When I encountered Slacker personal Internet radio, my first thought was "why did they call it Slacker?" Most hard working people have a negative opinion of anyone they would consider a slacker. After a few days of playing with the free personal radio service from Slacker.com I finally think I understand the name. I'll explain my thoughts on that by the end of this article. Note: If you have trouble getting the Web player to finish loading you can click the link in the top frame to "turn off the top frame."
Awesome Sound:My next thought was, since I've used LAUNCHcast, Pandora, last.fm, and other free Internet radio services that allow me to personalize them, " why do I need a new free personal radio option?" The moment Slacker.com started playing I had part of my answer -- It sounded fantastic. Slacker.com offers CD quality sound for free, while most free personal radio services either don't offer CD quality sound, or you need a paid subscription to get it. Since the service is only available with CD quality sound, you will need a broadband connection to use it.
Lots of Stations:Slacker.com is approaching nearly 100 professionally programmed genre stations covering all kinds of music and over 10,000 artist stations. You can personalize any of the stations so the music matches your tastes exactly.
Coming Soon:There are two features that are not available yet (at this writing), but are coming later this year that will make Slacker.com totally unique and very desirable for many music fans. One is a portable device that will allow you to take Slacker.com personal radio anywhere you go. The other is WiFi and satellite service that will allow the personal radio to always have fresh music on the personal player wherever you go.
Portable Device:Obviously, and unfortunately, the Slacker.com portable music player will not be free. However, it will offer a lot for the projected price tag. It will be "refillable" by WiFi and it will have a 4 inch full color screen to display album art, artist, and track information. The personal players will start at $149.
Free satellite Service:This part blew me away when I heard the satellite service would be free. It's not satellite radio, and it's not streaming, but it will allow you to get fresh music on the personal device when you are in your car. The free satellite service will require you to purchase a car kit.
So Why Slacker?This is not the official answer, but it's what my slacker tendencies tell me. I have three MP3 players (all were free, by the way) and I almost never use any of them. The problem is that keeping fresh music on the players is a chore, and I can only listen to same set of songs so many times. I just don't have the time to keep the music as fresh as I would like.
I realized that if I decide to get a Slacker.com personal player, it will essentially keep itself updated and all I have to do is choose a new station or do a little customizing. Of course, I can do the same for the free Web based or the free desktop player and that is totally free. I guess I truly am a slacker!