Slacker Radio iPhone Application Review



Hot on the heels of the Slacker app for BlackBerry announcement the other day, comes a Slacker Radio application for the iPhone. I love my Slacker G2 Personal Radio, so I was anxious to check out how this free application on the iPhone compared to it.

To use this app, you’ll need a Slacker Radio account. Don’t worry, it’s free. If you happen to already have a premium account, you can use it to login to the iPhone app. Here are some of the features:

• Free music library featuring millions of songs
• High-quality stereo playback from any wireless connection
• Over 100 professionally programmed genre stations
• Create custom artist stations
• Fine tune stations to play more of the music you like
• View artist biographies and photos
• View album art and reviews
• “Peek Ahead” artist and album preview
• Pause and skip songs
• Rate songs as favorites
• Ban the songs and artists you don’t like


When you first launch it, there is a 30-40 second wait while the application boots up and loads the first song. The bad part is that if you exit the app to do something else and come right back in, you still have to sit through that wait again. If your the impatient type, this will probably drive you nuts.


The first time you launch the Slacker player, you’ll be in your station listing screen.  Your favorite and custom stations are shown at the top. Custom channels are created on the Slacker website. As far as I can tell, there isn’t a way to create one through the iPhone app.


When you scroll the station screen, you will see a list of different genres of music. Tapping the genre name will take you to another screen…


With individual stations for that genre. Tapping a station will let you listen to music in that station. To add that station to your favorites, you tap the station title bar at the top of the display.


From there you can add it to your favorites. It doesn’t look like there is a way to remove favorites through the app… Yes folks, there is a Jack Bauer Slacker station…


You can also search for specific songs and stations using the search feature.


The now playing screen shows the album art for the currently playing song, along with the title and artist’s name. On the Slacker G2 Personal Radio, the now playing screen shows the name of the next song to play. The iPhone app doesn’t do this, but it does give you a ‘peek’ at the next song. Check out the image above. See the album art sliver on the right side?


It’s the album art for the next song to play. You can drag the top album to the Left to see more of the bottom album. If you drag it too far, it is like pressing the skip button and will load and play that track. Kind of cool.

Skipping to the next song with this app works the same as on the personal radio. If you don’t have a premium account, you can skip 6 songs per hour, per station. Premium users can skip as many times as they like.

slacker-iphone-6 slacker-iphone-7

You can read more info about the artist and album. If you like what you hear, there’s a link to launch iTunes to display the artist’s albums and songs for purchase.

The main difference between using your iPhone to listen to Slacker Radio and having an actual Slacker G2 device, is that you can’t copy a song to your library by pressing the heart button. Pressing this button or the ban button will just cause the song to either play more often, or not at all.

I still have the original (non 3G) iPhone, so I was curious as to how well this streaming application would perform on AT&T’s EDGE network. So far so good… I’ve been listening to it for several hours today. The audio quality is really good. I can’t tell an obvious difference between listening to my regular tracks through the iPod app with the streaming songs through Slacker. No clipping, hissing, or anything like that.

At one point this morning, it quit playing and was having troubles loading music. Yay EDGE! But so far this afternoon that hasn’t happened again. There is a lag when you skip a song and it has to load a new one. It can take 15-20 seconds to start playing the new song after pressing skip. If you’re listening regularly though, the next song will queue up normally, without a noticeable lag.

I’m not ditching my Slacker G2 radio anytime soon, but this free iPhone app is an easy way for people to check out Slacker’s service if they’ve not yet tried it. Good stuff, I’m a big fan.

The Slacker Radio application for iPhone and Touch can be found here:


Product Information

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Can save favorite stations
  • Good audio quality
  • Lag when starting application
  • Lag skipping tracks
  • Can't copy songs to your library
Posted in: iOS
{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Jason January 14, 2009, 8:09 am

    I’ve been using the Pandora app on iPhone and really like that. Sounds like the two are very similar. I’ll have to give Slacker a spin. Has anybody out there taken the time to compared the two?

    • Julie January 14, 2009, 8:21 am

      I haven’t tried Pandora… I’ll have to do that.

  • Stevie W January 14, 2009, 8:29 am

    The LastFM application is a very similar application for the phone/touch, although you can also log into LastFM and see the tracks you have “scrobbled” and keep a record of played tracks and histories along with other web2.0 goodies. Both slacker and LastFM are good tools to try new music tho.

  • Rob Tillotson January 14, 2009, 11:39 am

    @Jason: The main difference between Pandora and Slacker is how they select content. Pandora is basically a showcase of the Music Genome Project, which aims to come up with a “genetic code” for music which identifies similarities and influences without relying on arbitrary genre tags. With Pandora you start with an artist or song, and your channel evolves from that using the music genome to find similar songs, adjusted by your preferences.

