XM Sirius Review

Sirius vs XM: the post-merger battle still rages

How Satellite Radio Can Survive and Thrive in an Economic Recession

Money makes the world go round. In a situation like ours today, many customers are skipping out on the un-necessary expenses and going to the bare minimum. As of now, satellite radio has an unfounded image as being more expensive than free radio or even than itunes and other MP3 services. Sirius XM must do something to change that image.

The answer lies in a battle they fought, and lost, against the RIAA. Sirius launched the Sirius S50 with the goal of allowing it to schedule recordings of songs in advance. With such high quality songs being downloadable legally and for free, RIAA stepped in to push legislation banning “high-quality” recordings of radio songs. An appalling irony, as RIAA is suggesting it is okay to record low-quality radio, instead of trying to ban all radio recording outright. At any rate, in the legal battle that ensued, Sirius eventually was forced to make concessions. The Sirius S50 launched, but not in the earth shattering way it could have. Only shows, like Martha Stewart or Howard Stern could be recorded in advance. Songs, had to be recorded manually as you listened to them. Yet how is that any different from when the average joe used to pop in a cassette to record songs from the radio? It’s not. Sirius must have given up, because they have a gold mine on their hand and they have not made any proper marketing attempts, perhaps out of fear from the RIAA.

For now, people who are worried about money, may not be willing to dish out monthly fees for a radio service. But if Sirius XM were to properly advertise products such as the S50 as allowing them to record high-quality songs for free and legally, they would see a massive boom to their sales. Sirius XM must have given up after having to remove the scheduling aspect of recording songs, and might be afraid that the RIAA would take offense to that type of marketing. But if they don’t want satellite radio to die out in the face of a potentially global economic collapse, Sirius XM must advertise the cost-saving aspect of their service. People would then look at the hundreds of dollars on satellite radio equipment as being an investment that would save them money in the long run. The savings for many typical iTunes or other users of expensive downloading services, should they decide to cut out their massive iTunes bill and switch to listening to Sirius XM radio and recording the songs they like, can be in the thousands of dollars. Sirius XM could even run advertising showing some teenager crying when they get that thousand dollar bill from iTunes. There certainly is a situation to exploit there, given the current economic circumstances. For Sirius XM to survive, it is the only option.

Satellite Radio’s Uncertain Future

Many technologies come and go. What does the future have in store for satellite radio?

First, let’s address the costs. It takes hundreds of millions of dollar to launch a satellite, let alone run a radio service. The key will be increasing their revenue generation. The key is of course gaining new subscribers. The merger certainly will allow them to merge their marketing groups, but they should take this opportunity to use the extra resources to begin a campaign to inform and encourage their satellite radio services to the average Joe.

The key, may lie in a product such as the Sirius S50, which allows users to record individual songs for free, manually, one by one. While not as convenient as just scheduling to download thousands of songs in advance as one could do with iTunes, it is completely free, rather than costing thousands of dollars. While it may earn them enemies with the RIAA, this marketing point could help redeem the value of paying a monthly fee for radio in the eyes of millions of potential customers.

In such economic hard times as the one the United States faces now, millions of teenagers may find themselves unable to spend thousands of dollars on MP3s. Rather than cutting their budget on food, housing, or clothing, a prime candidate to be cut out of their expenses would be MP3s and other luxuries.

Satellite radio could be well positioned to advertise that the MP3s can be recorded and with a high quality on their S50 device. Sirius XM not only should, but must do this in order to survive. Otherwise, many customers who are spending money on both downloading MP3s and satellite radio, may cut the latter rather than the former.

Sirius XM must be willing to advertise this ability to record high quality MP3s from their radio services, even if RIAA doesn’t like it. If prepared to fight this legally, Sirius XM most certainly could win, and if they stand up as a protector of consumer rights, may actually earn a lot of positive publicity on the web and by word of mouth, even if the media and their bought and paid for executives disagree.

This is not just a legal question, it’s a question of survival for the satellite radio industry. The right to record radio, even satellite radio, must be defended by Sirius XM and exploited as their strongest attribute in economic hard times, rather than ignored and neglected. If this doesn’t occur, only hard times may be ahead for the satellite radio industry.

XM or Sirius: Which Satellite Radio is Best?

XM and Sirius radio have begun the process of merging. However, the two remain for most business purposes seperate entities that you still must choose between. It is still necessary to compare the two, to determine which is the better satellite radio service to go with.

Sirius’ strategy involved getting some of the biggest names in entertainment, like Jimmy Stewart, Eminem, Howard Stern, and Martha Stewart to executively produce streams or entire channels. The Howard Stern move became a highly publicized event, and needless to say, many of his followers made the switch. XM on the other hand, seemed more focused on commercial free music and didn’t manage to snap up as many impressive personalities aside from Oprah and “Opie and Anthony”.

