Slacker Now Powers AOL Radio, More Deals Coming

Slacker’s got a channel strategy. Yesterday, the streaming music company announced it’s made good on a deal with AOL to replace CBS Radio as the engine behind AOL Radio. On the face of it, the deal may not sound like much, but according to VP Jonathan Sasse, the new agreement could double the amount of content Slacker serves to its listeners. In addition, AOL is not likely to be a “one-off” deal. Sasse hints that we’ll probably see other, similar agreements in the coming months.

The partnership program is an interesting one because of how Slacker structures its relationships. Slacker technology is the engine behind all of its partners’ apps (the company struck a deal with AARP this summer too), but partners can bring their own targeted content with curated stations produced by their own DJs. In the case of AOL, there’s a mix of Slacker stations and AOL ones. Partners can also bundle the service in different ways. AOL is sticking with the Slacker model of offering one free version and two premium tiers (coming in November), but other partners may package their services differently.

I had a brief moment of panic thinking Slacker might be ending its own, beloved, direct-to-consumer business in favor of partner distribution, but Sasse assures me that’s not the case. The channel program is a complement to Slacker’s direct retail business, not a replacement. (Phew.) 

For AOL Radio listeners, there are a few key details to be aware of now that the service has changed. Most importantly, if you already have an iOS app for AOL Radio, you’ll have to upgrade it when the new service comes to iTunes in order to continue listening. There’s no exact date cited for availability, but it should be within days or weeks, not months. AOL says the new service will feature 50% fewer commercials, a new design, and  Slacker-standard features like the ability to create custom stations and skip up to six songs in an hour. AOL is also adding ESPN Radio, and ABC News is planned for the near future. CBS Radio local stations will no longer be available.


7 thoughts on “Slacker Now Powers AOL Radio, More Deals Coming”

  1. Good to hear! Prefer Slacker over the other services. Has there been any additional word on Slacker coming to Sonos? There were rumblings back in June, but nothing ever was announced.

  2. I haven’t heard anything specific about Sonos, but I did hear there’s news coming soon that should make Dave happy, so perhaps that’s Sonos integration?

  3. I’m waiting for Slacker for Sonos as well. I tried MOG, Spotify, and Rhapsody on my Sonos but cancelled all of those accounts. Still using my local library and Pandora for now.

  4. Great progress by this company but I still don’t see why they don’t go after connected tvs the way that Pandora has done. I’m getting ready to spring for a large plasma and don’t see them playing this field too.

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