The newly revamped AOL Radio is live now online and in the app store—it's actually pretty good! Consider switching if you want a human—and not an algorithm—to pick what you listen to.
The new AOL Radio is actually a dressed up version of Slacker Radio, which boasts 20 million subscribers and 400,000 app downloads. You can access stations either online or through the iPhone app. So far AOL Radio gives you access to two Slacker options: a Pandora-style create-your-own-station or you can listen to DJ-curated radio stations in 200 categories. 90's Alternative is one of them, thank you AOL. There's also branded stations like customizable ESPN radio and stations curated by well-known DJ's around the country. AOL's online interface is beautiful and it's packed with artist info. Otherwise, much of the functionality is very similar to Pandora: it's free and supported by audio ads, offers you six skips per hour, and the ability to "like" songs.
Next month AOL Radio will introduce two premium subscriptions carried over from Slacker Radio. The first, a $3.99 "Radio Plus" plan gives you the option to cache your mobile radio stations—an option Pandora says it will not offer in the near future. The second plan will be a $9.99 on-demand plan familiar to anyone who's on Spotify, Rdio, MOG, etc.
So why would you switch? Simplicity and human touch. If you want an easy way to just play music this is great. The free service is excellent with fewer ads than Pandora. The aforementioned 90's Alternative station kicks ass. Haven't heard a dud yet. The interface is lovely. If you find music discovery hard and don't like how Pandora's music genome picks songs, AOL Radio is worth a shot. If curated radio is your style, the $3.99 plan, which offers mobile caching, is a great deal. [AOL Radio]