AOL Radio will now be powered by Slacker, including interactive features and custom artist stations. The arrangement finalizes AOL Radio’s earlier move to replace CBS Radio with Slacker as its main interactive audio partner.
However, AOL Radio will still feature approximately 230 radio stations programmed by professional music curators, including DJs and music critics, along with new stations including ESPN Radio and ABC News.
As part of its makeover, the new AOL Radio is getting a new interface, displaying album information for audio selections, plus the 20 most-played songs in the relevant genre. As with other Slacker-powered platforms, listeners can skip up to six songs per hour.
AOL Radio is also reducing the amount of audio advertising heard during digital airplay by half, with more emphasis on less intrusive display advertising that appears alongside the AOL Radio player. Total audio advertising will be limited to about three minutes per hour.
Beginning next month, AOL Radio is also introducing two subscription options offering more customized music programming, courtesy of its partnership with Slacker. The first, Radio Plus, will be totally advertising-free -- with a variety of interactive audio options, including unlimited song skipping, lyrics on demand, and offline playback mode (for listening on mobile devices outside mobile signal range). Radio Plus will cost $3.99 per month.
The second, Premium Radio, will offer all the same features, along with on-demand listening and custom playlists for $9.99 per month. An updated version of the AOL Radio app should be available for download for iPad, iPhone, and iPod from the Apple App Store in the next week or so. AOL Radio plans to introduce an Android app in the near future.