July 12, 2024

Binary Blogger

Are you a 1 or a 0? News, Thoughts and Reviews

Why I am dumping XM/Sirius Satellite Radio

4 min read

I have had a subscription to XM going on almost 5 years. Like most subscribers I got mine with a car, actually I have it on 2 cars. Up until the last few months, I enjoyed XM a great deal, but something has changed. The premium service that I pay lot for a month (paid in full every 2 years, ouch) the service has lots it’s premium feel and benefit. Now I am seriously considering cancelling my subscriptions. Let’s break down why i am considering the move, outside saving myself a bundle of money.

Personal Use
I find myself listening to the same 2 or 3 channels all the time and my time in the car is less than 90 minutes a day, about 45 min per commute. Since my office I cannot stream XM website, I cannot listen at work, but that doesn’t matter anyway because I despise the quality of the online stream.

XM Problem
     They claim near CD quality, but they have an additional FEE to upgrade to get better quality streaming.

With the lacking of the online streaming quality, XM’s biggest downfall is their business model. You are paying $X / month for the service. If you want to buy a home device to hookup to your TV, you pay for the setup and XM charges a monthly fee for each device you own. Cars I can understand for each having their own, but mobile devices, portable, home? Come on.

XM Problem

    They hinder their own services expansion of use by squeezing every penny out of every nook and cranny they can. They even charge for their iPhone App and have another FEE to go along with it.

“Premium” Service Offering
Back in the day they touted Satellite Commercial-Free music. Now, I listen to as many commercials as Transmitter land radio. What!? If you can’t run a business off the subscription fees, raise the fees or close shop. I would pay a little more to keep commercials out of my life. That’s why I PAY a subscription. I don’t see Coke or Apple commercials on HBO or Showtime, do I?

XM Problem

     What is the subscription fee getting me that I cannot get for free from land based radio or internet radio (more on Internet radio at the end)?

Obviously in the pockets of the music industry
When XM first came aboard I loved it. I could pick a station and hear music that I have never heard before, obscure tracks from top bands, bands I have never heard of. But that is no more. Now you can pick a station and hear the same artists, the same songs, over and over. The wide variety is gone. The forced hand of the music industry is pushing the top artists’ crap in repeat mode. Even on Area, BPM, Chill I see that. I rarely look at an artist playing and not see them out of the Billboard charts. If I wanted the charts I flip on 100.3 or 92.5 on the dial. So what am I paying for?

Ironically I watched the 2010 Grammy’s and the president of some music group came out and begged for expansion of support for all the artists up and coming. Well, if you are not giving them play time, how are they going to get discovered? Hard core music fans will find them, but the mainstream public never will. XM apparently closed those doors too by siding with the music empire.

XM Problem

     What is the subscription fee getting me that I cannot get for free from land based radio or internet radio (more on Internet radio at the end)?

Where to go next?
Like millions of people, I have a latest generation smartphone, in my case the iPhone. Over the last few months I have been experimenting with a few of the online radio sites and I have favored and become a huge user of Pandora. In fact I am listening to it right now as I write this. You can check out my profile

I have a car charger for my iPhone, I plug it into my Aux port of the car, choose my station and away I go. Nothing but random music, completely based on what I like and listen to. Read up about how Pandora works. the iPhone app is free. On the website as you listen, about every 5 songs or so there is a 30 second ad, but it’s not 5 minutes of crap ads and I can PAY to REMOVE the ads if I choose to. I bet Pandora will NOT ad the ads back in for paying customers.

I get better selections, more flexibilities, freedoms, free, and everything I am supposed to be getting by paying a supposedly premium service to deliver to me. I am not alone in my thinking on where things are going. Recently, Pioneer announced their Pandora enabled car deck. 

Pioneer’s Pandora Car Deck. This points to the beginning of the end for Satellite Radio, unless they drastically change their model, they will shrink to nothing more than a luxury service for cars… until car manufacturers start offering Pandora decks.

End of Line.

The items in this post are purely the thoughts and opinions of the author. All facts and data are gathered across various sources and the author’s conclusions are based that information.

Techie Pro

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