The two companies also have exclusive contracts for various sports. Sirius radio has the NFL, CFL, and NBA, whereas XM radio has the MLB. Sirius also has full NASCAR coverage as well as the exclusive rights to men’s NCAA. OVerall, it seemss Sirius overwhelmingly outdoes XM on the sports front as well.

As far as bonus features, both companies offer a comparable internet radio service at no extra charge. Both XM and Sirius attempted to create devices which could potentially allow you to download songs as they are played on the air, however the RIAA has intervened and claims using “high definition” methods to record radio is illegal, despite lower quality methods being perfectly legal and allowed, i.e. cassettes. The Sirius S50 has limited recording methods, which comes the closest to achieving that dream, as you can record individual songs, however, after the song ends, the recording stops, so you have to record them manually one by one, but nonetheless free is free. You can however, schedule to record shows (not music) such as Howard Stern or Martha Stewart in advance.

While the two services have merged, the differences between them are still significant enough to warrant comparing and considering carefully which service to use. Overall, it appears Sirius has grabbed some of the bigger personalities and sports, among other features but it will depend on the individual customer’s preference. Opie and Anthony or Howard Stern? NFL or MLB?

Though keep in mind, the two companies are merging, and the lineups combining, allowing you the best possible selection by mixing the best of both worlds, so either choice is helpful, though recently “Sirius XM” has begun repackaging and labeling many of their products and services with a combined logo and branding, though XM Sirius has yet to merge together the two companies satellites and it is still unknown whether they will be compatible to merge the broadcasts into one service.

RIAA Kills Sirius Satellite Radio, Destroys Value of Consumer Product

The RIAA, the Music Gestapo has pushed their overbearing nature to a new level. Sirius Radio’s new product the S50 allows consumers to download the broadcasts onto the music player, and the RIAA intervenes.

Since the beginning of Radio’s inception, no one has dared to arrest people who copy songs from the radio.

RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, now dares. They have banned Sirius from allowing more than one downloadable song per download. The only reason for this is because the Satellite radio songs are just as good quality as MP3, thereby eliminating the need to buy the MP3’s.

RIAA has now pushed legislation through the house “to protect content delivered through high-definition (HD) radio receivers”. What that means, is anyone using a HIGH QUALITY method to copy a song is in violation of the law. But if you use a low-quality method; say, a cassette, then it’s okay.

Where is the logic in that? Aren’t laws a reflection of moral values? So it’s moral to copy a song onto cassette, but immoral to copy it onto a MP3 player?

Something is insanely illogical about that concept. RIAA claims musicians can’t make money if their songs are all downloaded illegally.

Only a century ago, there wasn’t a police force that prevented anyone but the original composer from playing their music in the streets. If Beethoven wanted to make money, he had to play in a concert for the people. He couldn’t just kick back and earn money every time a fiddler in the street played a tune from his concerto.

So what holds water about the RIAA argument? Very little in terms of historical legitimacy, and even in modern times, musicians are pulling in record numbers from concerts. The Rolling Stones pulled in over $162 million in 2005 from tours. Green Day pulled in $39 million, and Dave Matthews raked $31 million, with significantly less touring than the Stones. Is that not enough?

Even Paul McGuinness the manager of U2 said, “Our recording income is not insignificant, but it’s less than we make from touring. The figures used to be closer together.” U2’s 2005 tour pulled in $139 million.

So with concert income rising grotesquely, does the RIAA even have the right to push its legalistic agenda? Ironically, the spread of free music has encouraged music listening far beyond paid music: the increased availability of music has lead to increased concert-going fans as the record-breaking tours indicate.

With concert rates rising, and the income disparity from concerts and recording sales, perhaps RIAA should consider their nefarious designs at deciding what is Right and Wrong. Like a master teaching his dog manners, RIAA tells the consumers: Record radio on a cassette, good. Record radio onto MP3, bad dog, Sirius gets a time-out, and the critically acclaimed S50 is the first casualty in the war for consumer rights against RIAA.

In so doing, since the Sirius S50 was owned by hundreds of thousands, the RIAA has essentially destroyed the value of a product that did not belong to them. Without a moral basis for doing so, that is where the true immorality lies. I think as a protest to RIAA I will copy a song from the radio onto CD.

Maybe if the public starts downloading satellite radio music onto CD, then RIAA will help get CD recording of radio will be banned too.

Sirius Gets Serious - The new Sirius S50

The Underdog in Satellite Radio, Sirius, takes a bite out of their competition, XM Radio, with the new Sirius S50 player.

Sirius satellite radio has long been the underdog. Perhaps their name is a fitting match since the name Sirius comes from the “Dog star”. The Sirius star is the brightest star in the sky, and Sirius aptly seeks the same place in the Radio industry. Yet, with XM Radio having millions more customers how will they do it?

