Tonight at the annual Pepcom holiday event in New York, Slacker will preview its new on-demand music service, a major upgrade to the existing application available on the Web, and on Android, Blackberry, and iOS phones. As long-time Slacker fans here at ZNF, we couldn’t be more excited about the launch. In addition to caching stations and enabling downloads of favorite tracks (available with today’s Slacker premium service), the new on-demand service will let users call up and play specific artists and songs at will. The new genre stations, pre-programmed by Slacker DJs, will provide details on the top station artists and songs, with an option to jump around to those tracks and others at any time. The search function will also provide more information on artists and songs, including what stations they’re programmed on, associated albums, etc. You’ll also be able to sort and play favorites easily, and there will be significantly more functionality for programming your own custom stations from any mobile interface.
Slacker is planning to roll out the on-demand upgrade in October. The company will continue to offer a free service tier, and users will be able to unlock higher tiers for a monthly fee: Slacker Plus at $3.99 per month and Slacker Premium (full on-demand functionality) at $9.99 per month.
I’ve always believed Slacker has the best feature set of any online music service. From the revolutionary offline caching function, to its customization capabilities, Slacker, in my opinion, outperforms the competition. However, its mobile implementations haven’t quite lived up to the browser experience, or to my dedicated Slacker hardware. And the interface has needed an update for some time. Assuming the new upgrade adds the necessary polish, along with the new features, Slacker should have itself a killer mobile music app.
UPDATE: The older Slacker Premium service, which I originally linked to in this post, is no longer available. If you’re interested, just hold out another month, and Slacker should have you covered with the new version.