Checking out SiriusXM

We were listening to SiriusXM (SXM) on a ride back home last weekend. I was wondering about SXM as an alternative music/news source, and after I realized their plan is only $7 a month, I signed up for a free month trial.

I was hoping to find a couple of options with SXM:

  1. Music - techno/trance/chill
  2. Music - Classical
  3. Music - Rock
  4. News and opinions (talk shows)
  5. Stand-Ups

I’ve only been listening to SXM for two days, so some of my opinions may change. Here’s what I think so far.

My taste in electronic music is a bit hard to pinpoint. It usually on the Techno/Trance end, or on the Chill/House end. SXM fails to deliver on both for me. They have several dance stations, but I don’t like words with my electronic music, and dance music usually focuses on the beats more than the industrial flavor with metal I usually go for.

As for Classical, I found a couple of blend stations. The problem is they play popular and famous tunes, like “100 greatest classical concerts of all time” on repeat. I wanted a live host introducing composers and tunes I don’t know. WQXR does a decent job here, BBC Radio 3 is even better; and they are free. It seems there are a couple of shows or stations I need to check out still, so I’ll dedicate some more time to this.

I had a good surprise with SXM’s Rock and Metal stations. They have different stations like Classic Vinyl, Octane and Lithium, which I enjoy. With no commercial interruption, the host was talking just enough to give relevant information. Other free stations I listened to talk too much about the weather and ask for donations.

SXM delivers well on talk shows and comedies. Urban View was a good talk show, all in all, and I got a taste of George Carlin’s station last night. I’m not sure how much more they have in that regard, but it seems promising. Talk shows are something I don’t currently have somewhere else, besides The Daily Show, which has a good balance of comedy and seriousness, while giving a good overview of politics.

SXM main competition, for my wallet anyway, is with YouTube Music, formerly known as Google Music. I bought a subscription years ago and got a deal where I get uninterrupted YouTube (no ads) and full access to the music app for 5 bucks less than the regular price. YouTube Music delivers excellent selection and high quality audio (320kbs, like SXM1). It has an OK radio feature where it builds an automatic music list based on a song or an album, and their premade lists are pretty good. YouTube Music also has better electronic music selection for my taste (considering their huge selection, that’s not surprising) so I’m not convinced yet.

I have a month to make up my mind before I’m charged, and even if I do, it’s not a crazy amount, so I’m taking my time.

What do you end up listening to? Where do you find your high quality stuff?


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  1. This is a good place to mention that for high quality audio, in flac format, I usually buy albums from Bandcamp. This is especially good for my electronic music, where I can also find good recommendation or follow artists that keep delivering good results. My sound system at home is just good enough to appreciate the difference of good downloaded flac files over streaming 320kbs service. ↩︎