"The idea is that regardless the on-demand offerings of services like Spotify and Rdio, users don't really want to think too hard about listening to music most of the time," news source Gizmodo surmises. "They want radio—and radio in the truest sense, which means you put on a station you like and let a DJ who knows what they're doing take care of the rest."
Gone are the complicated controls and black-and-gold design. The site and apps (the mobile app functionality was clearly built alongside the site, as they mirror each other) are a simple blue and white (with orange), and navigation is cleaner and more intuitive.
But Slacker's showcase features are the "more than 200 expert-curated stations," and its new "Fine Tune" system. Listeners can customize their stream on the fly using either a "word cloud" of song tags, or graphical sliders which adjust what they hear (much like SiriusXM's new MYSXM web stream here). Via the sliders, the listener can vary the amount of "deep cuts," artist recommendations, and new music that comes up.
The New York Times reports that Slacker will begin running its online-only spot Wednesday, in which "a young woman at a coffee shop vexes everyone in earshot when she opens a blue 'Pandora’s box' — labeled 'P,' like Pandora’s app icon — and unleashes a singularly annoying song.
"'It plays that over and over again,' the woman complains to a friend, who blames Pandora’s 'small music library' for the repetition. With Slacker helpfully loaded on her phone, the friend points out that Slacker has 10 times as many songs, and other features, too."
Former MOG CEO David Hyman commented, "It costs a lot of money to build a brand if you didn’t hit it luckily through viral channels, like Pandora did."
Gizmodo seemed pleased with the new Slacker. Its reviewer wrote, "Specialty stations like 'Dive Bar Jukebox' that mix up contemporary indie, with soul classics and 80s new wave are just way more fun than anything Pandora, Spotify, or anyone else has to offer."
Slacker is allowing free access to its premium service on Thursday and Friday.