Hot on the heels of AT&T’s new data pricing plans, Slacker Radio released the new version 2.0 of their app which will permit listeners to cache their stations while on a wifi network. Then the stations can be listened to without using up precious data from the 3G network.
On the surface this may sound like a great alternative to Pandora or last.fm. But it must be noted that the caching feature is only available with a paid Slacker Radio Plus subscription. Users of the free service can take advantage of a 14-day trial of caching.
Under the monthly paid subscription model Slacker Radio caching seems a whole lot more like the Rhapsody service, which provides access to unlimited music for $10 a month. Rhapsody also lets you download as much music as you like to your smartphone to listen to without using a wifi or cellular data connection. Now, it’s true that Rhapsody is less radio-like than Slacker, in that you choose the artists and albums. However, the service also features Rhapsody Radio, although it isn’t cacheable and isn’t based upon user preferences.
Overall Slacker caching looks like a middle ground between listening to streaming Slacker (or Pandora or last.fm) and listening to a playlist or music podcast stored on your smartphone. That might be worth the $3.99 – $4.99 a month for some folks, especially since it’s cheaper than the data overage charge.