Slacker Radio (Continues to Lag Behind Pandora)

DAB

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On 12/9/09 Slacker released its last update to its Slacker iPhone Application. Since that time it seems there has been nothing. We know at CES they showed off a version of Slacker with station caching, but that has yet to materialize.

Slacker really is a great service, but like Sirius XM for a long time they just seem to lack any fire over there. It is like they are just on auto-pilot, which their competition over at Pandora is kicking up dust on a daily bases. It seems the Pandora is always in the news when these type applications get discussed. There for awhile Slacker really had the edge, but because they have been asleep at the wheel they have allowed Pandora to not only get back in the game, but surpass them. One area in particular is Application for Smartphones. Apparently Pandora gives this area of their business considerable resources and it shows. Then you have Slacker that as mentioned above has yet to manage to come through with their announced caching version of their software. The current version they have while for the most part is stable, it could be better. My experience in using both is that Slacker is having to play catch up big time.

I have pondered what is going on with Slacker.. Why are they apparently like deer caught in headlights? Do they not have the funds or resources to have full time staff to work on their smartphone applications. I've heard rumors that one of the main reasons that the iPhone application is not ready is because they have constantly yanked the staff off that project to put them on other projects. Is this true or not? I have no way again this is just a rumor that I've heard.

Let me just say, I want to see Slacker succeed. I want to see them come out of the gate with some fire and excitement. Right now I don't feel it, I don't see it. Who is running this company, someone needs to wake them up. I hate to keep bringing up Pandora, but they all seem full of energy, excited, ready to leap at a moments notice. This is what it takes to be successful.

I hoped that Slacker had learned from watching Sirius XM all the things you don't do and all the things you should do. Sirius XM has found a way to stabilize their market and get publicity that is positive and good. They have made inroads into the smartphone app development, though their offerings thus far has been pretty weak.

Okay, so I said all that to say this. Lets get a move on Slacker, get some fire in your gut and let move this service to the next level. I am a big Slacker I promise you that, but right now I am rather disappointed with the state of affairs. There is so much this company could be doing to blast off, but instead it appears you are doing nothing. I don't mean nothing in a literal sense, surely you are doing something, but just not enough and just not the right things.

Okay you are running Slacker... What would you do to kick some life into this service and make it all that it could be?
 

mrpacs

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What changes would you like to se Slacker implement? You're familiar with the expression, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? I use both Pandora & Slacker at home and at the gym via iPhone. Surely you don't want Slacker to release an update just for the sake of updating, do you?
 

syphix

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Oct 15, 2008
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What "feature" does Pandora have that puts them ahead of Slacker? Caching (on devices other than the iPod/iPhone)? No. Lyrics? No. A subscription plan that allows unlimited skips and unlimited listening? No. Extensive fine tuning of stations? No.

I see Pandora lagging behind Slacker in MANY areas.
 
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Jon

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I'm my case, Slacker is still #1 despite the lack of caching on the iPhone app, and the lag in getting it out in the app store. Simply because their music selection and customization features are second to nobody. I'll be even happier once I can listen without the benefit of a cellular or wifi connection (one less reason to get satellite radio) and I check the updates in the app store every day to see if it's in yet (got a Pandora update yesterday oddly enough.) If nothing else, I'd say they need to find some new developers. Beyond that, I see no reason for concern. You'll still see many Ex-XM listners, myself included, who are glad to have our music diversity back.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

DAB

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What changes would you like to se Slacker implement? You're familiar with the expression, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? I use both Pandora & Slacker at home and at the gym via iPhone. Surely you don't want Slacker to release an update just for the sake of updating, do you?

I don't want anyone to release an update for the sake of doing so. But 5 months now to get out a caching version? It is bull shit and they have been dragging ass big time. The thing is instead of having a dedicated team, they move folks around like in bees in a bee hive, so they aren't getting stuff done as quickly as they should be.

What "feature" does Pandora have that puts them ahead of Slacker? Caching (on devices other than the iPod/iPhone)? No. Lyrics? No. A subscription plan that allows unlimited skips and unlimited listening? No. Extensive fine tuning of stations? No.

