Slacker Sucks!

Slacker Sucks!

I am a huge music fan and was excited by the thought of "Premium" sound with the PUP. I was immediately disappointed to find the only music service available to me was Slacker. In order to use my choice of music service I had to use my phone and then the only on screen control I have is skip song and pause which means I have to remove my phone from the beautifully integrated charging station to operate my phone while driving in order to change artist/stations etc.. Not what I would expect from the technological marvel that is the Model 3.

I have been a paid subscriber of Pandora and Rhapsody/Napster for over a decade and have dozens of carefully curated stations and artist collections. I traded Rhapsody for Google Play Music years ago when I picked up a Pixel phone and have again built quite the collection of Stations and artist collections. I was willing to do it all over again with Slacker and signed up for the "Premium" account within days of getting my M3. Sooooo disappointed! Many of my artists are not available or in the case of one of my favorite artist only some albums and it won't play the entire album saying "We're currently not licensed to play this album on demand".

Ok... Tesla can't fix how lame Slacker is but they can fix the really bad User Interface:
I can't browse by Artist or Album only Favorites. Sure I can search by those but I can't save an album and come back to it later. I have to favorite it.
Favorties are not in any kind of order. Not alphabetical or date created or ???...
When I say play XXX, it will sometimes play just that artist and other times mix it with other artists, sometimes poorly.

Better yet, don't spend the development effort on fixing Slacker since it is such and inferior music service, and simply create and interface for our phones or to a better music service. I should not have to operate my phone handset when there is a 15 inch screen at my fingertips! It is disappointing to have such lame phone integration in such an amazing car.

Slacker! I am cancelling my Premium account Today!

Nash.david.a | 10. Juli 2018

It's not bad to someone who is okay listening to more of a radio type music service. I set the "station" while in the service center taking delivery and haven't changed it since. I could count the skips I've done on one hand. Maybe don't be so picky with your music selections, and open your mind to more music... Also, give it time and thumbs up and thumbs down some things. Or use your bluetooth connection for music.

jjgunn | 10. Juli 2018

Sirius/XM is great!

843TM3 | 10. Juli 2018

Make sure you’ve signed in to your premium account on the Tesla and are not using the subscription that came with the car.

Bated Breath | 10. Juli 2018

I've been happy with the free version of Slacker. After about a week of thumbs up and thumbs down I'm getting very few songs that I don't like.

I understand your disappointment since you are used to hearing specific songs on demand but I'm happy with a commercial-free / talk-free version of radio.

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

I used Soundiiz to transfer my well-curated Pandora station over to my newly created Slacker premium station. It set up a playlist with my favorites that I can play on-demand when I want to (you have to add these to "my music" from a computer to show in the car), plus a station based on my favorites. Hubby (a XM fan to the core) has finally started finding a few stations he likes also. We do wish we could figure out why sometimes when we request a song, we then get a station with all that artist and other times we get a station with an assortment, but not a huge deal. Would just be nice to be able to lead it one way or the other depending on what we want.

gadget63 | 10. Juli 2018

maybe it's just me, but I can't see paying for something you can get for free over FM, or downloaded on a USB drive. My past three cars had Sirius and I never once started the service or listened to it when it was a free trial.

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

FM includes commercials and DJs who like to ramble (at least, in my area). A USB drive is limited to what you have on it at any given time. Slacker allows us to select nearly any song on a whim. There have been a few we've had trouble finding, but 95% of the time, we've been successful.

circleo12 | 10. Juli 2018

I'll miss my Sirius/XM, as I've used it exclusively, in my last 3 cars, over the last...12-13 years?

That being said, I'll make Slacker work, just the same. FM radio hasn't been used in my car, for a long, long time. Too many commercials and too much babbling.

maintreqd | 10. Juli 2018

as an album-centric music consumer, I don't expect to get much mileage out of Slacker. My 2014 civic demanded I use a combination of my iPhone screen and Siri commands to play the music I wanted to hear, so as much as I was hoping the Model 3 would improve upon that, I will plan on sticking with that approach.

