Slacker radio

New UI, mood-based playlists highlight update

Slacker Radio has long been one of our go-to apps for online music, and the app is getting a pretty major overhaul with Version 5. First up is a pretty drastic visual refresh — it's worlds better than Version 4, we think. More and bigger images, an easier layout to navigate — good stuff all around. You've got four "quick start" tiles on the bottom of the home screen, and easy access to all the available stations.

And then there's the new "My Vibe" section — sort of a mood-based playlist picker. Categories include "Morning Coffee," "News," "Exercising," "Driving" and "Waking up." (And that's just for starters, but we do question the choice of "Road Rage" as an option in the "Driving" category.)

As has always been the case with Slacker, you get a good amount of content for free — but pony up a few bucks a month and you get more options, fewer ads, song skips, lyrics, ABC News Radio and more.

The update should go live this afternoon, Slacker says. Enjoy these screenshots in the meantime.


Reader comments

Slacker Radio gets a major overhaul, adds 'My Vibe' listings


I've always just used pandora because thats what I started with and haven't experimented around. I know its lazy to ask, but would anyone care to comment on what is better with slacker? I'm guessing it must be better if its your go-to app. Thanks

I used pandora too for while, but I switched to slacker and never went back. I like with slacker how the basis is not so much on customizing stations to you through some formula (though that is an option through both banning songs from stations as well as favoriting songs you like), but rather that the stations are curated by real people. There are a ton of different genres and it's almost impossible to not find at least a few stations you like.

Also, I found the ads on slacker to be much less intrusive. Usually, you'll get one ad if you skip a song or something sometimes, and then one maybe every hour or so on average. But they are all pretty short, not louder than the music was, and just a better experience. Also, the video ads, which are few and far between, only sometimes happen if the screen is already on, and if you turn the screen off the ad just skips.

I've found the musical mix to be better, plays more of the band you're looking for. Also, the skip feature is superior to Pandora's (assuming Pandora limits you on an hourly basis). With Slacker, you can rebuild your skips by listening to songs.

Dunno if Pandora does this, but it'll create a station based around songs you hit the Love button on.

I tried it the other day, for two days. I hated it,one of the first item I hated about it was the popup ads,and I mean huge ones,they were popping up after every song,they covered the artist and the song,I use to enjoy slacker,more than Pandora,but now,I want no parts of it.Now they want me to pay them to get ABC new audio, and pay them no to shove ads in my face,I think it's mean to annoy,you, until you open your pocket for them. LOL.

It's only like 4 bucks a month to remove the ads. I think it is well worth it, personally. I actually pay the full 10 bucks.

I love Slacker. I pay the $3.99 to remove the ads and have the ability to cache stations overnight. I love the station variety, as well as the ways you can discover new music (i.e., "fine tune" stations and stations that focus on new or deep cuts). I also enjoy being able to pull up lyrics and read artist info.

The only item they haven't re-introduced from a prior version (unless it's in this latest update) is the "up next" song title (even though you can partially scroll to the right while a song is playing to see the next song).

For these reasons, this is why this is my "go to" app as well.

Oh, and the Slacker web page is fantastic too.

Why is bigger images a good thing? It's a f**king music app. Just have it start up and display for me a text listing of stations I have marked as favorites, and maybe it wouldn't take an hour and a half to start up as it currently does. Why do I need to see ANY images?

Also, it shouldn't take any more than 2 taps to get music going on any of my favorite stations.

Great app, seems to be even better now. Never liked the light theme a whole lot. The darker one goes much better with the general feel of android, IMO.

I like slacker better than Pandora but when my data speed slows down Pandora continues playing and due to slackers ads it starts stuttering. So I use both depending on speed.

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Slacker uses way more data than Pandora! With my 3gig AT&T plan I can't feasibly use slacker on a regular basis.

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Been using Slacker for years, ever since they first launched back in 2007. (I even had a Slacker G1 Portable, which was a ridiculously large slab with a giant screen that you couldn't touch directly, but rather had to use a little touch strip along the side of the display or a jog wheel.) I had been a devoted Pandora user, but I had grown sick of the constant repeats on stations - my stations felt like 40-song playlists, constantly looping with no discovery. Slacker was a breath of fresh air.

Their only problem was their UI always sucked. On my old Palm Pre, the dark UI fit decently in with webOS, but it was slow and buggy. Then, when I was on my iPhone 4S, the update to the Metro-style UI was jarring and completely out of place in iOS. It was hideously bright and garish, and even the dark theme was ugly, basically just being an inverted color scheme from the light.

This new UI is fantastic on my One, it fits perfectly in with Holo while still being unique. I pay $3.99 for the Plus service, which gives no ads and unlimited skips, as well as the ability to cache stations right on your device so you don't have to use data to play them. I have my mainstay stations, like Party Alternative & Dubstep, but they also have been adding a lot of neat new stations in conjunction with the new "My Vibes" feature that I have been digging - Indie Sleepover has been getting a lot of spins from me lately. I also have a Google Play All Access subscription - I find All Access a better subscription service for music that I know about, but Slacker is a better discovery engine than the radio on All Access.

All in all, Slacker is excellent, and this update has finally given it a UI worthy of being paired with the service.