Slacker personal radio service has struck licensing deals with EMI Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, adding their catalog to an existing deal with Sony BMG.

The company also added several indie label deals, including Beggars Group, Matador Records, Ubiquity Records and Sanctuary Group, along with digital distributors IODA, The Orchard and IRIS Distribution.

Slacker is both a portable digital music device and service. The Slacker personal radio service allows users to create and share customized radio stations in addition to the more than 100 professionally programmed stations. The Slacker device is a WiFi-enabled portable player that users can access these stations, either transferring via a USB cable through the PC or over-the-air via WiFi.

The free, ad-supported Web-based version of the service is live online now. The device, and a premium version of the service, remains pending.

These licensing deals represent a major step forward for the start-up company, led by the former CEOs of iRiver, Rio and MusicMatch. They originally set a late June launch date for the premium service and device availability. With these licensing deals in place, expect this delayed launch to happen soon.