Pulling down music from the birds is the same trick that Sirius and XM manage, but they cost money. Slacker is free once you purchase the hardware. How is that possible? Why, the very same way broadcast television and radio are free: advertising. If you're willing to sit through some ads, you get free music. In fact, the music is merely there to keep you interested enough that you'll continue to listen through the spots – of course, many of us are obsessive channel flippers (or worse yet, NPR junkies). You can have your Slacking and no commercials, too. For about half the price of Sirius, your $7.50 per month will keep the music rolling in and offer you unlimited skips and no ads. The price is so much lower because Slacker doesn't have big loans for satellites to pay off. The quality is in the MP3 realm, and sounds decent, which is encouraging. Some of us with finely tuned ears have a hard time listening to SatRad because of the digital compression artifacts. We'll see what happens if Slacker is able to popularize it's offerings, and deliver on the promise they're dangling tantalizingly in front of our noses.
[Source: Kicking Tires]