for my liking, making it difficult for me to recommend it for Android users. Playback on my iPod Touch has been very smooth.
Slacker’s stations remain front and center within the app, and you have the ability to create your own stations and playlists. Playlists are new to Slacker Radio, but doesn’t appear to be completed because while I have been able to create playlists, I haven’t been able to figure out how to find the playlists to play music using them. As you can see in the screenshot, there is no option for Playlists in the main menu, nor do they appear under any of the options that are available.
To find music, tap Search, and enter an artist name, an album name, or a song name. If you search on an artist, you will see that artist’s complete discography, but album names grayed out are not available. Premium subscribers have the ability to cache albums and stations so that you can play music while not connected to the Internet.
Slacker Radio’s sharing capabilities are minimal. You can share the name of radio stations that you play, songs that you flag as a favorite, songs that you banned and artists that you banned on Twitter. The tweets include links to the stations or songs on Slacker’s web site, where people can elect to play the music.