SIRIUSXM: Still Lazy After All These Years

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,822
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
I've been a subscriber to XM for about 18 years, and it was better before the merger. One of my favorite channels was Cinemagic, which had a wonderful DJ who interviewed composers of movie scores, directors and how they used music in their movies, etc. But ten years ago they fired all the DJs on cinemagic, and brought it back as a "zombie" channel on streaming with no DJs. I still listen to it streaming, but it's sad that they had something special and killed it.

The time before the merger was just incredible.

First, the bitrate was equal to listening to a CD in your car. Post-merger it's like listening to a transistor radio.

XM cared about being different than FM radio. Their philosophy was to play as many unfamiliar songs as familiar to its listeners. For instance, they wouldn't just play the top hits of the 80s. They would play songs that didn't chart well.

Post-merger, Sirius kept the FM radio philosophy of playing the same familiar songs over and over again. They shove about 200 songs into each channel and play it relentlessly. They only want familiar songs heard. If you listen to it for 8 hours a day on a daily basis, it's the same rotation.

If it weren't for Howard Stern, I would not subscribe to SiriusXM. I am looking forward to Howard's eventual retirement so I can get rid of the service completely. The music just sounds horrible in the car -- especially if you have a good stereo system.
 

Kyrsten Brad

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Messages
2,311
Location
Merritt Island, Florida
Real Name
Brad
The time before the merger was just incredible.

First, the bitrate was equal to listening to a CD in your car. Post-merger it's like listening to a transistor radio.

XM cared about being different than FM radio. Their philosophy was to play as many unfamiliar songs as familiar to its listeners. For instance, they wouldn't just play the top hits of the 80s. They would play songs that didn't chart well.

Post-merger, Sirius kept the FM radio philosophy of playing the same familiar songs over and over again. They shove about 200 songs into each channel and play it relentlessly. They only want familiar songs heard. If you listen to it for 8 hours a day on a daily basis, it's the same rotation.

If it weren't for Howard Stern, I would not subscribe to SiriusXM. I am looking forward to Howard's eventual retirement so I can get rid of the service completely. The music just sounds horrible in the car -- especially if you have a good stereo system.
First of all thank you Ron for starting this thread in the first place. I’ve been a Sirius (now SiriusXM customer) since 2005.

You’re preaching to the choir here about pre-merger & post merger. I had a feeling that would negatively impact customer service now that satellite radio is pretty much a monopoly and that has indeed borne out.
Oh and have you noticed the totally cookie cutter crapola SiriusXM hardware offerings? Back in the day Sirius was working to improve their radios with nifty new features like increased channel saving and Song memorization (have the radio memorize a favorite song and the radio would pop up an alert when it was playing on whatever channel. That and the FM transmitter in the older radios could broadcast the signal to any radio in your house. That’s all pretty much gone now.

Oh it’s still a good service but the repetitive playlist on the 50s thru 2000s channels are catatonic boredom inducing. A microcosm here for thought. Two of The Sylvers (a fav) songs
Boogie Fever and Hot Line get near constant airplay but a third hit song, High School Dance never gets played, save for when it appears on Casey Kasem’s AT40 Show.

My favorite channels are SiriusXM Radio Classics and NFL Channel. They take up about 60% of my listening.
Prior to the merger, the Sirius Old Time Radio would play some nifty movie & theater tunes between radio shows. That and some memorable vintage commercials. But after the merger, they pretty much axed the theater music and replaced it with modern day and very repetitive commercials (no longer commercial free, ugh). They did keep some of the vintage commercials though.

Oh I did notice this year that there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated Mannheim Steamroller channel for Christmas season like last year. That was good for us who got frustrated with SiriusXM playing the same 3 MS songs and ignoring MS rich library of Christmas. I’ll have to look again, maybe they’ll offer it as mid December approaches.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DavidJ

TonyD

Who do we think I am?
Premium
Joined
Dec 1, 1999
Messages
20,404
Location
Gulf Coast
Real Name
Tony D.
I’m disappointed that they didn’t have addicted Who channel right now.

They just released their for album in 13 years and are touring to promote it.
I know they have a dedicated channel in the past and this would have been the perfect time to do it again.

