Blog Post

Ambitious Music Firm Launches Radio Service; Player and Satellite Service Later; $13.5 Million Funds

We mentioned about this new digital music company in a post on Yahoo Music last month. Slacker, based in San Diego, certainly has big ambitions, judging by its new website and service plans it announced. And it has some veterans of the industry behind it: Dennis Mudd, former CEO of MusicMatch–which was sold to Yahoo in 2004 for $160 million–along with Jonathan Sasse (formerly of iRiver), and Jim Cady (formerly of Rio). It seem the company did raise a round of funding in March last year (according to an SEC filing), though I don’t have the details. Of course each of these execs have tons of money at their personal disposal. (See below).
The radio service went live in beta today, and a separate Wi-Fi-enabled pocketable gadget that will be able to play the personalized selections will be available in the early summer, with models ranging roughly from $150 to $299, the company said. A car kit that will deliver the music via satellite signals will be available later in the year at a price yet to be disclosed, reports this AP story.
The basic Slacker radio service is ad-supported and free. A premium level of service that is set to launch in the second quarter will cost $7.50 per month, eliminate advertising and give users more flexibility and features. The Slacker Personal Radio Player, which is about the size of a deck of cards, sports a 4-inch color screen and can also store and play back digital music and videos that a user owns.
It will have some tough competition, not the least from iTunes, and then the possibly-merged XM-Sirius, besides the mobile operators.
Wired News: The company will lease portions of Ku-band satellite bandwidth (which also used for GPS and satellite TV) to offer several channels to mobile users who own the Slacker device…it will use a small receiver, similar in size to the ones used by XM and Sirius, to add this feature using optional docking stations/receivers for the car and home.
Updated: VentureBeat reports that Slacker has raised $13.5 million in venture capital from Sevin Rosen, Austin Ventures and Mission Ventures.