Slacker Music Service & Player Premiers At SXSW

Slacker Inc., a start-up based in San Diego, premiered its new radio service at SXSW. The satellite radio subscription service combined with a separate Wi-Fi-enabled player will be available in the early summer, with models ranging roughly from $150 to $299. A car kit that will also be arrive sometime during the holiday season.

Slacker calls its concept personal radio, based on the idea that a majority of music player owners don’t organize or update their music collections as often as they might like because the process is too technical, too time-consuming or just plain annoying.

Users who log on to Slacker can begin listening to music from more than 10,000 stations that are built around specific artists and preprogrammed genres. Users also can create their own stations by indicating what types of songs they want and letting the Slacker “DJ” — a recommendation engine based on “related music” algorithms — fill out the station program with more tracks.

Customization adjustments to stations include choosing more popular versus more eclectic, or newer versus older music. Users can also click on a button to trash a certain song so it will never be played again. Clicking on a “heart” button will mark the track as a favorite and cause the song to be played more often on that station. To add community, users also will be able to e-mail their friends with their favorite stations and song recommendations.

After the Slacker players become available, users will be able to have their personal radio stations delivered to the portable devices via Wi-Fi. The Slacker Web-based radio service, with no player, will be free to anyone, but supported by ads. Consumers who purchase the device can opt for the ad-supported free Web service or buy the ad-free premium radio service for $7.50 per month. Prices and memory options for the device won’t be announced until closer to the release this summer, and will most likely come preloaded with a variety of tracks. It will also support MP3, WMA, WMV and MPEG-4 files.

Slacker also is looking to integrate its radio service in devices made by others, including cell phone makers.

More information on the Slacker Satellite Service.

Author: FutureMusic

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