I recently got back on sat radio with Sirius/XM. Now I see they’re floundering? I can’t say I’m totally surprised. While the idea of “commercial-less” music and radio is brilliant and necessary, as well as the beauty of being able to listen to what I want as opposed to what happens to be in my midwestern farm-state area, that has to balance with the fact that it costs money vs free FM/AM radio, and household budgets are tightening.
I don’t think sat radio has a real market anymore; it was a transitional piece kinda like Blu-ray today. What I think will be the future is all of the web-based podcast and radio stations (like my favorite somafm). All it takes is the ability for my car to get on an internet connection and pump out a stream into my receiver. That’s it! Sat radio is still a closed system, even if they do have 3000 channels. Give me an open system like the Internet to choose my station… With Sirius/XM, I’m paying for 297 channels I typically don’t listen to, and the 3 I do listen to are sometimes playing things that suck and make me go back to my ipod or cowon or a disc. The most expensive channels (Howard Stern, Martha Stewart) I’ve never and never will listen to.
And it doesn’t even have to be a subscription fee system! Just charge for the cables/receiver to handle streams, and then pay for what many of us already have: sat data connections through something like our phones. If our fav stations want donations or fees, then so be it.
I get some “ok” stations on sat radio, but I’ll get exactly what I want at all times when given the freedom of selection from the entire Internet. Seriously, Pandora streamed to my car? Hawt.
Can Sirius/XM save themselves? Sure, but only if the music/radio industry as a whole doesn’t stop them. Sirius/XM already has all the logistics to beam me somafm or Pandora. They just need to license it. And that’s where I think the industry will politically block them. I don’t think the general music industry dare reverse their years-long fights against online broadcasters…bastards.