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