When we unveiled the new AOL Radio powered by Slacker last week, we believed we were offering music lovers something great. With half the commercial time of the old service, a library about ten times the size of the industry leader's, playlists curated by top critics and DJs, and totally overhauled design and features, we flipped the on switch with high hopes.
Immediate feedback came with the tech and music media's first impression stories. Billboard said, "With AOL's reach and the high quality of Slacker's radio service, AOL Radio has become a formidable competitor for Pandora and iHeartRadio." Gizmodo called out its "awesome new interface." Bloomberg Businessweek said it "cuts advertising by half to challenge Pandora." Consumer Reports, MacWorld, MediaBeat, Betanews, and many others seemed to agree that the new AOL Radio had the look of a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
We were thrilled, needless to say, but important as they are, industry journalists are not the audience we're seeking to delight. And a reporter's analytical eye is different from a music lover's heart.
So we've obsessively monitored our comments section to hear what our listeners think of the new service. And, yes, we've had some feedback about a small browser glitch or two, and we've needed to guide some listeners to buttons that had been moved and whatnot, but for the most part – well, read for yourself:
"Digging the new player and less commercials, guys! It's a winner thus far. Keep up the good work!"
"The new AOL Radio app powered by Slacker is amazing!! Beautiful new user interface. I'll be using this more than iheartradio."
"I love the new format and the look of the site, and of course the music. Just wonderful. Thank you so much"
"Congratulations on your new improved AOL Radio Station for iPhone. Whatever you have done, your radio app is tops and I listen to it exclusively."
"I must admit, I'm digging the new update to the iPhone app. Seems a lot smoother and no commercials at all yet."
When we rebuilt our service with Slacker the top priority was to delight our longtime listeners who appreciated our curated stations and our customer responsiveness despite the drawbacks of the old service. We're not hanging any "Mission Accomplished" banners yet, but so far so good.
Of course, we think new listeners will be delighted, too. That's why we're asking users of other services to take the Pespsi challenge. Try us out for a day or even just an hour. See if one of our critic or DJ playlists can beat the music mix generated by an algorithm or by your friends. Experience the surprise selections that can be found in a library of over 10 million tracks. Find out how easy it is to get to the music you'll love. Come, have a listen!