AOL Radio re-launched 10/19, now powered by Slacker. The new iteration boasts 50% less audio advertising, a longer player sleep timeout, new custom artist stations, ESPN Radio, ABC News Radio (coming soon) and improved listening features. The new service adds Slacker’s originally programmed stations and AOL’s 200+ stations—totaling a 10 million-plus song catalog. The company will insert about three minutes of audio ads an hour. Pandora airs three 15-second commercials an hour.
“AOL Radio powered by Slacker” offers on-demand music, offline play on mobile, custom artist stations (they can bookmark or ban songs), access to album reviews and a free mobile service.
“When AOL Radio announced its partnership with Slacker this summer we anticipated greatly improved web and mobile products, but what we’re giving listeners today is a completely new AOL Radio experience that exceeds our most optimistic expectations. Since many of our updates were driven by user feedback, we think our current listeners will be thrilled with the new offering. New listeners will be surprised at the evolution of AOL Radio and its vast programming choices now matched up with expansive features,” said Lisa Namerow, GM of AOL Music & AOL Radio.
The new features and reduction in ads are aimed at reversing a 25% drop in AOL Radio users from a year ago, Namerow told Bloomberg. The service averages about 3 million users a month, she said.
Next month, in addition to the free service, AOL Radio powered by Slacker will offer two subscription products. Radio Plus ($3.99/mo.) will feature completely ad-free listening without audio or banner advertisements, as well as unlimited song skips, song lyrics, and offline listening for mobile. Premium Radio ($9.99/mo) will have all the features of Radio Plus as well as on-demand listening by song, album, artist or custom playlist.
AOL Radio powered by Slacker for the web is now available at aolradio.com. The free AOL Radio by Slacker App for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch can be downloaded for free at the Apple App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aol-radio/id281913144). A new app for Android is expected later this year.
RBR-TVBR observation: The 25% drop in listening can pretty much be blamed on Pandora. This re-vamp addresses that and does include personalized music channels with quite a bit of info on each artists—along with a variety of pre-programmed channels ready to be clicked.