US personal radio service Slacker Radio has been enjoying rapid growth since its big relaunch in February. The company announced yesterday that it has added more than 6m new listeners and 100k paying subscribers in the last three months.
Significant increases, given that in mid-February the service claimed 4m active users and 500k subscribers. 3.5m of those new listeners are on mobile devices, while average listening time is up 25% since the relaunch.
Just as importantly, Slacker is talking money (a bit). “With our proven business model, Slacker is the only digital music service that is gross margin positive on every listener – whether they’re ad-supported or a paid subscriber,” says CEO Jim Cady in a statement.
The company also claims that its app is “consistently ranked among the top three grossing apps on the App Store Top Grossing Chart”, although it neglects to stress that this is in the Music category – it’s currently 77th in the all-categories Top Grossing chart.
Slacker’s growth is coming at a cost – it’s planning to spend $5.5m on advertising this year – but Cady’s comments suggest the company believes it’s still on course to turn a profit for 2013.
Earlier this week, reports suggested Slacker is also planning to launch in the UK soon with a mobile operator partner. Its latest press release makes it clear that operators and carmakers are its two key groups of distribution partners going forward.
Pandora may be the market leader by some distance with its 70.1m active listeners, but the competition from Slacker, Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, Songza and Sirius XM’s new MySXM feature is making the US streaming-radio market a fascinating space at the moment – not to mention Spotify seeing free mobile radio as a gateway drug for its on-demand service, and Apple preparing to launch iRadio.