Slacker Radio is an intuitive online music player that lets you stream a variety of preprogrammed and custom-made radio stations. The service comes in two models: an ad-supported version that is completely free or a pay option that eliminates the ads and opens a few additional features, such as station caching on a variety of mobile devices. Avoiding commercials costs a very reasonable $4.99 per month, or you can pay an annual fee of $47.88, which works out to $3.99 per month. Paying for the service also lets you circumvent the six-tracks-per-hour skip limit that comes hand-in-hand with any free online radio.
Slacker Radio was formed based on data that suggests that about 70 percent of music enthusiasts don't want to spend hours creating the perfect playlists. The service aims to take the work out of listening by providing an array of genre-, decade-, and event-based Internet radio stations that are preprogrammed by staff DJs. In addition, you can create your own stations based on individual songs or artists, and each station is customizable based on your listening preferences.
There are several options for customizing each Slacker station. While songs are playing, you can click the "heart" or "ban" buttons in the playback bar to express your like or dislike for the current track (banned tracks won't play on the station again). Each station also has its own customization page where you can see which songs you've banned or marked as favorites as well as check out a list of artists in rotation and choose whether to ban them. A separate tab lets you fine-tune the station based on popularity and time of release.
Slacker Radio features large album art as well as artist info, album reviews, and lyrics for many songs. The service is exceptionally easy to use, thanks to an interface that is entirely contained on a single Web page. Using the playback controls at the top, you can pause playback or skip tracks. In addition to the Web player, Slacker offers apps for Blackberry and Android devices, as well as the iPhone.