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Acquire Slacker Radio

Acquire Slacker Radio

As a former Slacker subscriber who now loves Spotify, I recommend that Spotify acquire Slacker Music.




• The streaming radio market landscape is becoming saturated with offerings from other straming services (rdio, Pandora) and larger companies (Google, Amazon). 

• Apple is poised to ramp-up competition considerably with its Beats Radio preinstalled on iOS and AppleTV. They have plenty of cash which is plenty of potential of a big marketing spend on the service once they have their strategy in place. 

• Consolidation of providers is bound to start happening soon. Mature brands in the market (Rhapsody, rdio, Pandora) will start to get gobbled up by bigger competitors, satellite radio providers or more millenial-friendly newcomers. Could TargetMusic or BestBuyRadio be on the horizon?


Here are several features of the other service that are missing / lacking from Spotify. 

• Explicit content blocking – My kids listen to Spotify on my iPhone in the car. Now I have to be aware and skip songs, which is a real pain, especially while driving. The absence of this feature is a critical shortcoming for Spotify. 

• Curated radio stations with DJs – Slacker's radio stations, including their curated shows like "101 Greatest Rock Songs" or "66 Songs That Changed Everything" have the option to turn on DJ commentary, and the content of this commentary is excellent. 

• Likes and Bans – Every track on slacker can be "Hearted" or "Banned". Say I like 1980s music in general, but I particularly like "Cars" by Gary Numan, I click on the heart and Slacker learns my listening habits, or if I can't really stand the song "Atomic" by Blondie*, I can ban that song and I'll never hear it again.  

• Fine Tune – Along that same line, every Slacker station can be fine tuned by the listener. You can tweak attributes such as artists played, popular songs vs deep cuts and a few more. 

• Lyrics and Artist's Bios – Slacker has extensive background info for most artists, songs and albums.

• Updated UI – Slacker's recently redesigned interface on iOS is much clearer to read than Spotify's, especially while driving. Slacker definitely wins when you compare the services on the in-car user experience, the ultimate mobile platform.  Sadly neither of you have a Landscape mode in iOS. For an excellent, albeit minimal, landscape experience, I prefer the app Groove.


There are other things Slacker could bring into the fold. So, rather than trying to imitate the competition I recommend acquiring one of the standouts in the streming music space. If that were to happen, Spotify's offerings—music selection, UI, station content and usability would clearly stand well above all competitors. A Spotify/Slacker union would be an amazing win-win for both companies' customers. 


Thanks for your consideration 

–Dave C.


* P.S. "Atomic" by Blondie is a great song, I was just using that as an example.

7 Replies

Hello Dave!

Since this is more of a management decision and not a real "feature request" I'll mark it as Unspecified for now but of course leave it open for discussion and gaining kudos. 😉

Actually I think it is a "feature request," in a sense. I've used Slacker's pay version, and their radio concept is outstanding. I love the selection of genres and subgenres - maybe I'm not finding them, but Spotify's radio stations seem really lacking in variety.


I also love being able to toggle the DJ announcements on or off, depending on my mood. And the songs are all clearly picked by a human, not an algorithm. I know Spotify has more playlists than anyone could ever use, but it's great to be constantly surprised by a DJ who knows what he or she is doing - I think that's why satellite radio is still fairly popular.


My big complaint with Slacker is the sound quality. I've just switched to Rdio for now, which seems better on that front. But I'd come back to Spotify Premium if the radio options improve.

My issue with the interface is it takes too many taps or swipes to get where you want. Coming from Rdio this is very frustrating. I realize there's a trade off in one area in particular; on Rdio when you add anything by an artist to your library, you will automatically get notifications if the artist has anything new added to Rdio. I can see how Spotify users may like the option to follow an artist in the case they only like a couple songs by them and don't care about much else. For me, however, it's an extra step.

When I get to an artist page, the landing page seems like a bit of a mess. On the desktop it's nice to see what the newest material is at the top, but then you scroll down and it's a mess. I would really like the option to see the album art with a release date underneath, a hover giving me an option to save, and if I want to see the track listing click in further. To have all that listed there and have to scroll a bunch to get to the album I want if they have a lot is frustrating, especially on mobile! It also makes it a bit tough with extensive catalogs if you're scrolling fast, you almost have to go slow to make sure you're not scrolling past the album you want if you're not entirely familiar with all the song names.


edit: I spoke too soon on the last point. On the desktop you have the option for list or album art view, but my point still stands for mobile.

edit 2: Nope, nevermind. So, yes, on the ARTIST page you have the list/album cover options. Once they are added to your library though, you get a list only option. Inconsistent and because I can't think of a better word at the moment, frustrating. I really want to like this, I do. 

