Slacker (slacker.com) is a free service that lets you specify the music which interests you and create a personal station that streams that type of music. Like Pandora Radio (summer ’09 issue, page 62), Slacker Radio makes it easy for you to create your station. You can begin by simply naming your favorite song or artist. These two Web sites are extremely popular, and both offer a free app that lets you access your stations or create new ones directly from the iPhone and iPod touch.
Slacker’s music catalog has over two million tracks, which is several times larger than Pandora’s, according to Slacker. Both sites now occasionally insert a short audio commercial between songs, and both offer a fee-based upgrade that eliminates this advertising. Pandora’s upgrade costs $36 per year; Slacker’s is $3.99 per month. Slacker’s fee-based service also gives you unlimited song requests, lyrics to the songs, and unlimited skips. This allows you to go immediately to the next song if you don’t like the one currently playing.
I like using both Pandora and Slacker. My favorite station is a light classical station I created on both of them. However, the selections they play are different enough that I like having both of them available.