    Slacker, on the other hand, is sort of a hybrid of the Pandora approach with traditional radio. Slacker’s approach to music similarity is based more on artists than on individual songs, and you create and customize your own stations primarily by selecting what artists play on them, and marking songs as favorite or banned.

    Also, in addition to customizable stations, Slacker comes with a lineup of genre stations which are managed by professional programmers — while the actual playback is automatic and you can tweak it somewhat, the master list of tracks available is up to the Slacker programmers.

    Both services have a large catalog of music; I think Pandora tends to have more trance/electronica, but I’m not 100% sure about that. Pandora is probably better for music discovery (since it can theoretically pick from its entire library based on the characteristics of what you’re listening to), while Slacker is more like “customizable satellite radio”. Of course Slacker also has the portable players that work offline, and premium services that allow unlimited skips and song saving.

    Both of them are great services, and it’s hard to go wrong either way 🙂

  • Jason January 15, 2009, 12:49 pm

    Thanks Rob!

  • bobcanino January 16, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Have been testing Pandora with: 1. DJ Screw; 2. Sunn o))) and 3. oldchool fav: Julie London. Pandora offered a nice surprise, Dorothy Dandridge (unexpected surprise) in the Julie station. I’ll keep testing but am happy so far. Also very happy Pandora is developing for the Pre. I was walking between wifi points and Pandora mustve have been DLing when it found net.

  • me February 14, 2009, 3:09 am

    to delete a favorite:in the now playing window, touch the top bar. your option will be -remove from favorites, instead of +add to favorites

  • Collin June 21, 2009, 12:17 am

    It will not let me on with my iPhone it says it has a hold on my account

  • Edmund Nussear, III August 5, 2009, 10:33 pm

    at the reccommendation, rather than boot up my old Nokia/with radio player; T-Mobile suggests download Blackberry World…
    down load Slacker Radio–it’s free.
    Three times I have done this, and Three Times I have the sad
    situation happen.
    Blackberry World…Slacker Radio….”try slacker the good stuff”
    before hearing how Slacker FREE sounds.
    Learn that there are six skips per hour. First we tried Religious theme; it was like there was a scratch “on the disc”,
    SKIP. out of the seven songs; I was only able to hear one
    selection completely.

    Tried again, and once more. Closed and ‘un-loaded’ “Slacker” . Closed and ‘unloaded’ Blacckberry World.
    Next day went thru the entire singular duo download again.
    Exactly the same thing happened that next day; TURNED IT
    ALL OFF. Waited couple days; REPEAT/problems: Repeated.
    T-Mobile suggested speaking (quote/unqote) directly to the
    contractor directrly.
    Here I am. What do you suggest. call..write….E_Mail;
    I would really like to see what Slacker “jr”, does, before I consider
    upgrading to Slacker ‘better’;

    So far; Slacker “jr” isn’t better enough; to consider EVER considering
    Slacker better.

    Youre move……….what should I do.

    Edmund. ????

  • Murkle September 19, 2009, 4:38 am

    I’ve tried both Slacker and Pandora for the I-phone. They both work off the concept of customizable “radio” stations, and allow 6 skips per station per hour for free. The only real differences between the two is Slacker has comedy, Pandora doesn’t. Also, you have a better chance at playing a specific song when searching Slacker. Pandora won’t do this, they’ll just play something similar or something by the same artist. Even Slacker is kind of a coin toss with this, but I’ve noticed the odds are much better. However, I have more problems with Slacker than Pandora. It frequently says there is a hold on my account, and it starts to count the 6 allowed skips as a total rather than per station. It’s very annoying, and a deal breaker for me. Their FAQ on this topic has not been much help.

  • fraudalert August 6, 2010, 7:45 pm

    Slacker has the worst customer support I have ever experienced, and I have experienced a lot. I do not recommend signing up for the ‘7 day free trial’ as it involves a 1 year subscription that you can’t cancel if you have any problem signing into your account. They will charge your credit card despite explicit instructions not to do so. See similar examples of this on their forums. Email ‘support’ is a non existent frustrating cut and paste experience that doesn’t even address the concern. Support is literally contemptuous and unhelpful. Attempts to follow-up original emails to receive some sort of support are not responded to except by further cut and pastes. Complaints about customer service are neither addressed nor properly escalated. If you never have to deal with customer support, you may find the service acceptable. Only sign up month to month until you are satisfied with the service and support. “No refunds will be given after the 7-day cancellation period has passed. Subscriptions will automatically renew if not cancelled.”

  • punanamous June 12, 2011, 4:46 am

    I just purchased the HTC Eve 4g phone apnd downloaded the slacker app. One big headache after another. Takes eons to start, songs stop midway…may/maynot play after 60+ seconds, crashes, freezes, picture shown isn’t of the artist playing, nothing but crap!

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