Hoping to kick AOL Radio's profile—and performance—up a notch, AOL Music will be relaunching the service this summer, powered by Slacker. According to AOL's press release, the new service, which is currently powered by CBS, will have more features, heightened personalization capabilities, and fewer ads.
Users will have a choice of three tiers of service, including a basic free version that's ad-supported and two premium ad-free subscription services, which we assume will mirror Slacker's Radio Plus service (with unlimited songs skips and the ability to store songs locally) and Slacker Premium Radio (which adds the ability to play songs, albums and artists on demand). AOL didn't state pricing for the new AOL Radio offerings, but Slacker Radio Plus costs $4 per month, while Premium Radio is $10 per month.
In addition to music, the deal with Slacker will let users read album reviews, access artist biographies, and review station histories, depending on the service tier selected. When AOL Radio relaunches, Slacker will get an immediate bump in its number of users plus access to AOL Music's original editorial content across all its services.
AOL Radio's iPhone app will also be relaunched late this summer, and support for Android and some other platforms will follow. The company says the new player will continue to host AOL's 250 original music stations, as well as additional new Slacker programming including stations and content from ESPN Radio and ABC News Radio.
—James K. Willcox