I'm hoping it's easy enough to invoke Siri somehow but if not, I know how to reach down and hold the lock button (iPhone X) without looking, and with the Jeda wireless charge pad, it won't be such a bother to pick the phone up when I need to, then drop it back down to resume charging.

I understand the greatest frustrations come from the little things, though, so I hear and feel OP's pain and sympathize for sure. Hopefully the future of Model 3 is at least Spotify integration, like they have in Europe on S and X. That may be the final blow for me in the decision to switch over from Apple Music, although the thought of recreating my collection from scratch with a new streaming provider gives me anxiety, to say the least.

EVRider | 10. Juli 2018

If your phone has voice control, you can use that to change artists, stations, etc. instead of handling the phone. Since you use Google Play I assume you have an Android phone; I have an iPhone so I can’t give you specific tips, but maybe other Android phone owners can chime in.

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

@maintreqd -- What do you mean when you say "album-centric"? I ask because I can tell the car "Play Bat out of Hell II" and it will play the whole album. This is actually how we've managed to find a couple songs that we were struggling to get the version we wanted, also. Instead of asking for the song, we played the album.

maintreqd | 10. Juli 2018

@hokiegir1 I didn't think Slacker supported full album playback--that's fantastic!

"Album-centric" music consumption is exactly how you took it: I collect vinyl LPs; I am a purist in my belief that artists labored over selecting the order in which their songs are presented on each album and that is how I prefer to listen to them, for the most part, top to bottom.

(Spotify was always geared toward singles and playlists when it first came out and I was looking to deviate from replacing iPod after iPod since they hadn't switched to using solid state drive storage yet and consequently kept failing, meaning I'd lose ALL my music, so I went with Apple Music. Spotify has gotten a lot better and while I still hate the dark and dreary UI, I will acquiesce that the platform is a worthy competitor and even some of the playlists lately have made me contemplate the switch.)

ANYWAY, all that aside: so you're saying I can tell Slacker to play an entire album and it will? This is great news.

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

@maintreqd - I've done it a couple times. Once was Bat out of Hell II (I love most of that album and just wanted to hear all of it). Another time we wanted to hear the movie version of a Lion King song, but when we requested the song, we kept getting the Broadway versions --- so I finally asked for the movie soundtrack and it worked. So as far as I know, you can request full albums. I'm sure there are still some limitations, but there are certainly albums that it will play. :)

wayne | 10. Juli 2018

I love Spotify and wish Tesla would make it available. I play albums exclusively and have been impressed by the availability of somewhat esoteric jazz and classical artists. Classical music recordings are mostly European.

I guess I will have to try out Slacker when I get my car.

sroh | 10. Juli 2018

I didn't know this either and that is great news! I'm going to try it today.

+1. I have got into heated discussions about song order. It's a pet peeve of mine when I hear albums being played on 'random'. I'm sure I've driven some (e.g., my wife) crazy because I insist on playing albums in original order.

The one thing I miss most about our Infiniti G37 is the hard drive music box. I wish Tesla had that.

Question: how do you all feel about audio quality of playing music from your smart phone via bluetooth?

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

So, my one disclaimer on all this: I'm logged in with my own premium slacker account -- not the one that comes with the car. :)

Daryl | 10. Juli 2018

My main complaint about Slacker is that I can't play a particular song more than once. I can say "Play 'Come Together by The Beatles'" and it will play it once. But the next time I request it, something similar will play instead, maybe something by The Beatles, or something from that time period.

I'd rather just play songs from my USB drive where I can play whatever I want whenever I want.

Rocky_H | 10. Juli 2018

@hokiegir1, Quote: "So, my one disclaimer on all this: I'm logged in with my own premium slacker account -- not the one that comes with the car. :)"

Yeah--exactly. The regular version that comes in the car won't play full albums on demand.

matt777 | 10. Juli 2018

Right. I just got my car so only have free version. If you ask it to play a specific song, it will either:
1. Play the song once, but then subsequent times you ask for it will play "SONGNAME Radio", which is just a station of similar artists/songs.
2. Sometimes it won't even play a specific song once and will go straight to creating a "radio station"

You can customize the "stations" it creates by flagging tracks "thumbs up" or down. Down will remove the song from that station forever.

