Friday, May 10, 2013

Slacker Sez Pandora Music Cap Benefits Them

Jim Cady
Over the last few months, Slacker Radio has made some big moves to step outside the shadow of rival smart radio service Pandora — and it’s doing so with some help from Pandora itself, according to Slacker Radio CEO Jim Cady.

“We’ve been able to monetize users with free accounts without placing limits on how many hours you can listen to radio content before getting capped,” said Cady in an interview with VentureBeat. He’s referring to the new restrictions Pandora implemented in late February, which limits users with free accounts to a 40-hour-a-month listening cap because the company’s copyright licensing costs are too high to maintain. It’s a curious move, as anyone who uses Pandora often enough to reach the listening cap is obviously a dedicated user, and normally, you’d want to keep such people happy so they wouldn’t venture to other competitors.

“There’s been record growth since February, and we’ve definitely seen an uptick in users around March,” Cady told Tom Cheredar at VentureBeat. “At a certain point, you just have to put two and two together and realize that Pandora users are leaving [for Slacker].”

Slacker provides free, ad-supported custom smart radio stations composed of over 13 million songs and talk radio programming. The company also offers two tiers of premium subscription services, which gives users ad-free listening, unlimited song skipping, access to ESPN and ABC News radio, and more for $4 or $10 per month. So basically, it’s a slightly altered streaming music service than Pandora.

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