Slacker Officially Announces Service, Unveils Major Label Deals

Slacker, a recently-unveiled startup that aims to blend ubiquity with low-maintenance recommendations, officially announced their initiative at SXSW on Wednesday.

As previously revealed, the concept combines a web-based and portable recommendation service to offer well-tuned collections to busy, on-the-go users.  The concept currently features a beta version of a radio-based recommendation service, and compatible devices will be unveiled during the second half of this year.  Meanwhile, the startup team revealed content deals with a variety of labels, including Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and hundreds of independents.  Content from those sources will help to power the personalized radio services, which allow users to accept or reject songs in a streamed setting.

For the labels involved, the licensing move is a low-risk decision, and could potentially result in strong upside awareness and subsequent purchases.  “We are happy to be working with Slacker as they roll out innovative new services that meet consumer demand for both interactivity and portability, and help extend the reach of our artists,” said Thomas Hesse, president of Global Digital Business & US Sales at Sony BMG.   Meanwhile, the Slacker portable player system will lease Ku-band satellite bandwidth, currently used for technologies like GPS navigation and satellite TV.  That is a first for the music space, and satellite will be added as a recommendation connectivity point alongside WiFi and WiMax.  Overall, consumers will have the option to access as many as 10,000 dynamically generated stations, not unlike systems currently offered by Pandora and Last.fm.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio, on location in Austin, TX.