But if anyone is interested they have been running a special with Pete
Where they play each song and Pete talks in detail about each song on Deep Tracks.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,822
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Oh it’s still a good service but the repetitive playlist on the 50s thru 2000s channels are catatonic boredom inducing. A microcosm here for thought. Two of The Sylvers (a fav) songs
Boogie Fever and Hot Line get near constant airplay but a third hit song, High School Dance never gets played, save for when it appears on Casey Kasem’s AT40 Show.

American Top 30 was my favorite thing to listen to. It was the only program that would introduce music that SiriusXM would never play.

I also liked the Mannheim Steamroller channel but I suppose each year they want to try something different.

I am just astounded that a subscription service would think it okay to keep playing the same 200 songs over and over again and that people would buy into it.
 

David Willow

Babbling Idiot
Premium
Joined
Jan 23, 2004
Messages
2,549
Location
Mechanicsburg, PA
Real Name
Dave
I’m disappointed that they didn’t have addicted Who channel right now.

They just released their for album in 13 years and are touring to promote it.
I know they have a dedicated channel in the past and this would have been the perfect time to do it again.

But if anyone is interested they have been running a special with Pete
Where they play each song and Pete talks in detail about each song on Deep Tracks.
Off topic but the new Who album if freaking amazing. I wasn't expecting much and this new music just blows me away.

Back on topic I finally had enough of the horribly buggy DASH Radio app and the awful DJ's. I decided to give Sirius another shot only this time using just the app. So far I found streaming only stations that mix music across decades. New and old rock played together. They still only play a few hundred songs but at least there's a bit more variety. The quality is still just "OK".
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bryan^H and DavidJ

Cranston37

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Minnesota
Real Name
Patrick
I used to subscribe to Sirius XM but I have found going the Apple Music route for $85/yr (using discounted iTunes cards) to be much better.

I don’t listen to the talk channels because I do podcasts for that sort of thing, and instead of themed channels you can just tell it what kind of music to play - 70’s rock, The Who, Mannheim Steamroller - essentially creating your own channels.

Playing individual albums or specific songs or skipping things you don’t want to hear - all impossible on a linear service. It’s much easier to bring with you on AirPods, HomePods, etc as well.
 
Last edited:

Jeffrey D

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
1,285
Real Name
Jeffrey D Hanawalt
SiriusXM does have its drawbacks, but they’re coming through in a nice way paying tribute to Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart’s death.
Deep Tracks is playing nothing but Rush music now- they’ve been doing this for over a week. I have all their albums up to Roll The Bones- I’ve forgotten how great their music is.
 

Jeffrey D

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
1,285
Real Name
Jeffrey D Hanawalt
I’m disappointed that they didn’t have addicted Who channel right now.

They just released their for album in 13 years and are touring to promote it.
I know they have a dedicated channel in the past and this would have been the perfect time to do it again.

But if anyone is interested they have been running a special with Pete
Where they play each song and Pete talks in detail about each song on Deep Tracks.
Good point about firing up a Who channel. They’ve been around forever, and they have a
big enough library to select from. The run of records The Who had from the late 60s through the early 70s is up there with any other band you can name- Tommy, Live At Leeds, Who’s Next
and Quadrophenia are all fucking great.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,822
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
They are also running a promo for $60 for a year which includes an Echo Dot

https://care.siriusxm.com/subscribe/checkout/flepz?programcode=LDOT12FOR60SELECT

Couple problems with that...

First, this is not All Access which includes streaming and Howard Stern

I have read reports on Facebook of people getting the All-Access tier for the same price when they haggled with Customer Service.

My subscription is up for renewal in two weeks. I really don't listen to SiriusXM anymore. The music is still very limited. I will probably cancel unless I get the All-Access for $60. Will be interesting to see if it can be done.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DavidJ

DavidJ

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2001
Messages
4,054
Real Name
David
Please report back to us, Ron. I still like SiriusXM but it would be good to cut the amount I’m spending on it.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,822
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
Please report back to us, Ron. I still like SiriusXM but it would be good to cut the amount I’m spending on it.

So I spent a good 10 minutes bartering with Customer Service this morning.

There have been reports of Sirius giving some customers a $60 ALL-ACCESS yearly rate.

The rep was ready to give me the next lower tier, SELECT, for $60 a year. It includes Howard Stern.

The problem for me is that I stream to my Sonos speakers, so I needed the ALL-ACCESS.

They would not do $60 a year ALL-ACCESS

We went back-and-forth several times. They started at $125 for a year of ALL-ACCESS

After insisting I wanted $60 for the year, they came down to $90.