As a streaming radio service that will let you select genre/sub-genre, its pretty good. But it definitely won't let you scratch that itch when there's just that one song you need to hear, at least not with the free account

bernard.holbrook | 10. Juli 2018

Yeah, I'm disappointed to with the basic music that comes with the 3... I hope that Tesla didn't pay anything for it.

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

@RockyH -- good to know. I had already opted to cancel my pandora account and pay for slacker before I got the car, knowing what was available in there (the Pandora account was becasue it was part of Toyota's Entune) -- so I never even tried the one that Tesla supplies. Half the time I forget this caveat about my use. :)

maintreqd | 10. Juli 2018

@sroh most streaming services allow you to stream HQ versions of its content. It isn't the same as listening to an LP with $300 headphones to be sure, but it's passable. Gone are days where I'd wince at chimey cymbals and thin mid-sections; of course if I listen hard I can find loss in anything that's been compressed but all in all, with the right stereo system (which I'm reading Model 3's PUP stereo is insane) and the advent of newer versions of Bluetooth, it's been definitely listenable for a few years now. And certainly better than silence! Besides, you can't easily bring a turntable on the go...

sroh | 10. Juli 2018

Thanks maintreqd!

Big-B | 10. Juli 2018

My only complaint so far with Slacker is that the "stations" are too specific, and there is no way to randomize stations like Pandora. They have about 15 different Alternative stations, broken down into categories, but I would like to hear them all. I wish there was a way to select a bunch of stations, and it would switch between them, without having to thumbs up 1000 different songs.

cnistal1 | 10. Juli 2018

IMO Premium Slacker is sub-par, very limited catalog and poor sound quality. Only way you are going to take full advantage of your "premium" sound system is to load a USB drive with flac files. Well worth the effort if you already own the music. If not, you can purchase HD music files online. On the other hand, if sound quality is not a big deal and your music taste is fairly mainstream. Slacker is much better than silence. :) Still hoping Tesla switches to Spotify (as they have in Europe), at least they have a better catalog.

adam.burrell | 10. Juli 2018

I can't login to my own account. I've tried creating a brand new one thinking something was wrong with my password and it still gives me an error every time.

hokiegir1 | 10. Juli 2018

@abowen -- you can't log in if yours is the free account. It only works with the plus and premium accounts.

chuck | 10. Juli 2018

Being a fan of both classical and jazz, I was a bit skeptical about Slacker. While I've had the car for getting on three months now, I really just recently began tentatively testing Slacker. I'm also exploring how it works with Tesla's voice recognition. And I have been impressed. I've stumped it a few times by asking for obscure pieces. The ability of the voice recognition to recognize non-English words (common especially in classical but also in some jazz) has been very good. As long as I am good with my pronunciation and speak clearly, it gets them... and then it gets the piece.

Lately, I've been wanting to hear brass and horns. The sound system on the Model 3 just does a splendid job of big horns. A lot of the best horns are in big band music and this is yet another less popular and less common genre. But Slacker has managed to produce a lot of it. With trumpet especially, the joy is in the details and compression often squashes those details. My guess is that Tesla is doing some active restoration after decompression, but Slacker's horns sound good.

