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Slacker Radio

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Slacker Radio is amongst the most beloved streaming music services on the internet. Over the years it has continued its dominance as one of the most innovative streaming services. With the rise of Spotify, Tidal, Pandora and Apple Music, Slacker keeps on evolving to keep up with the competition. Thoughtfully curated stations and regular updates ensure that the platform maintains its supremacy.

Impactful Acquisition

The rise of Slacker Radio and its contribution to the streaming industry attracted a lot of eyeballs. It was due to this exposure that LiveXLive – a live music streaming company acquired Slacker Radio. Since the acquisition, LiveXLive has kept the parent name and Slacker is presented as ‘LiveXLive powered by Slacker’.

In recent times, LiveXLive has been home to some of the most impressive streaming coverage including exclusive performances from artists such as ‘Chance The Rapper’, ‘Rihanna’, ‘Radiohead’, ‘Katy Perry’ and ‘Bruce Springsteen’ to name a few. With the acquisition of Slacker Radio, not only is LiveXLive benefitting from Slacker’s existing fanbase but it’s tapping into a whole new competitive radio and music streaming market.

History

Slacker Radio was founded by Celite Milbrandt and Dennis Mudd in 2004. Before this venture, Dennis was in-charge of MusicMatch – a brand acquired by Yahoo Music which later became Yahoo! Music Radio. In 2007, Slacker Radio entered into an agreement with four major labels – EMI, Universal, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner. Apart from these major deals, the platform also announced its collaboration with thousands of other indie labels.

Why should you stream on Slacker Radio?

With slacker radio, you get free access to all the music and events that you love. Almost every key element from the slacker radio has been retained after the acquisition. This means that you can enjoy hundreds of hand-crafted music stations along with personalized recommendations. You can discover new favorites and even interact with the community.

Live streaming prowess

Slacker Radio was a gigantic network in itself. Especially with its app’s presence on Android and iOS platforms. However, when you club Slacker with LiveXLive, you get the best of both worlds. For instance, you can watch live video streams of concerts and major festivals happening across the world. So, be it Ultra, EDC or Coachella, chances are that you might find them on the network via the LiveXLive app.

Platform engagement

Personally, I love the engagement part on any live stream. Slacker Radio takes this to a whole new level. Using the website or the app, you can create your own stations and playlist – share them with your network and even engage in a live stream with creators. Since the channel has exclusive hosted audio and video shows, you can become a part of the experience. If you’re a sport or news lover, you’ll surely enjoy the interactive programming format.

Vast content library

Since LiveXLive is powered by Slacker, you get access to millions of songs and albums on-demand. If you subscribe to the premium plan, not only do you get features such as Ad-free listening, 320kbps quality, unlimited skips, but you also get offline-listening features. If you opt for a premium feature (check the pricing section), you can create your own playlists and stations.

Sublime audio quality

If there’s one particular feature that made Slacker Radio standout from the rest of the streaming services, it’d certainly be the audio quality. Sure, you cannot record music as you can with SiriusXM Internet Radio, but the quality on offer is just too amazing. Well-curated playlist and top-quality sound are all you look for in a perfect app apart from its interface and I can admit that LiveXLive made a statement by acquiring Slacker.

Design

Before we move onto the design aspect, I’d like to clarify that its LiveXLive platform that we’ll be discussing. Since the acquisition, Slacker Radio has been integrated into the LiveXLive platform and thus it doesn’t have an independent presence. Though I’ll be discussing the legendary interface below, I’d like to shed light on the present platform as opposed to the past.

If you’re still not aware of the acquisition, you’d likely search for the term ‘Slacker’ or ‘Slacker Radio’. Upon doing so, you’ll find the LiveXLive button with ‘Slacker’ appearing as metadata. If you click on it, you’ll be redirected to their website with the URL specifying the link as ‘Slacker Redirect’.

Header

Before we even see the header section, there’s a leaderboard plug to its premium service – A massive turn off. I don’t expect any premium services to blatantly pluck their services right above the header as it’s quite unappealing from a user-experience perspective. Under the banner, you’d find three options – Live Events, Video, My Library towards the left and log in, Sign up Free and a drop-down button towards the right. The drop-down button has four options – ‘The Daily’, ‘Shop’, ‘More’, ‘Feedback’.

Hero Section

There’s nothing much to talk about in the hero section of the redirected link. There’s a headline that reads ‘Taking Your Music on the Road’ and it has automobile powerhouses such as Tesla, Acura, FCA, Honda, Ford, Lexus and Subaru among many others listed as Integrated Partners.

Body

As you move down towards the body section, you get yet another premium banner plug with a CTA that reads ‘View Our Plans’. Right under the banner are a newsletter sign-up section and the mobile app plug on the right.

Footer

In the footer section, you can find six options – ‘Get The App’, ‘Subscribe’, ‘Support’, ‘Contact’, ‘Terms’ and ‘Privacy’. Under these options, you’ll find social media buttons such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Content

Slacker offers a complete musical journey. With custom stations, your personal playlist, and recently played stations, finding your favorite songs has never been easy. You can choose from a wide range of genres such as Hip Hop/R&B, Pop, EDM/Dance, Rock, Country, and Metal to name a few. In its deep catalog, you can find platinum albums such as Taylor Swift’s Reputation, Prince’s library among many other artists.

Apart from music, Slacker Radio has massive news and sports catalog. With ABC News and exclusive Slacker Stories, you get much more as compared to ESPN Radio – which is no longer a part of the platform. In addition, you can also watch Star Wars Stories, Bill Murray Stories, and other pop culture stories.

The Slacker Radio app is the same as just branding changes. In terms of the interface, it’s still panel-driven which offers amazing functionality. Today on Slacker is the main content area where you’ll find the best tunes from Slacker Radio DJ. Apart from that, you can discover new music using the recommendation section. A few of the many recommended channels that caught my attention include Spotlight: Modern Jazz and 70s Rock.

Desktop/Mobile experience

I tested Slacker Radio in 2016 and 2017 and at that time, it was way ahead of its time. With the recent takeover, I have to say that LiveXLive hasn’t ruined the platform. Sure, there’s branding and a new visual approach but the streaming remains crisp and clear. Audios are hiccup-free and have great sound quality. Thus, I’d like to appreciate LiveXLive’s approach here for capitalizing on Slacker’s strength.

Plans & Pricing

Slacker originally was offered through its independent app and the website. Since the LiveXLive takeover, it now has three-tier pricing – Basic, Plus, and Premium. LiveXLive Plus plan costs $3.99 whereas the Premium plan is priced at $9.99. The difference between the basic and premium pricing is that you get No Ads, Unlimited Skips, Maximum Audio Quality, Offline Access and Play on-demand feature. If you opt for a Plus plan, you get all these features except offline and Play on-demand.

Suggestions I have for Slacker Radio

Though I’m not sour with LiveXLive’s takeover, I’d like to suggest the developers work on the pricing. There’s no Family Plan as offered by major music streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Tidal. If LiveXLive using Slacker’s appeal wants to attract the audience, they need to throw in an affordable family plan for its users.

Conclusion

Slacker Radio even before the takeover offered quality audio streaming service and deep customization options. However, after the acquisition, it has been able to spread its operation and is now catering to more than just radio streaming under the LiveXLive banner.

Likes & Hates:
Great audio quality
Expansive content library
Has become a part of a bigger initiative
Offers recommendation even on the basic plan
Social listening
No longer independent
Services have become premium
Not as efficient in terms of connectivity as Pandora