Thursday, March 15, 2007

Slacker: New Recommendation Engine Radio Service Announced At SXSW

Slacker logo

SXSW has delivered us news of a new web-based and portable recommendation service geared towards on-the-move users, called Slacker. This will expand on the concept of internet radio recommendation services like Pandora by introducing compatibility with hand-held devices as well as Slacker's own proprietary device (which will be announced later this year). The project is currently in its beta version, but has already announced partnerships with major labels including Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, as well as a hefty load of independent labels.

The Slacker program will utilize Ku-band satellite bandwidth (commonly used for GPS navigation and satellite TV) as a connectivity point for recommendations, along with Wi-Fi and WiMax. A satellite car kit will be revealed soon.

Slacker's founders include three former music startup CEOs (Dennis Mudd, Musicmatch), Jim Cady (Rio) and Jonathan Sasse (iRiver).

The basic service is ad-supported (visual, not in-between songs) and free to users. In the future, if you pay a $7.50/month fee, all songs that you mark as favorites as you hear them on the radio stations will be saved to your computer, and the ads will be removed from the service.

Sounds pretty awesome, but with all this connectivity, when do we start worrying that our every move is being tracked? I don't really care to let these Slackers know when I'm stopping by the head shop or Target, thanks. Will they track the CDs I buy, the shows I go to?

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