Slacker Radio for Windows Phone 7
Search for a band, tap their name (Volbeat, for example), and Slacker begins buffering your first track and looking for other songs it thinks you'll like -- which you can like or ban while they play. Tap the album cover and Slacker loads band information, including a bio, album review, and lyrics from LyricFind. The free version allows you to favorite stations Slacker creates from your searches, while subscribers can also access their custom channels.
One big downside right now is that Slacker Radio doesn't run in the background. Tap the Windows button, and your track quits playing. To add salt to the wound, if you press back to return to the app it actually starts playing the next track in your queue -- even though it says 'resuming,' which I typically assume means a music app is going to pick up where it left off. Even if you tap to share with a friend, Slacker cuts out as soon as Windows Phone 7 loads up the email screen.
Still, Slacker is a solid app -- and you can use it without creating an account unlike the Last.fm app. The music library is massive, and the $3.99 a month price tag is hard to argue with. Bonus points for sending me on a detour through Bat Country, Slacker.
- Unobtrusive ads on the free version, easy in-app account upgrades
- Don't have to create an account to use the app
- Good audio quality, even when my Wi-Fi network was "sluggish"
- Does a very good job of selecting similar artists and songs
- Screen rotation is haphazard at best. To be fair, I have that problem with apps on my iPod touch from time to time, so it may not be the Slacker app to blame -- but WP7 or the phone's sensor.
- No background streaming. If you share a song or press the Windows button, your music cuts out.
- Sharing is limited to email -- Twitter and Facebook would be nice additions.