Still not quite happy with rock channels (don't worry, not dumping XM just yet)

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Benson R, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    I listen to mostly rock, and while I love my Roady2 I feel like I am not getting what I want on XM. I guess I am posting my situation to see if you guys can talk me out of becoming a dual subscriber. (I love enough about XM that I can't get rid of it)

    I listen mostly to harder edged classics from the 70s, 80s, 90s, some 80s cheese metal and alt rock. I love Ethel and to a lesser extent Lucy. However I feel like Boneyard and Toptracks is really hit and miss with me.

    I really love the alt rock channels. I always hear enough songs I love to keep me interested but am always hearing new songs I haven't heard before.

    With the Boneyard I am hearing way too much stuff from bands I have never heard of. Plus I hear a lot of cheesy metal mixed in with harder edged stuff like Metallica. I actually like the cheesy stuff but would prefer it to be split apart to another station or at least relegated to specific shows or hours. I like top tracks by I find too much Elton John and Fleetwood Mac mixed in with Led Zeppelin. My friends that listen to both services have almost convinced me Buzzsaw, Hairnation and Classic Vinyl are what I am looking for.

    Can anyone convince me not too subscibe to both services? Also I hear a lot of people with similar complaints about rock on XM. I see there have been some management changes. Is there any chance these complaints will be addressed anytime soon by XM? Comments would especially be appreciated by people that have both services.
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Benson,

    The problem I see with you trying to remedy to the
    situation by going with Sirius is that you'll be
    at the complete opposite side of the spectrum and
    it may create another problem.

    It's absolutely true that XM has an eclectic style
    to its programming. The service attempts to remain
    fresh and offer the widest possible playlists to its
    listeners. It works best on the DECADES channels where
    an entire decade of music is represented (instead of
    just the same top hits), but probably less effective
    to those who are stuck on a particular genre.

    On the other hand, SIRIUS is the complete opposite
    when it comes to music. Their philosophy is to not
    only play JUST the familiar hits, but keep the
    playlists as short as possible so that the same
    songs are constantly being played over and over again.
    They have stated to me many times that their service
    is for the commuter who gets in their car and wants
    to hear only familiar music in a short travel span. For
    those that listen to the service long term, you are
    most likely going to wish there was a wider selection
    of music. I still hear my buddy who works in NYC
    complain about his co-worker that plays the Sirius
    classic rock channel at his desk all day and the fact
    that the same songs are played day in and out.

    Now....

    Subscribe to BOTH services? Actually, if the
    combined cost factor of close to $30 per month doesn't
    bother you, I would recommend it. I actually
    subscribed to both services for a little over a year.
    I got the best of both worlds until I became bored
    with the Sirius playlists and opted to stick with XM.

    Another thing I would recommend....

    Go over to XM411.COM and post this message
    in their music area. The board is run by a really
    cool guy named Ziggy and he is very close to XM
    management. In fact, XM reads his forum on a regular
    basis to guage listener opinion. I think that if
    you post this message there, you will receive responses
    from other listeners who may offer better input than
    I can (I don't listen to hard rock anymore).

    * Let me know if you do post a message there. I would
    personally like to see the feedback you get and even
    bring the thread to Ziggy's attention so he can forward
    the comments to XM management.
     
  3. Ernie Estrella

    Ernie Estrella Stunt Coordinator

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    Benson you'll get bored if you just like to leave your radio on one channel all day long. But that's why the radios have lots of presets and lots of stations. It's nice to know that there are LOTS of things to listen to and get your money's worth. If I paid all of that money to listen to one to three stations, I don't think it would give me as much value as one that could provide dozens. I like variety so the shorter playlists don't bother me as much as some.
     
  4. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I could have started this post but Bensen beat me to it.
    I got XM about 3 weeks ago thinking it would be the greatest thing since electricity but have been less than thrilled. I got tired of FM for all the same reasons as most and I thought XM would allow me to stop flipping stations.
    When XM is on, man they are on, but when they are off, they are somewhere way out in left field! I think the DJ's playlists have much to do with it, and I realize that it can't be "all my favorite songs, all the time" but I flip more now than I used to, I dunno, I guess I expected better. To me there are only two or three real "rock" stations, that crap between boneyard and deep tracks doesn't even count as music 95% of the time. Ron, please do forward this to whoever you need to or I might just go back to (God forbid)FM.
     
  5. Kevin N

    Kevin N Stunt Coordinator

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    mylan: if you're looking for something similair to an iPod, you're better off with Sirius. XM has always played a ton of stuff that is really new or not considered popular with some hits thrown in. Sirius is like the polar opposite of that; they play a lot of hits with new or unknown stuff in there once in a while.

    I'm not saying one is better than the other, just they're different. I think I read that Sirius has 500,000 songs in their catalog while XM has 2.5 million songs. I prefer hearing stuff I don't know; if I wanted to hear my favorites, I'd use my iPod.
     