So, while I don't consider myself an audiophile, I do think that I'm a bit of a tough customer due to my less-main-stream tastes and I am pleased with Slacker and with Tesla.

efuseakay | 10. Juli 2018

Beating a dead horse, but I wish the iPod worked in Teslas. Heh

eplaskett | 10. Juli 2018

@chuck, Good to hear. One of the first things I do when I get my car on Friday will be to add a Dave Brubeck-oriented station. And maybe a Rachmaninoff one, too, plus some 80s New Wave hits. My tastes are quite varied!

mfong | 10. Juli 2018

@deeprave74 - This. The music system is the one area where my 2016 Leaf (2013 as well) beats my Model 3. I liked using my iPhone via USB and controlling it via the entertainment system. The Model 3 has this great touchscreen, but getting the music I want to play playing is a pain. It shouldn't be this way.

eslice | 10. Juli 2018

Slacker + the included LTE connection is better than any music solution I've had in any of our prior cars. I enjoy being able to listen to a song, or a "station" based on a song on the fly.

That said, I have so much invested in Spotify - favorited songs, 50+ playlists, a wider overall selection of music, recommendations that are spot-on based on my history ... it would be great to have a Spotify app that is properly integrated into the car as an alternative.

lilbean | 10. Juli 2018

Aww. Cut them some slack! :)

efuseakay | 10. Juli 2018

@mfong Tell me about it. One of the most advanced cars on the road and a f'n iPod won't work in it.

dgstan | 10. Juli 2018

> The music system is the one area where my 2016 Leaf (2013 as well) beats my Model 3.

My 2005 Prius does as well.

fishheadted | 11. Juli 2018

@maintreq @hokiegirl1 You can only play entire albums for some albums. My favorite artist has about 10 on Slacker and I can only play 4 of them. The others just play 1 song and then start a "Station" based on that. Not even just that artist. But if I call for one of the albums I can play it will play that album IN ORDER as albums are meant to be played. I want to see a listing of albums or artist or songs or stations, just like I do on my phone, my desktop and on my Sonos controller. I paid for and tried a premium account and canceled this week since it isn't much better than the included.

Shock | 11. Juli 2018

Use sirius XM for radio station streaming type stuff. For more personalized use pandora, spotify, etc. on your android or apple phone and you can plug in and use android auto or carplay.

Oh, my bad, I was talking about every other car on the planet, not Tesla.

fishheadted | 11. Juli 2018

@Shock Bingo. Come Tesla!... Lead the pack, not follow.

theblindtree | 28. Juli 2018

I signed up for Slacker Premium this morning, ready to be swayed by the higher quality audio and more on-demand listening. Up to this point, the Slacker integration has been reasonably impressive but had started to "generalize" my specific requests for songs. Hence, Slacker Premium.

However...I almost immediately regretted it. I did not realize just HOW limited the selection is. Like many others, I have extremely varied tastes, but that also means when I want to listen to a particular track, it's very disappointing to find "Sorry, we don't have the license for that."

Oh well. Back to the FLAC on USB drawing board. Hopefully we'll get shuffle sooner than later.

Tesla2018 | 28. Juli 2018

Is their a difference in premimum slacker quality? I have a bunch of albums on a Sd card and thumb drives recorded at different bit levels from cds and cassette tapes. Is their a limit to the size of an Sd card that the radio can handle? Also what is the best rate to record Cds to an SD card. My old car radio could only handle 1 gb sd cards which are obsolete now, but I could get 20 hours worth of music if I didnt record at the highest rate. Is it better to copy Cds to an Sd card at the best rate or to transfer them to your phone instead and play them back using bluetooth. I never cared about quality since my other car is a convertible and you could never hear the music clearly due to wind noise.

Zidarich | 11. August 2018

I like to listen to whole albums, not radio.

I can download albums for offline listening with my paid Spotify account (best $10 I spend each month). Can I play those via the hard wired phone hook up?

I’m not going to spend $10 on Slacker if it can’t even play most albums from start to finish.

If not, my ONLY option for playing full albums is to stream my Spotify app via low qualityBluetooth? That’s insane. Everything I do now is through Spotify - I don’t have a collection of mp3 files to put on a USB drive.

Tesla needs to fix this sooner rather than later.

Zidarich | 11. August 2018

Signed up for Slacker Premium at $10 a month to see how it worked. You absolutely can play albums in full from start to finish (at up to 320 quality). The catalog doesn’t seem as extensive as Spotify, no Radiohead, for example, but you can play albums of what they have.

