adStream: Spot-break rhythms on Slacker Radio

slacker logo canvasWe spent an interesting hour stalking ads on Slacker Radio, to check spot load and see (or hear) which brands were extending their campaigns onto Slacker, which brands itself “the most complete music service on earth.”

We found rock-steady regularity in Slacker’s ad pacing. Starting anonymously with an unregistered instance of the service, we dove into house-curated stations. We were greeted with a pre-roll video ad for Zillow, the online real-estate listing service. As consumers, we’re not over the moon about pre-rolls of any sort (who is?), but as business observers we recognize their high value.

The Zillow spot (see below) was a 30-second pitch. Viewing it was a counterpoint to our observation of Trulia‘s digital ad campaign, which we covered here. Zillow and Trulia and the market-leading online home-finding services; Zillow is historically the bigger advertiser.


Moving into the music, we were eager to observe how Slacker handled rapid-fire skips. Throughout this exercise we did not allow any song to finish. Each station allows six song skips, and you can reset the skip meter by switching to another station. (This scheme is typical for services that provide limited skips.)

Slacker was a model of regularity, serving an audio spot break whenever we skipped down to two remaining skips. Each spot break contained two ads, and it was the same sponsorship each time: T-Mobile first, The Home Depot second.

adstream - slacker - ad units in song panel 638w

Slacker’s song-list panel includes square banners for its audio ads

T-Mobile is leaning into promotion of its “Unleash” campaign, which promotes unmetered streaming of selected music services (Slacker is one of them), which is all part of the company’s Uncarrier branding. (That’s a lot of “un.”) Slacker is a natural media buy for T-Mobile, and the ad’s tagline — “Music has never liked limits” — makes a clever double message about song skips and metered data plans.

Switching to a logged-in account (but still a free account subject to commercials), we observed the same pattern of ad breaks through several playlists, and the same two sponsors. However, T-Mobile appeared in a full-page takeover in this view, using Slacker’s web interface.

adstream - slacker - t-mobile takeover 638w



Brad Hill

One Comment

  1. Great article! I have tried all the online music services to include the new Amazon Prime streaming. I absolutely love Slacker and listen all the time. I am so hooked I put music on all night via my IPod and ear buds and listen to soft music. It is true about the ads so I am paying 9.99 a month for no ads and unlimited skips, and this is the best money I have spent for what I receive. Just an outstanding company and well worth the try for anyone add or add free.

Comments are closed.