I see Pandora lagging behind Slacker in MANY areas.

Features aren't everything, the fact is when someone thinks of internet radio, who comes to mind? It damn sure isn't Slacker. When you talk to the average joe about Internet radio, who do they say.. oh you mean Pandora? Most of them don't even who who the hell Slacker is. They have done a TERRIBLE job of promoting themselves and being the premier service that they could be. The point is they have continued to lag behind Pandora in all the areas that count and allow a company to continue to grow and expand. Pandora was on deaths door, then came the iPhone. It was their saving grace. They have jumped on the smartphone thing like stink on shit. They keep their app updated and fully functional with changes that Apple makes.

In terms of features, there are a few things that I like about Pandora over Slacker. One thing is setting up some specific stations where artist have holiday, gospel, and everyday music. There is no way on Slacker to get just an artist gospel or holiday music without going through and doing each song and adding it. Even then when playing it you'll still get non holiday music mixed in. With Pandora you can add (Holiday) behind the artist name and it will only play that artist holiday music.

Slacker should be light years ahead of Pandora, because of the caching thing alone, they even have a larger library, on their free subs, there aren't nearly as many limitations. Yet who knows this besides us geeks that keep up with such things? That is my point...
 

mrpacs

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I totally agree about Slacker lacking a good marketing strategy. You hit the nail on the head when you point out that most folks equate Internet streaming radio with Pandora.
 

syphix

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Oh, I agree whole heartedly with you DAB, as I have on the Slacker forums when you stood up to RomeE. They are outmatched on updates and promotion. Most people do think of Pandora first. Pandora is everywhere and seems to get so much press. Which is a shame, really, and shows the lack of direction that Slacker has. I wish they would get off their asses and say, "Hey, look at US...we're better than them, and here's why....blah, blah, blah." But they don't. I hope they stick around and make it financially, because I really like them MUCH more than Pandora.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

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Strangely enough, I also agree with DAB.

I am not too impressed with the Slacker developers either. The stuff they do release despite being delayed for QA testing (official excuse) seems to be buggy as hell based on posts on the Slacker board.

And there still seems to be a huge chunk of artists that will not play in Canada despite assurances that this would change over time. Eagles, Bob Segar, Pink Floyd, Everclear, Steve Miller, Beatles are just a few artists who do not play up here. Its one of the reasons I only listen to Slacker sometimes. Every month I come close to cancelling but then I wind up giving it on more month. Its frustrating.

Of course, Pandora is not up here at all.
 

flap_jackson

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Nov 10, 2008
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May I also point out that Slacker hasn't expanded their station list (save for maybe a Canadian music station or two) in MONTHS. I don't even use them anymore because services like AOL Radio just have more variety.

Slacker is slackin' off :thumbsdown:
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
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May I also point out that Slacker hasn't expanded their station list (save for maybe a Canadian music station or two) in MONTHS. I don't even use them anymore because services like AOL Radio just have more variety.

Slacker is slackin' off :thumbsdown:

This is another good point and it also shows that their programming team is lacking big time. They have tons of request for stations. I understand that you can't do them all, but there are some real valid genres that they don't even have represented. Request falls on deaf ears. In fact most of the time when you send messages asking for artist or adding a station you either get a canned reply or no reply at all. Doesn't make one feel real connected.

AOL and heck even Rhapsody have a lot of stations that Slacker is missing!
 

DAB

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Used Slacker last night at a gathering and everyone loved the music. No one had heard of Slacker which just proves the point that we are all making. Slacker in terms of customizing, caching, library and all without some of the crazy limitations that Pandora has. Yet most do not even know about them, much less these things that make them a better service.

Pandora is NOT a better service, they are better at marketing themselves and keeping there smart phone apps updated. They know how to work the media to make it seem as though they are the only Internet radio service out there. Slacker could do better big time and this is where they really lag.
 