  6. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Da Boneyard always seems to be a "bone" of contention amonst fans. (pun fully intended.) I think the main reason why is the differing expectations for the station. A lot of people basically want it to be a retro station, where they want to just hear the songs played back in the day. There are two such groups: the hair band fans and the rockers. In the first group are bands like Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Poison, etc. In the other, you have bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Metallica, etc. These groups don't mix that great, which cause both to argue with each other.

    But then, you get to the issue of new music, which neither of these groups want to hear. Why? Because they think if they haven't heard it before, it must suck. These people tend to be set in their ways, musically. Personally, I find that very disappointing, since there is still a lot of great music made in that style out there that really rocks.

    So, Da Boneyard goes out and tries to cover most of the bases. Classic stuff from as far back as the 70s, Hair bands, occasional obscure stuff from back in the day, and new stuff. Right now, I feel that they've mostly found the right balance, but I can understand that someone it going to be unhappy because they don't play enough of band X.

    As for Sirius, it all depends on what you are looking for. Personally, none of it did it for me like Da Boneyard does it. Hair Nation is decent enough for what it is, but it gets old after a while when you hear the same songs all the time. Buzzsaw was a big disappointment for me, since I was expecting it to be a 70s style rock station. Hard Attack isn't to my tastes, since there is too much numetal and screamers and growlers.

    Jason
     
  7. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I fall into more than one category: I like hairbands and all things 80's, 90's metal just before grunge hit, as well as older classic rock. I don't mind hearing songs from a band i've never heard of, I just want to LIKE it when I do. You know you are going to like something say, ten seconds into it right? It doesn't have to be a lot of band X, I was into many bands in the day, yet XM finds a way to play hardly any of them.
     
  8. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the replies guys. And Ron, thanks for the suggestion, I will copy this over to the xm411 board.

    I know that Sirius has a bad reputation for repetition, and that does bother me. I tried the online trial, and the first two songs I heard were Stairway to Heaven and Sweet Child of Mine. Although it was great to hear old favorites I have yet to run into on XM it was a bad sign that by coincedence they were the absolute first things I heard on Sirius. However I feel that for hard rock Sirius has got XM beat in the way they break up the different subgenres.

    I don't think I would mind paying for both services for awhile, but I was surprised that Sirius doesnt have quite as great a deal on a low end reciever like XM does with the Roady2.
     
  9. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Ok, I posted this over at xm411 in the Rock forum under the same thread title, in case anyone is interested.
     
  10. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Sorry, but they do. If you do a library search, you will probably find that your favorite bands get plenty of airplay.

    Problem is, there are a lot of these bands, and only so many hours in a day, and it only takes one or two "bad" songs to cause someone to bail on a channel.

    Jason
     
  11. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    I dont know about that. I find Boneyard really hit and miss. I can listen for an hour sometimes not hear a single song that I know. Othertimes it seems to be more balanced and I can listen to it for a couple hours straight. Also I hear some songs repeated a lot, but they are often the same songs from never was bands or a song from a recent release by a mediocre 80s band. Example, I might hear a fairly recent release from a band like Quiet Riot. Now, I have pretty cheesy taste some times and don't mind hearing them, but really how many people that are even fans of theirs care to hear stuff other then from their first album.

    Their are enough hits and semi hits from the most popular bands in this genre like AC/DC, Motley Crue, Van Halen, etc that this could make 3/4s of the airtime and not have a lot of repeat songs. I am not saying I never want to hear a new song, but really these channels are more about nostalgia for old favorites then about discovering bands you don't know about.

    I think Ethel strikes a great mix. If I listen to Ethel for 20 min I am guaranteed to hear a popular song from someone like the Killers, Weezer, the Strokes. But mixed in I will hear at least one song I don't know or haven't heard in awhile.

    Also, hard rock deserves at least two channels. I mean alternative gets three. This maybe sacrilege to some people but I think the Loft and XM Cafe could be merged if there is no other way to add another channel.

    I think I am bound to agree that Sirius may be too much like FM for me, but I really like the way they have broken down their rock channels at least with hard rock (I like XM's alt rock stations better, though Fred and Lucy could merge and I wouldn't complain much).
     
  12. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Well, there is only a limited bandwidth, and they make their choices on what they think is best for them. Sirius decided to break down the Classic Rock stations, which XM broke down alternative.

    Certainly, there are some divisions that I wouldn't mind. Seperating progressive rock from jam bands on XM Music Lab. A more 70s hard rock station. Splitting out the Hair Bands from Da Boneyard.

    But, they have limitations about what they can do, and unless they find a way to add channels without decreasing quality, I don't see it happening any time soon.

    In any case, I think XM does a pretty good job for the most part.