As for downloading to mobile, I REALLY wish the desktop version had a specific "Download to Mobile" option. I'm in the thick of adding everything to Spotify from my Rdio library (giving it an honest shot for a couple months) and it's super annoying to have to first save the album, then click into it, then save for offline. On Rdio, you can simply hover over the album art (desktop) or long click to either "save" (to your collection, for streaming) or "download" (they don't offer offline playback on desktop to my knowledge, but by clicking download it will automatically download on my phone).

A list view for artists (especially on the desktop) would be very nice, with album thumbnails once you click/tap to dig deeper. Right now it's taking forever to scroll through my artists because I'm forced to look at a picture of each of them. Again, so much wasted space. You HAVE to use the app full screen to get anything accomplished. Helpful on an iPad, unnecessary on a 23 inch monitor.

Having to go to my phone and download every album after the fact is a huge waste of time, and for someone forgetful like myself, it's going to be frustrating when I don't have a data connection and realize I forgot to make that one album I really wanted to listen to available offline.

The one thing I'm looking forward to trying is the wearable support on my Moto 360. Overall though, it's only been a day and I'm dying to go back to Rdio...but I don't want to pass up on 3 months of premium for a dollar. So far the stations seem a lot better on Spotify in comparison, they seem to play a lot more songs I actually enjoy.



A couple ogistical aspects to your post:


So, Spotify is not quite public yet, but the company has been growing exponentially since 2008 (valuation of $8B after the most recent

cash injection deal of $400 million with a fresh round of funding).


Problem 1: because of streaming rights and royalties, Spotify has yet turned a profit.


Problem 2: How much would the acquisition of Slcker radio financially impact the Spotify product and cash flow? They would be seriously indebted. Spotify legal department should consider an analyzation of the financial and social repercussions of such a drastic m&a.


Problem 3: Does Spotify have the business structure necessary to acqquire another streaming product? The mesh of the Slacker employees with Spotify developers could be harsh and lead to redundancies.


Problem 4: I wouldn't acquire Slacker just because of their company name... WTF? How can you brand and develop a product called "slacker"??? It has such a negative connotation, I woulnd't even consider it.


Great idea though,





I'll give a nod to this notion. I love Spotify and I'm moving to Slacker Free right now, but I could see swapping my subscription to paying for Slacker only. I can't find new (or obscrure) music that I like on Spotify and the "radio" is awful. I started playing Slacker and found a ton of songs I like in days. I think Slacker has a great service that would jive well with what Spotify has (also a great service in different aspects).


OP makes many good points, consolidation is coming.

@jsteinm1 Can you elaborate on how the radio is awful? I also just don't see how one can say they cannot find  new  or obscure music. I end up waisting half my day, if I allow it, being unable to decide what to listen to next. I actually feel overwhelm sometimes because there is too much to listen to and discover. This is where I am grateful for user playlist and spotify because it helps narrow down.


I will admit, this goes for any app, it would be nice to be able to add artist to a radio list or remove. Like or dislike based on artist or just the song.


My only complaint about spotify is it seems in one aspect it knows what I like but in other aspects it does not. Why do I say this?

When I first open up spotify to "Browse" I see playlist that I will never listen too and I would figure by now that the playlist displayed under Oview or New releases would be more taylored to my taste. What I would like to see is a like/dislike on play list so they don't show up again.


I also would like a section called "out of my comfort zone" or along that lines where music I don't normally listen too appears like those playlist I disliked in case I decide to listen or go thru for songs I may like.

It's been a while since I've used Spotify radio (6 months ago maybe?) but
for the type of music I listen to, mostly various EDM genres, it just
seemed like none of the songs that were played were quite what I was after.
It's totally possible that the EDM and maybe some other genres are really
lacking while other stations are pretty good; I can't speak for all of them.

On the other hand when I signed up for Slacker, there are about 3 or 4
stations on there that are about exactly what I want that I've found so
far. I just can't say the same about Spotify.

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