I kept insisting on the deal I wanted. They then settled for $40 for 6 months of ALL-ACCESS.

I thought this was a pretty good deal and settled on the $40 deal. The only thing I didn't like was knowing that in 6 months I would have to haggle with them again.

The secret is to keep saying you are canceling. The worst that happens is that they cancel you. However, at that point, you know the rock bottom price they are going to offer and you can call back the next day, talk to another agent, and either take that price or haggle again.

In hindsight, I should have kept haggling. Maybe I would have gotten the $60 deal. However, by the time it got down to $40 for half a year, I was ready to cave in.

It's really an awful way to run a business. I know, from reading posts on Facebook, there are people who pay $500+ for two vehicles. Those are the people that fund Sirius. Those that are smart enough to play the haggle game get the best deals.

However, it really is sad that SiriusXM has been running this kind of shell game with their subscribers for years.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Jasper70 and DavidJ

DavidJ

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2001
Messages
4,054
Real Name
David
Thanks for the update, Ron. I pay more than I should because I keep putting off calling them to haggle. I hate the idea of it and I'm not paying the crazy amount you mentioned seeing above. Still, I could use the savings...
 

Jasper70

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
205
Real Name
Harold
I quit with them years ago. Just so repetitive, so few songs. Again and again and again.
And if you forget to call then you get auto renewed at the regular price. Been three or four years since I quit them. Still getting regular mail about their latest special.
I miss certain things like Casey Kasem doing the top 40 countdown from the 70’s.
Having access to football games. Just not worth the price.
 

Rodney

Effects Supervisor
Premium
Joined
Jan 12, 2001
Messages
2,052
Another year down, and another dance with SiriusXM. I have to say, they are making it easier. When I called they had an automated response that offered me to renew my current All Access for $99 for a year. However I wanted to downgrade to Select and get the $60/year since they changed the Select package to include streaming.

The recording said be prepared for extremely long hold times. I waited, and it was actually pretty quick. They again offered me the same $99 deal as the automated response did, but I said no, I wanted to pay $60 for it. They said they couldn't do All Access for that price, but offered me Select. They told me I would be losing MLB and I said there are no games anyway, so I'm not missing that and took the Select. All in, it was $71.51 for another year of SiriusXM with streaming. Took a total of 7 minutes on the phone.
 

Ronald Epstein

Founder
Owner
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
55,822
Real Name
Ronald Epstein
I would say the worst call I need to make every 6 months is the one to SiriusXM

It's always a good 10 minutes of song and dance in threatening to cancel and various back-and-forth haggling to get what one presumes is the best possible price.

I think I knew that streaming is now included in the SELECT plan. However, there was some reason I did not go with the $60 per year offer. It may have been Howard Stern. He may not have been available on that plan.

In any case, I will ask again when my current package is up for renewal in a few months.

I look forward to the day Howard Stern leaves SiriusXM and there will be no reason to give these guys my money anymore.
 

Cranston37

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2016
Messages
2,610
Location
Minnesota
Real Name
Patrick
I would say the worst call I need to make every 6 months is the one to SiriusXM

It's always a good 10 minutes of song and dance in threatening to cancel and various back-and-forth haggling to get what one presumes is the best possible price.

I think I knew that streaming is now included in the SELECT plan. However, there was some reason I did not go with the $60 per year offer. It may have been Howard Stern. He may not have been available on that plan.

In any case, I will ask again when my current package is up for renewal in a few months.

I look forward to the day Howard Stern leaves SiriusXM and there will be no reason to give these guys my money anymore.
That's why I go with the Streaming plans - once you sign up you don't have to call them again until you want to cancel. It's handy accessing it through Apple CarPlay in the car and with devices in the house or on the go.
 
Last edited:

TonyD

Who do we think I am?
Premium
Joined
Dec 1, 1999
Messages
20,404
Location
Gulf Coast
Real Name
Tony D.
I don’t know what they’re doing with you guys. I haven’t paid for it in years.

Do you need to have it available 24/7/365?

it’s been free anyway for the last couple months for anyone until the end of may.

And they just sent me another free offer for four free months.
 

Rodney

Effects Supervisor
Premium
Joined
Jan 12, 2001
Messages
2,052
I made a choice a few years back that it is worth $10/month for me. Being able to get it down to 1/2 that this year is a bonus in my book.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,062
Messages
4,698,710
Members
141,154
Latest member
kitchenknives