    Jason
     
  13. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Jason I have seen you post this response in other similar threads. If you look at these other threads, and threads in other XM forums you will see this is a common complaint about XM, and it is always in regards to classic and hard rock.

    I'm sure there are people that like the Boneyard (yourself obviously). But especially on XM forums I see far more complaining then positive comments. You don't see this about Ethel or Fungus. XM is not listening and I think people are going to look for an alternative to XM for hard rock even if the alternative is also far from perfect.

    Basically XM need to add another 2 channels minimum for hard / classic rock. If they absolutely can not make space for that then Boneyard needs to become a hit factory like Top Tracks. The station just covers too much ground in the genre that it can not spend that much airtime covering the obscure. I would like to continue to hear the deeper cuts, but only if the current playlist can be broken up and spread over a couple channels.
     
  14. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I agree, XM does need to break up Da Boneyard and give each type of "rock" its own channel. There are far too many channels I can't see people listening to. Do we really need a 40's, 50's, 60's, etc. channel and for petes sake, who the hell listens to show tunes?
    On a much more positive note, this morning it seemed B.Y. was playing a better selection.
     
  15. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I listened to Bonyard a little this afternoon and was enjoying it. But this has happened before, and I wouldnt be surprised if they go back to playing stuff I have no interest in. The times I do enjoy the Boneyard is not when they only play hits, but when the deeper cuts are unknown tracks from popular artists in the genre. Example, today I heard a Dio song I hadn't heard before, or maybe hadn't heard in awhile.

    When I do hear a lot of repeats they are often of more obscure tracks. I have heard this one song by Helloween almost once a day for this one week I was listening trying to decide if I could live with the Boneyard. Now, it wasnt a bad song, it wasn't cheese metal but still I would rather hear that song every couple days and hear more AC/DC or GNR. And they could play more of these popular artists, and still avoid repitition by going deeper into their catalogs.
     
  16. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Yep, Helloween, Savatage, The Cutt(?), that is exactly what i'm talking about. I think the DJs are trying to get them some airplay.
     
  17. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    If Da Bonyeard became a "Top Tracks" version, then I would no longer listen. I already went though that with Hair Nation on Sirius. It gets old, really.

    Again, if I just wanted the familiar, I got a whole CD collection.

    Maybe you would be happier with Sirius. Just the familiar, no challenges to your musical tastes.

    Jason
     
  18. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Jason, I know you are trying to stick up for a service you love, but I think your comments can come off as snobbish. I have been listening to my brand new Sirius reciever for a day now (also spent a few days listening online) and while I still prefer XM, Sirius seems more interested in programming for rock fans then XM. Sirius has more rock stations, channels with more consistent themes. I hear more repition of hits, but I am also hearing old songs I forgot about just like on XM which was basically all I was hearing.

    My opinion is that as far as rock goes both services are imperfect. However ignoring that many people feel underserved in certain genres does not help XM. Let me state again my feelings only apply to certain channels. I still feel that for punk and alternative XM stomps all over Sirius. And I think most other musical genres and non music channels XM wins hands down.
     
  19. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    First, let me say this: I am not a blind XM follower. I have been critical of XM in the past, particuarly of Charlie Logan and Da Boneyard. I do not need XM, and I'm fully willing to cancel if they piss me off enough.

    Yes, I may sound elitist. Yes, I like a lot of bands that the general populace has never heard of. But, I don't want them to play them just for my sake, but to introduce them to a larger population. I'm glad XM plays bands like Edguy, Symphony X, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, and Stratovarius. I could also list a ton of good bands that XM doesn't play who are also worthy, have toured the US and sell out venues.

    But, at the same time, I scratch my head when people say that Da Boneyard plays obscure stuff all the time. Maybe people don't remember what was played back in the day. Maybe people are used to hearing the bigger bands and never picked up the smaller bands. Or, maybe people just don't really know. I remember one guy using Uli Jon Roth as an example, not knowing who he was, that he played for The Scorpions and has a long solo career.

    The point is, for the most part, I recognise most of what they play. Most of which I remember from back in the day. There isn't that much on there I go, WTF?

    As I said before, considering that XM has just one channel to dedicate to this genre, they are doing the best job possible. While there are vocal people who think the channel is imperfect (including myself), no change is going to satsify the vast majority of these people, and may alienate others. Really, the only way to satisfy some people is to create other channels, and that's probably not going to happen anytime soon. The compromise to me is satisfactory, and moreso than anything Sirius has.

    As for Sirius, I think the only advantages they have in the rock section is in classic rock, jam bands, and Hard Attack.The only one of those I miss are the classic rock stations, but not that much.

    Jason
     
  20. Benson R

    Benson R Supporting Actor

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    Jason, since you are much more up on this then I am, let me ask, have you heard anything about the departure of Charlie Logan and how this may affect the programming on the rock channels?
     

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