Important Changes for Slacker Users in Canada

  • 27 July 2016
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For our Canadian customers, there are some important changes coming to Slacker accounts being used on Sonos. As of today, the Slacker experience on Sonos for free subscribers will be limited to a certain number of track starts. What is a track start? Each time you begin a new song, it is counted as a track start, regardless if you play the song to completion.

With a free Slacker account on Sonos, Slacker will allow for 200 track starts before you are asked to upgrade your subscription. Once you reach 200 tracks starts, you'll receive an audio message notifying you that “once your track start reaches 600 plays, you will need to transition to a subscription”. After 600 track starts, you won’t be able to play anymore without a subscription. Subscription options include Slacker Radio Plus or Slacker Premium service levels, and you can find more information by visiting http://www.slacker.com.

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6 replies

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I'm kind-of surprised that Slacker is limiting their free service, even if it's only in Canada (for now). While their mobile app does use visual ads, they do also play audio ads, so if you're not paying attention to your phone, you're at least still getting some form of advertising.

I would be surprised if Slacker's free tier of service through Sonos didn't offer the same audio ads that they will play on a phone (I've never used Slacker through Sonos as a free user, only as a paying customer). Maybe the level of audio ads in Canada isn't as plentiful as it is down here in the States? Not sure... it just seems like an unusual move.

My question would be if the 600 song start limit resets after a certain amount of time... 6 months? a year? Or is it really forever?
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My question would be if the 600 song start limit resets after a certain amount of time... 6 months? a year? Or is it really forever?

As far as we know, it doesn't reset. I'll check to make sure for you, but the details we've received indicate it's on a per account bases and doesn't reset.
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Wow... well, I used to be a big Slacker fan (even used to chat regularly with the head of their support team)... but as other services changed/added features, I left the service and have since found myself using those other services instead... but this just seems a bit extreme for them. There's got to be a major cost they're facing in Canada that would cause them to take an action like this... big enough that advertising alone isn't covering it.
Perhaps Slacker should re-cast "free" as "trial".

Really, the services are missing a bet. Since the services know the approximate location of the player, commercials could be sold and targeted on a global basis. A home based online ad sales agent in Albany, New York, could sell local adds to a fish and chips shop in London. At this point, it's fairly routine technology. My Pandora free account is serving local ads to me.

"National" advertisers, such as Coke, want to target regions with ads. Nationals run test ads restricted to certain markets. As such, they have my local radio station block out national ads on the Internet radio feed. My station drops in a little announcement loop asking me to "stay tuned" while an advertisement is running -- if they don't have a local ad to run in that slot. This can be a little clumsy at times because the loop and local ad insertion is not well synchronized with the national ads resulting in clipped local ads or programming. Cable TV has been selling local and national ads for years.
I'm choked at this move and see it as a huge mistake by Slacker. The dumb thing about this decision is all I have to do is run slacker on my phone and plug it into auxiliary input on my play 5 and boom slacker is streaming again. A pain yes but if I want to run a certain station I like it can be done. They should allow users to have a commercial laced option that is free.

I also agree slacker needs to be moved from the free music service area to trial on the sonos App.
I have upgraded to Slacker plus yet Sonos is not recognizing it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.