Will likely make the $10 a month worth it for me. My wife will still use Spotify for her car, and I’ll use Slacker in mine. So will cost us $5 more a month than the Spotify family plan.

gwolnik | 11. August 2018

I was able to transfer my Sirius XM Onyx radio to my Model 3 and it works fine. I need to find a better FM channel to use, though, the one that Sirius XM recommended for my zip code has a local low-power station that sometimes causes interference. I told the service rep at Sirius XM that they need to make a new radio for newer cars like the Tesla Model 3 that use bluetooth instead of re-transmitting over FM, he said he would pass that suggestion along. By the way, if you sign up for a new account for a car that does not come with a radio built in, I think they will send you an Onyx for free, or for very little cost.

Sunergy-NJ | 11. August 2018

I might be stating the obvious but Sirius/XM also has an app you can stream via Bluetooth. And it was cheaper than the full "radio" account last time I used it.

gwolnik | 11. August 2018

Sunergy-NJ, Sirius XM streaming will only work if you have a smart cell phone (I don't) and you are in range of service, which is not always the case. The radio gets the signals direct from satellite and will work anywhere (except in the shadow of mountains, sometimes a problem when driving in the hills, but cell phone service usually doesn't work there either.)

Sunergy-NJ | 12. August 2018

Well, gwolnik, that is all true. But I can't imagine cluttering up this interior with an add-on box. But that's just me, for the last few years the only station I listened to on Sirius was CNN and Tune-In has that.

dgstan | 12. August 2018

I will certainly agree that Slacker sucks. I will, however, say that it is 100 times better than I thought it would be.

iansmccarthy | 20. August 2018

The latest development, according to Slacker support is that

"Frank S. (Slacker Radio)

Aug 20, 10:13 PDT

"Premium Radio and its upgraded features are not supported for use in Tesla. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Best regards,
Slacker Radio Support"

This was in response to my signing up for Slacker Premium, building playlists on my computer and then trying to use it in my Model 3. Result: zilch. I then contacted support and received the above response (which contradicts what Tesla and these forums say.

My response was:
Ian Mccarthy
4:47 PM (26 minutes ago)
to support

If that is the case then your so called Premium is worthless. Moreover, you are selling the upgrade under false pretences since you, and Tesla, claim that Premium accounts ARE supported by Tesla Model 3s (and that statement appears in the manual in the car and online). In the circumstances you now owe a refund to all of those who have signed up for Premium Slacker accounts and who have logged in via the control panel in their Tesla.

Ian S Mccarthy

Past time that Tesla switched to Spotify and ditched Slacker (which is atrocious in choice, GUI, stability, and support)

lmoreau | 14. September 2018

That guy Frank at Slacker is a tool I had the same responses from him. He actually tried to tell me it has never been supported in a Tesla to which I had to send him YouTube videos of people using it. He still said it's not supported and it's Tesla blocking it.

I cancelled my Premium as well, it's much easier to just use Google Play with Android Auto where you can just say "Okay Google, play this song" which works EVERY time, unlike Slacker where you say "Play Poker Face by Lady Gaga" and it starts playing Can't get you out of my head by Kylie Minogue.

LostInTx | 14. September 2018

I have a slightly different question with regard to Slacker.

I have the premium sound in my 3 but it just doesn't sound that premium to me. The equalizer has been tweaked a bit but still, what I'm hearing through Slacker is no better than the JBL system I had with my Tundra.

Yesterday, for grins, I decided to sly away from Slacker and stream Napster through my phone (Bluetooth).

And WOW, the sound was fantastic; far more rich with a significantly improved dynamic range.

For fun, I streamed Frampton's "Do You Feel Like I Do" via Napster, then queued the same song via Slacker. It was night and freaking day difference.

I have the commercial free Slacker than comes with the Model 3 - not the paid version. Is the pay version of Slacker (I have pay version of Napster) meant to offer improved fidelity over the standard issue Slacker?