Pandora sucks and Slacker is underated

Seriously, if you’ve just been offended, you seriously need to get your hearing checked. You probably would benefit from also seeing a mental health specialist. Now, if you’re still here, I’m gonna tell you why you need to drop that Pandora crap and make the switch on over to Slacker.

First of all, there’s a lot of growing interest in various types of online radios. I suppose a lot of this can be traced back to the once popular XM radio. Basically, the premise is to be able to simply enjoy quality programming without all of the bothers of endless commercials or banter. The problem with many of the alternatives is audio quality. For those whoever listened to XM vs Sirius, might know what I’m talking about. The quality was very different between the two players.

Well, here we are in 2011 and once again the war is on. And when it comes to audio quality, Slacker kicks some serious ass vs Pandora. If for no other reason, you need to switch to Slacker just so you can remember how music is supposed to sound. Seriously, I love my music to sound good. And I’ve tried the various types of lossless formats when I rip my albums. But in the end, I always tend to settle back on the highest quality MP3 I can get, simply because even with 20TB+ of storage space in my house, I can’t carry it all with me in my pocket. And for the most part, this has been fine for me. The bigger issue has been what I play my music on and what I listen to it with. I hate iPods. I really do. They lure me in with their ├╝ber cute looks and neat features, but always disappoint with terrible sound quality. The same goes with most of the headphones out there. Sure, you can go down the path of getting the latest Bose noise canceling headphones, but when you actually get to hear your music on superior ones, costing half the price, you’ll want to slit your wrist. Well, why should your station be different? The sound quality ought to be important to you or you really need to stop reading this.

The second major reason you really need to make the switch is portability. Let’s face it, we’re not so connected that we don’t worry about being without coverage. Right? Have you experienced any dropped calls recently? Have you been where you couldn’t get onto a hot spot? Sure. It happens all the time. Now imagine if it happens while you’re driving. I know, I know, I’m just talking crazy talk now.

Well, Slacker allows you to actually cache up to 20 stations on your mobile device, assuming it’s an iPod Touch, iPhone, Android phone or something else that’s newer than 5 years old. Caching these stations mean you  can be completely without Internet access and still be able to listen to your high quality Slacker Radio without skips or anything like that. Hmm… it’s just like you ripped the music and stored it all locally. The big difference is that you didn’t have to actually go and buy all of that music.

But what about ease of use? After all, Pandora people will tell you how easy it is to start using it. Bullshit! You start by entering a couple of artists you like and it will try to create a custom radio station from that. Well, I happen to like some Slipknot songs. It doesn’t mean I want to listen to every group that associates with them. And I certainly don’t want to keep listening to just Slipknot. The reality is that with Pandora, I have to skip songs a lot. But there are issues with skipping. First of all, you can only skip up to 12 times per day with their basic service. And if you upgrade to Pandora One for $36/year, you can skip up to 6 songs per hour. Or you can follow the directions from their expert Customer Support and change channels if you need to skip more than that. And if I’m not mistaken, you can only listen to something like 40 hours of music per month with their free service. Not such a great thing if you like to listen to your music at work and also happen to work more than 40 hours in a month. I tend to work 100+ hours per week. I’d only be able to enjoy music a few days per month like that.

Well, I have friends who have simply spent hundreds of hours trying to fine-tune their Pandora stations. I tried to do the same thing and finally settled on using the Quick Mix feature. It’s okay, but I still find myself skipping a lot more than I’m allowed.

With Slacker, you simply click on a station according to your favorite genres– sort of like how regular radio works. But then you can click on “edit” and mark the various artists and songs you like and/or dislike. Or you can click on the button to create a station, just like with Pandora. But rather than having to skip past the artists and songs you don’t like, with this feature on Slacker you can get a list of everything and simply toggle the like/disklike flag. Do it all at once without having to listen to annoying songs or hitting your skip limit.

Once you’ve created or edited the ideal station, you can publish your station and share it with your friends and others. And seriously, if you start sharing Slacker Radio with others, they will be your friends, even if they previously hated your guts or posted “kick me” notes on your back– especially if you’re the one who saves them from looking like an idiot, raving about Pandora.

So, what are you waiting for? Go to Slacker and start listening today. You can thank me later.

9 thoughts on “Pandora sucks and Slacker is underated


  1. Wow, I didn’t think the quality would be noticably better but it REALLY is, the first song came up and I was stunned by how much better the quality was. It also makes it easier to favor certain bands and songs and plays things closer to the band you choose. Thank you for saving me from the pain of Pandora.


  2. First off, I admit I’m biased but I’m willing to give something a try if there’s enough of a buzz about it, so here I go…

    After being a long time Pandora fan, I decided to research the differences between it and Slacker radio. I kept hearing about Slacker from many people since it comes as bloatware on so many smartphones. Nearly every comparison I’ve read has stated Pandora has higher quality sound than Slacker, but both you and your sole commenter seem to think otherwise. This is what convinced me to try it for myself, if for no other reason to affirm my conclusion that you’re wrong. I searched for the track that I usually use for audio quality comparisons but it started playing a different song by the artist (I’m used to this with Pandora, no worries). But as I listened to this song and read it’s details, I realized the track itself was MISLABLED! (It was a remix of the song but labeled as being on the original album) My bias aside, -1 for Slacker. I skipped ahead a few tracks to try to find a correctly labeled one from this artist and it found one (I think) but it sat at 0:00/0:00 and didn’t play. After I hit play again to try to start it, it gave me an error and skipped to another song. -2 Slacker. It skipped to something similar enough to let me compare audio quality and I still find Pandora to have superior sound. +1 Pandora

    Slacker Radio: -2
    Pandora Radio: +1

    I realize these may be isolated incidents, but Slacker is far from perfect (further than Pandora) and I won’t be switching anytime soon. Maybe I’ll give Slacker another shot in a few months…


  3. SLACKER ALL THE WAY!! I used to swear by Pandora until someone showed me Slacker. At first I didn’t like it because i was still used to Pandora. I gave it a chance and ended up buying a subscription which is more than i could ever say about Pandora! Slacker is superior in every way.


  4. Thanks for the tip – I just logged on to Pandora for the first time in ages, mostly because they were constantly slipping in lousy tracks. But now their interface has changed, and EVERY track was sh*t. I put in “In Walked Bud” by Thelonious Monk and the first 3 tracks that came up were this horrible smooth jazz crap. Found your blog, went to Slacker, put in the same song and right out of the gate it was Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley…the music obviously associated with the track, and appropriately so. “Music Genome Project,” my ass – they’re just trying to sell you some warmed over rubbish. Like the labels before them, Pandora gets what it deserves…


  5. I’ve been a Slacker for years (plus I’ve listened to them for years too). Ever since I bought my first 15 station G1 off of woot.com I was hooked. After that I bought the 40 station version of the G1. This was quite a while before iPhones came out. They’re the greatest. I now listen to Slacker in the car on the G1 and on my iPad at home. I tried Pandora but it wasn’t as “smart”…

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