Jon

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Used Slacker last night at a gathering and everyone loved the music. No one had heard of Slacker which just proves the point that we are all making. Slacker in terms of customizing, caching, library and all without some of the crazy limitations that Pandora has. Yet most do not even know about them, much less these things that make them a better service.

Sounds a lot like XM when it was still listenable music-wise.
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

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Oct 11, 2008
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I have been thinking about the caching on the iPhone and iTouch, and I have convinced myself that it will never happen. If you notice, RomeE has completely stopped addressing release dates or progress on the Slacker forum. Its not that he's not reading the thread because he does address DAB about a couple points -- but not the release date. My guess is that either:
  • they submitted an app about the same quality as the Android app or the Blackberry app to Apple and they rejected it.
  • OR Steve Jobs has an investment in Pandora or some other reason for blocking Slacker. Therefore, further attempts at app approval would be pointless.
In either case, Slacker may have chosen not to purue that any further development in this regard or maybe they can't once Apple rejects.

Either way, it is clear to me that Slacker is no longer pursuing this. They won't issue a statement they will just stop talking about it (much like Slacker by sats). I think that those with iPhones my have to realize that they will not have cached Slacker on their device.

I could be wrong but this scenario makes the most sense to me.
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
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In either case, Slacker may have chosen not to purue that any further development in this regard or maybe they can't once Apple rejects.

Either way, it is clear to me that Slacker is no longer pursuing this. They won't issue a statement they will just stop talking about it (much like Slacker by sats). I think that those with iPhones my have to realize that they will not have cached Slacker on their device.

I could be wrong but this scenario makes the most sense to me.

I think you are very much so wrong! It is my opinion that Slacker is trying to run its whole operation with a short staff. They clearly don't have a dedicated dev team as they have jumped them around between projects. This in my opinion is the reason for the poor quality apps and the lack them submitting the caching version. I do think they are working on it and that it will be released in due time. Granted they have been dragging ass on this, but that is because of their staff situation more than no desire to get it released.

I happen to know folks that are beta testing it, so your feeling about them just not pursuing it any longer is just not true!
 

IdRatherBeSkiing

Sherbet is NOT and NEVER WILL BE ice cream.
Oct 11, 2008
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I think you are very much so wrong! It is my opinion that Slacker is trying to run its whole operation with a short staff. They clearly don't have a dedicated dev team as they have jumped them around between projects. This in my opinion is the reason for the poor quality apps and the lack them submitting the caching version. I do think they are working on it and that it will be released in due time. Granted they have been dragging ass on this, but that is because of their staff situation more than no desire to get it released.

I happen to know folks that are beta testing it, so your feeling about them just not pursuing it any longer is just not true!

The lack of any update on the slacker website to me is suspicious. I had thought it was mentioned they had already submitted it a couple of months ago. If they haven't then obviously it will be at least another 2 months to be released since thats how long it takes Apple to have its ego stroked enough to release the app.

I guess we will wait and see. It just smells of vapourware to me.
 

DAB

Mod Emeritus
Oct 9, 2008
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The lack of any update on the slacker website to me is suspicious. I had thought it was mentioned they had already submitted it a couple of months ago. If they haven't then obviously it will be at least another 2 months to be released since thats how long it takes Apple to have its ego stroked enough to release the app.

I guess we will wait and see. It just smells of vapourware to me.

You'll be proven wrong in short order! Apple has been approving many apps within 7 days. You anti-apple guys are alway so full of it! You read one thing and then just repeat that same crap forever!
 

syphix

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I just spoke with RomeE via PM on Slacker's forum and was assured that the app IS still in development. It's in external beta testing with the "kinks" being ironed out before submission to Apple.
 

DAB

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I just spoke with RomeE via PM on Slacker's forum and was assured that the app IS still in development. It's in external beta testing with the "kinks" being ironed out before submission to Apple.

Exactly! I know some of the testers, so this is no vaporware. RomeE has a tough line to tow there at Slacker and I will say I think there are some quality folks working within Slacker. This thread was meant to focus more on their lack of marketing but also to address the slow pace of getting these apps out.

I very much enjoy the service and high recommend folks subscribe.