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Bridge financing for Slacker

slacker bridgeAccording to a regulatory filing cited on Venture Wire, Slacker, a multi-channel digital music service, has taken an additional $5m in venture funding in a bridge financing from existing investors.

Since opening its doors and publicly launching its product in March of 2007, Slacker has now taken on a cumulative total of more than $58.5m in financing to build out its ambitious plans.

The company’s supporting benefactors include Centennial Ventures, Rho Ventures, Austin Ventures, Mission Ventures and Sevin Rosen Funds. 

Compared to a $40m taken in  a B Round in June 2007,  the new investment seems unusually small.  It’s unclear if this is part of a still developing, larger, C-Round, or a small bridge to carry the company to break even.  …more to come?

So what is Slacker?….

The brainchild of three former music/MP3 CEO’s  – MusicMatch founder Dennis Mudd, former Rio CEO Jim Cady, and iRiver CEO Jonathon Sasse – the company with the lazy sounding name is a music service chasing big ambitions.

The basic premise behind it is the marriage of three musical delivery channels into a single integrated service offering.  The first part of this vision is a net radio station; a personalized (highly customizable) music streaming service like Pandora or (bought by CBS).  Like traditional radio, this core service is free and supported by ads.  Subscribing listeners can get unlimited feeds of licensed music but can only skip over six songs per hour on their chosen stations.  Those looking for more selectivity and no commercials can upgrade to a fee-based premium service.  Paying the monthly fee will give an ad-free experience, freedom to move through songs without restriction, and even more opportunity for personalization.  

The second part of Slacker’s vision is an optional, desktop music management application that can tie the Internet radio services together with a listener’s own music files – like taking an iTunes library and splicing radio feeds into it.

The third part of the Slacker portfolio is a small portable player (or free mobile application for use on select, popular devices) that will synch with the Net radio/desktop software or Slacker’s website to provide an “on the go” device loaded with Slackers streamed music service.

Parts one and two of the offering went live in 2007.  The first Slacker “player” came out, after a few delays, last year.  The second generation model, the G2, debuted to positive reviews in the fall.  It’s now available at Best Buy, Amazon and the company’s own site.

Bringing "free" Slacker to devices, in September (Blackberry) and, a few weeks ago, in January (iPhone) mobile applications debuted as well.

Slacker bills its service as "Your Radio Everywhere."

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