Slacker web radio relaunches to compete with Pandora, Spotify

Posted By Kristen Butler,  |  Updated Feb. 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM
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At the unveiling of its new website, app, and branding, Slacker Radio pitched 10 times the number of songs as Pandora, as well as new content deals with ESPN, ABC, the Weather Channel and American Public Media. Slacker, a distant competitor of Pandora and Spotify, is available on the Web, as well as on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Xbox 360, and smart TVs. Slacker also has distribution deals with Ford, GM, Chrysler, Acura, Honda, Scion, Subaru, and Tesla.

Chief Marketing Officer Craig Rechenmacher said it’s "an opportunity for us to throw a punch when nobody’s looking.” Relaunching of Slacker comes even as Apple, Microsoft and Google all mull over their own internet radio plans. Rechenmacher previously worked for Electronic Arts Inc. and in July opened the Slacker's marketing office in Palo Alto, California.

The company sells a monthly ad-free service that includes unlimited song-skipping, and a package that makes any song or album offered by Slacker available on demand. Chief Executive Officer Jim Cady said more than half a million of Slacker’s 4 million active users are paying subscribers. By contrast, Pandora has over 65 million unique monthly members and Spotify has over 20 million.

Cady said new deals such as the one with ESPN will entice users. Slacker will bring live national and regional feeds from the sports network and paid subscribers can personalize stations to weight updates from their favorite teams. In March, ESPN will launch a Slacker station featuring Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo, hosts of the popular SVP & Russillo show. Patrick Polking, a senior director of distribution and business development at ESPN’s audio division told Bloomberg, “we’re constantly looking at the marketplace and trying to find folks that allow us to achieve our goal. Our mission is to serve sports fans anywhere and everywhere.”

To celebrate the relaunch, Slacker users can access all Premium features for free on February 14 and 15. After that, accounts will be available for free, $3.99 per month for Plus, or $9.99 per month for Premium. Their newly released ad takes aim at big players Pandora and Spotify and bills Slacker Radio as "the most complete music service on earth."

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