Later tonight, at an event in New York, online music service Slacker Radio plans to unveil a major upgrade to its service that will turn it from an Internet radio service into an on-demand music platform similar to Rhapsody, MOG and Rdio. Right now, Slacker only allows users to set specific songs and band as the basis for their custom radio stations (similar to Pandora), but users don’t have control over the actual songs that will play in these stations. Now, for $9.99 per month, Slacker users will be able to subscribe to Slacker Premium Radio and pick the exact songs and albums they want to hear.
This puts Slacker on a direct collision course with similar services, all of which also charge around $9.99 for a similar feature set. The on-demand service will launch in October and, just like most competing service, will allow users to save their music locally for offline listening. This new functionality will be available for iOS devices, Android and Blackberry.
As we noted last month, in the battle between the large streaming music services, we are getting to the point where most of these services offer very similar features. Instead of features, we will likely see these services use the size of their music catalog as their main way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. According to a spokesperson for Slacker, the company will offer four times as many songs for on-demand listening as its “leading competitor.”