When I bought my Corvette in 2014 I received a years free subscription to Sirius XM.
Paying for radio is a concept I previously laughed hardily at, but I’ll take something for free.
But after a year I was admittedly hooked. I liked the variety, the uncensored comedy, the fact that no matter where I went I had a signal. Plus they’re willing to negotiate your rates when you threaten to pull the plug. I liked it so much that I made sure other cars/trucks I bought had a satellite radio in them.
But over the last year or 2 it’s quality has really gone down hill. Channels are now playing the same old schlock that commercial over the air hacks play, there has been wayyy too much talk between songs lately (especially on the 80’s channel with the MTV VJays) and too many self promotions for the channel I’m already listening to or for one of the other zillion channels available. What used to be really cool has become quite hackneyed.
Never did like the music, both the playlist selection and audio quality sucked. Wife liked it for the talk radio, so we have it. Biggest gripe these days is losing signal when near a cell phone tower, which happens quite often.
I too got a year of Sirius when I bought a 2012 Jeep. But though I enjoyed some of it, like the uncensored comedy as the OP said, it got repetitive after awhile and I had no interest in paying once my free year ran out. If you do a lot of long-distance traveling I can see it being a nice thing to have. Otherwise, meh.
I detest commercial radio for, well, everything about it. I don’t even own a radio in my home. So in the car I listen to XM, especially now since car manufacturers have decided we can no longer listen to CD’s while on the go. That’s a separate thread so don’t start with the music via telephone etc, etc.
On XM I’ll typically listen to 3 channels; Deep Tracks, Real Jazz & Bluesville.
What bugs me the most, is they will program certain artists for a week, or even a month. Not enough that too many of their channels are already dedicated to particular artists, now even on those channels that are supposed to have a variety we get stuck with hearing one artist, hour after hour, day after day. I’ve nothing against these artists but 24/7 for days or weeks is a bit much.
The cost has become excessive as well. They used to offer discounts if you bartered. Not so much anymore.
I see it going down the same road FM radio did years ago. For those that are too young, FM at one time was free form and commercial free. Then things gradually started to change. The suits took over and greed set in. They saw a gold mine. What started as the occasional commercial for perhaps a local head shop slowly increased little by little. We know what that’s become - intolerable! If you ask me, Sirius is slowly headed down the same path. The repetition, the contests, the jingles and sadly the commercials. Everything that subscribers aspired to get away from. I hope I’m wrong.
I still love them, but I am an incorrigible channel changer. It gives me a long list of acceptable channels to flip through, unlike FM radio, which has only two or three. It’s like opening a whole bunch of crappy surprise gifts!
I haven’t noticed it, but I only listen to four channels. My wife and I share the radio based on the time, I get the even hours and she gets the odd ones. During the even hours I listen to mostly symphony hall, although if they play someone I’m not fond of, like Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein (great conductor, lousy composer) I swap over to Alt Nation. My wife listens mainly to NPR Now, although on trips more than five or six hours sometimes it rolls around that we’re hearing the same Here & Now segments repeated and she’ll switch over to Classic Vinyl.
There are a few more internal promotions running lately for things I have no interest in, I mean really, an entire Springsteen or Jimmy Buffet channel? But I haven’t noticed a lot of suckage. Maybe those four channels are slower to adopt the crap that annoys you.
I think things like Amazon music have really hurt them. You just feed your phone through the blue tooth connection to your car, and you have the added advantage of carrying your phone with you wherever you go, so you can utilize the music wherever you are.
Yeah, I just use my phone. My wife’s car came with six months of Sirius XM and it was nice, but even just listening to the stand-up channels, within a few weeks I was noting repetitive content, and by the time my six months was up, I knew nearly all the content on the comedy channels. So I never bought a subscription.
On the phone, meanwhile, for free I have easy access to thousands of radio stations across the world using Radio Garden (I have several other radio apps, but that’s my favorite). Plus I have Pandora and Spotify for more customized playlists (though those don’t have as many surprises as I’d like). I have my entire music (and video) library available anywhere in the world via Plex (and then I also have content on my phone if I’m in a spotty cell phone area.) I can stream many albums or stand-up routines for free via Youtube, as well. There’s just multitudes of varied content sources to choose from.
The only advantage for satellite to me is signal coverage. When I get in the middle of boofoo Illinois on the way to St. Louis, there are places my signal drops or isn’t fast enough to stream. But 95% of my driving is not in places with a weak signal, and, besides, I have content on my phone to keep me occupied if that happens (I often will preload some podcasts and such as backup.)
I’ll agree in principle - do we need a Grateful Dead channel and a Phish channel and a Foo Fighters channel and …
But, to defend the Jimmy Buffet channel, about 1/4 of the songs are actually Buffett; the rest are what I call “beach music” - Beach Boys, Jack Johnson, reggae, etc. A few times a day, they’ll do an hour of Buffett; I actually find myself changing off of that. I also get annoyed at many of Jimmy’s live versions - he plays to the crowd at the concert, not sings with heart. I’m not at the concert, it ruins the flow of the song for me.
Been listening mostly to Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Was listening to a lot of the comedy stations, but got tired of the same attitudes, and many of the acts revolve around “swearing is funny. sex is funny”. Oh, and those are full of ads - not even for other channels. Full out advertising.
My daughter is probably getting really sick of hearing me yell “OMG just play the song” every time they start yammering on. I don’t know if they’re just talkative people or trying to take up more time so they don’t have to pay as much in royalty fees or, most likely, some combination of the two. In any case, I wish ‘commercial free radio’ meant ‘all songs, no talk’ or maybe just limit it to a few seconds. I really don’t care what the weather is like at the RnR Hall of Fame where I know you’re broadcasting from because you say it every 30 seconds.
I learned a long, long time ago that all you have to is threaten to cancel three times and you can get the rate dropped down to 5-7 dollars a month. As the years have gone on, that’s become less and less of a bluff for me. If they want to call me on it, I’ll cancel. I might re-up when I get the barrage of postcards with deals on them, but I won’t have much of an issue going back to terrestrial radio for a while if I need to.
If you can download the music/podcasts you’ll want to listen to while on a wifi connection, that’s one thing. But if you’re streaming Pandora all month while driving, you’re likely to blow right through your data cap. A quick google search says (though I didn’t actually confirm anything) about a half hour of pandora per day would work out to about 2gigs.
Good post, everything I am thinkIng. I’ve consistently kept it down to 5 bucks a month with full programming. But the consistent blabbering is making even that seem like too much. Especially Alan Hunter. He really needs to STFU!
Depends on your plan, I guess. I have T-Mobile, and it’s had free unlimited streaming for years (while on the T-Mobile network). Pandora, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Sound Cloud, etc., are all on it. I stream from my Plex server at home a lot (which isn’t even part of the plan), and I’ve never had an issue with blowing through my data plan. With T-Mobile, even if I do, all that happens is I’m throttled to 3G speeds, which still should be plenty fast enough for audio streaming. But I have 100GB of data on my plan ($70/mo), which I’ve never run out of (given that so many streaming sources don’t count against the data limit.)
Actually, I’ll give you a third option - audience engagement. If studies show that the audience will stay tuned in longer by giving them information on the songs, personal touch, etc., then they’ll include the commentary. PERSONALLY, I like hearing Steven VanZant’s commentaries. Yeah, the other hosts are less engaging, but it’s still better than the 20min/hour advertising on FM.