Slacker Radio Logo
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Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: June 27th, 2019
Slacker Radio is an Internet radio service that allows users to create and share customized music stations with friends and strangers online. In 2011, Slacker CEO Jim Cady said that Slacker had 26 million listeners, 13 million songs, more than 200 curated stations, and licensing deals with major labels. The company’s catchphrase is “be the ultimate slacker,” presumably with a great soundtrack. 

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The Good

Slacker's offerings are extensive and multi-tiered:
  • Slacker offers three listening packages: Basic, which is free, Radio Plus, which is $3.99 a month, and Premium, which is $9.99 a month.
  • The Slacker Basic plan lets users listen for free on virtually any device, choose from hundreds of curated radio stations, skip up to six songs per hour, and create their own stations from Slacker's extensive library.
  • The Slacker Radio Plus plan includes all the benefits of the Free plan, in addition to ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and offline stations for listening that doesn't usurp phone data. The Radio Plus plan does not include offline playlists or albums.
  • The Slacker Premium plan includes all the benefits of the Radio Plus plan, in addition to custom playlists, offline playlists and albums, and on-demand playing for all songs and albums available on the website.
  • Slacker offers stations curated by professional DJs according to genre, specialty, and artist. Users may also build their own stations from scratch, with a single artist seed.
  • Slacker offers a number of features to shape listening experiences. Users can Upvote ("heart") or Downvote ("ban") a song to ensure it plays more often or never at all. Upvoting a song will automatically add it to a playlist called "Your Songs" and alter the "Today on Slacker Radio" section accordingly on the main page. Slacker also offers a feature called "Fine Tuning," which allows users to input preferences for the effects of popular songs, newer songs, favorite songs, and familiar artists when building a curated station.
  • While listening, users may also share songs or stations across different social media accounts.
  • Selecting an artist will bring users to the artist page-which includes biographical information-and generate suggestions for stations that feature them.
  • Slacker offers mobile apps on iPhone, iPod touch, WebOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile 6, Windows Phone 7/8, and Windows 8/RT. These applications all stream music over data or WiFi connections. The mobile apps include features like station creation, access to recently played stations, fine-tune options, artist biographies, photos, album art, and music reviews.
  • The Slacker music service includes a number of news stations with top-of-the-hour updates, like ABC News and ESPN. Slacker also offers weather updates.

The Bad

  • Slacker does not offer a free trial period for either paid subscription package, nor does it offer refunds.
  • In the Basic plan, Slacker offers only 6 skips per station. The number of skips remaining is displayed beneath the skip button.
  • Not all settings in the Fine Tuning feature are available without a Premium subscription.
  • Lyrics are only available to subscribers.
  • Users cannot fast forward, rewind, or record while listening to music, subscription or not.
  • While playing, Slacker does not display lyrics, biographical information, or provide links for users to purchase music from other vendors.
  • Users cannot control play with their keyboards.
  • Slacker is available in English only. Compared to other streaming services, its global impact is extremely limited. This means that the music available is also limited to mostly English and American music.
  • Slacker does not offer an option to censor explicit lyrics.
  • Slacker once released a clunky personal radio device, but had to discontinue it as smartphones eventually took over the personal streaming market.
  • Slacker streams music at 128 kbps, which is low compared to the high quality of 320 kbps.

The Bottom Line

Since its creation in 2007, Slacker has developed a fairly strong and dedicated following of radio aficionados. It continues to grow, but its popularity is mitigated by the subscription price and the success of other music streaming giants, like SoundCloud, Pandora, and Spotify. Aside from the Fine Tuning feature, Slacker offers little to set it apart from the competition. It is a good option for anyone willing to invest a little effort-and a little money-in discovering new music, but other music services are better suited to the average listener.
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11 Reviews

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Leanette Grand Rapids, MI

I've been most pleased with their broad music base. They have most anything including Classical, Broadway, and Oldies, even Comedy. And within each genre they offer specifics like 90s glam, 80s punk, vintage country etc. I have even found talk radio and classic radio shows like Burns n Allen. No comments or suggestions for improvement at this time.

5 years ago

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Charlie Lansdale, PA

I prefer Slacker to any other streaming service. It works wonderfully with my Chromecast Audio that streams the service from my laptop to my Yamaha home theater system. I use the free service and don't mind the ads because there are not many of them. The hourly news updates are great and it's much easier to use than Pandora or Spotify. It has so much music that if you can't find something you like on Slacker you have no business listening to music.

5 years ago

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Wylie Holliday Washington, DC

Wow!! Yet another glaring false statement about Slacker Radio! You absolutely CAN block offensive lyrics/ language and you can block dirty song versions forever, should you choose to. There's a parental or vulgar language screening tool and you can also simply if there are no radio friendly versions of a particular song, which I have never found to be the case, because any artist worth their salt will always have a radio friendly version, especially amongst the harder types of music like rock , punk, hip-hop , Rap and even R&B in some cases. YOU will always see a radio friendly version songs of vulgarity or a way to Simply Ban that song from Ever playing again should you have kids in the car or if you are a Rideshare driver who doesn't want to risk offending a potential customer and getting a bad review. So whoever's writing these reviews of Slacker, I have a feeling you are a non-objective critic and you're trying to push business away from Slacker & towards other services like Pandora! Whom they seem to really really like and are giving glowing reviews to! That's bad form Foul Play and just plain effed-up you cheater you!!

5 years ago

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I bounced around in the early days of music streaming but I kept coming back to Slacker because of the radio feel and the music I was getting fed. It seemed like they got my listening taste and kept it up. They need to get their licensing on some bands.

5 years ago

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Guy Swanson Vacaville, CA

I have been using slacker for 5 +- years I love it. I have a 1100 song playlist that I love to listen to. When the mood hits me I can easily switch to anything I am in the mood for from Sinatra’s hits to snoop dog. Without being forced to listen to things that don’t match the genre that I have chosen. I don’t even listen to FM anymore

5 years ago

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Michael Welch Hamburg, NY

Up until a year ago Slacker was a good fit for offline use providing the ability to build your own customized station and play on a device they sold or on any smartphone, tablet or computer for just under $50/year. Wow, has that changed. As of the middle of last year they no longer support the device they sold. As of 12/31/17, they now require a premium plan for offline use at a cost of $9.99/month. No refunds on existing plans, but they did extend your subscription for streaming music, if you stream.....I don't. Guess the sale in 9/17 prompted what they call positive changes. Not positive for me. Goodbye Slacker, you can keep the 5 months left on my subscription and the 2 months you extended it. I am cancelling it now and going to a more reasonably priced alternative after 7 years.

5 years ago

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Amber C Frey San Diego, CA

I have Slacker auto installed on my phone and I was using it for a while, but decided to stop because it has the same issue Pandora has. The longer you're listening to music, the more frequently the ads start to come. It gets really annoying.

5 years ago

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Jonathan N Frank Kensington, MD

When AOL did the switch on the first of the month we lost all of our programming and stations. Now they have removed the link to the page to cancel your account. You have to call your card services rep to remove them from further billings.

5 years ago

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Jamie East Earl, PA

I've been a customer for over 4 years. My playlist was deleted or some how vanished last week, woke up this morning and all my other playlists were gone as well. They haven't even so much as answered my email..

5 years ago

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Nathan Lesman Crestview, FL

I really like the curated stations, and the addition of news updates and a DJ gives it a real radio like feel.

5 years ago

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chris Dumfries, VA

this is the best love my parents radio

5 years ago