Yet now, Sirius Radio has gotten serious. They hired on a professional research team, to literally follow people around all day, and watch them for an opportunity to better implement Sirius into their lives. Somehow I think it is odd that they need to study humans, but maybe corporations are that out of touch. At any rate, the move proved extremely successful. Producing a product that seems like it must have followed you and watched you too. The Sirius S50 is the product Sirius has unleashed. This new player is the creative response to the MyFi, and has tech critics everywhere in awe. It’s essentially a handheld music player that, get this, will automatically load your favorite programming into memory whenever you load it into the docking station.

Simply amazing! Since it’s launch prior to the holiday season, Sirius says they have stolen the momentum from XM and are actually gaining more customers than the larger XM Radio. Unless XM comes up with a counter product and fast, they could be facing a bleak future against Sirius who has gained momentum from the product, critical praise of their music selections, and with big enough step in the right direction they could deal the deathblow to XM.

The S50 I assume stands for Sirius-50 with the 50 representing the claimed 50 hours of music, which depends on the compression rate of the files stored. Even at 40 hours, that means 40 hours of quality programming from your favorite stations. That is, until RIAA stepped in out of concern for “music piracy” and made only one downloadable musical song per recording. Talk radio is not affected quite the same way. However, you can download your own MP3’s onto the device, to fill the remaining time difference. Ironically, the one MP3 recording per recording, could still save you a $1 for each recording, assuming you would have boughten one of the songs on the recording. That pays for the Sirius radio monthly fees all by itself!

Even with the RIAA stepping in to try and stop it, the S50 is a pinnacle achievement, and will challenge XM to the core. XM will be hard pressed to develop a similar product, and are in danger of losing their advantage with one big push.

That’s where Sirius’ new bold marketing campaign steps in: “We know what you’re thinking”. A pretty bold and over-the-top statement, but it may be just what the doctor ordered. If they get enough customers curious to try look at the product, it will most likely ensnare them with it’s simplistic beauty. Being able to download unknown music to your device that you will probably like is amazing just to think about. Say you like 80’s rock, and come home from a day of work, plug in your Mp3 player, and it knows the two 80’s stations you like, loads that very 80’s music onto it, and you can go off and listen to your new high-quality song.

With products like these, Sirius has the upper hand. With famous radio personalities like Howard Stern and Martha Stewart, a music selection most critics prefer over XM, and now the Sirius S50 wearable satellite player, it looks like XM will have to run for its money.

Edit: transferred over, written years ago.

Sirius vs XM: Who’s King?

Who’s the best in Satellite Radio? Find out in this in-depth comparison pitting XM vs Sirius

As far as the numbers go, XM radio is beating Sirius for sheer number of subscribers. However, if you look at the recent subscriptions, Sirius is clearly gaining more subscribers than XM. So which is better?

If the consumer’s dollar is a vote for the product they like, as economists suggest, then the consumer says XM was the better, but now Sirius is the top dog. The reason? The new Sirius S50, better talk radio involving Howard Stern and Martha Stewart grabbing both sides of the spectrum, and a bold new marketing campaign for their secret weapon the S50: “We Know What You’re Thinking”.

The slogan “we know what you’re thinking” comes probably from the way they researched the product: they hired a research team to follow people around and find a way to integrate Sirius radio into their lives. While many think it over-the-top to declare themselves psychic, the marketing worked perfectly: it got the consumer curious. Retailers around the nation are saying the reason for Sirius’ gains in momentum is clearly tied around the tiny handheld Satellite Radio player.

The player allows the user to set it in a docking bay and download the high-quality satellite radio recordings onto MP3 format and can be taken portably with you wherever you go. The Sirius S50’s size is about 4 inches by 2 inches, and the player weights roughly 6 ounces. Pretty amazing for the handheld “Sirius portable”, and the price of the object is placed at a perhaps sobering $280. Yet with their flurries of promotions such as rebates or other offers the weight is slightly lessened. That said, the legally free, high quality MP3’s definitely pay for the product

Aside from the new S50 we have all fallen in love with, Sirius offers a lineup of sports, talk radio, and critically praised music selections that is sure to sweeten the relationship. Also, a big positive aspect of Sirius is what it doesn’t have much of: negative consumer reactions. Sirius has very few satellite-to-receiver issues, whereas competitor XM’s receiver tends to have a volume shift now and then, which for me, has always been a big factor. Sirius, on the other hand, has crisp reception, even in some tunnels!

With the new Sirius S50, among all the other great advantages, it has become quite apparent that Sirius satellite radio is no longer the underdog. XM Radio better act quickly or they risk losing their leading status.

Edit: Wrote this a few years back.

Welcome to the XM Sirius Review!

This is the first new post on XM Sirius Review after our site transition to a new CMS. Once all the site content is transferred over, we’ll begin covering the latest Satellite Radio News, particularly between the former rivals XM radio and Sirius radio. It appears for a while the two will remain seperate, and there is always a chance of a break up. Even should the two merge, there will be different choices in subscriptions, as well as news to cover from the satellite radio industry.

  
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