Sorry, SiriusXM, but I’m dumping you.
There are many reasons why I’m dumping satellite radio:
- I’m a cheapskate. We have Sirius XM in two cars. Total was about $15 a month. (I’d call each year before my latest “promotional” price would expire to renegotiate the rate.)
- I don’t drive as much. Now that I can work from home most days of the week, we’re putting a lot fewer miles on our cars. Less “time spent listening” as the salespeople used to say in my radio days.
- I’ve switched from music to podcasts. Nowadays, when I do get in the car, chances are pretty good that I’ll listen to a podcast instead of the radio – satellite or otherwise. Why pay for something you don’t use?
- We’re already paying for Spotify. We have the family plan… if I want to listen in the car, I can just stream Spotify or play a downloaded playlist or album.
But those are just the minor reasons. The main reason is their woeful lack of variety on SiriusXMU, the station that likes to call itself the place for “groundbreaking music and emerging artists.” In theory, it should be similar to 97X, the “college rock” station where I worked in the early 90s. But in reality, their playlist is waaaay too narrow.
I was driving my son Peter back to campus at Ohio University (“Harvard on the Hocking”) a few weeks ago, and just for fun, I told him that I’d pick five bands, and we’d see how long we could listen to SiriusXMU before one of them was played. The five bands were:
- Vampire Weekend
- The Strokes
- LCD Soundsystem
- Tame Impala
- Grizzly Bear
Peter and I wound up listening to other stations for most of the drive to his apartment. On my way home, I listened to podcasts most of the way, but after I stopped to get gas, I turned on SiriusXMU… and they were playing a Tame Impala song.
The following evening when I was running some errands, the 2nd song that came on was from Vampire Weekend.
Two days later, a Grizzly Bear song was playing when I started the (other) car.
4 days later, it was LCD Soundsystem that was on when I got in the car in the mid-morning.
That same afternoon, I went to visit my mother-in-law in the hospital. Vampire Weekend was the second song that came on during my drive over.
Aaaand later that evening, when I left the hospital, here’s the song that was playing when I started the car:
I stopped at a store on the way home. When I got back into the car, here’s what was on:
It’d be laughable if it weren’t so sad. I mean, why would someone pay for “groundbreaking music” only to get a station with a playlist that’s tighter than a terrestrial Top 40 station?
Each week, I check the list of new album releases (on Allmusic and Metacritic) and create a Spotify playlist of the ones I think will appeal to me. I’ve discovered tons of new music that way. It’s a hobby of mine. But for SiriusXMU, it’s their job… and they’re failing miserably.
Granted there are plenty more channels on SiriusXM (my wife likes the Grateful Dead channel… but now she listens to books on tape in the car), but indie rock is my go-to… and I just can’t go to SiriusXMU any more. It’s too frustrating.
So I’ve dumped them… and if I miss it, I can just create a Spotify playlist of four or five bands and run it on repeat. Same difference.