Have you just bought a new car? Chances are pretty good that SirusXM Satellite radio was (A) a standard feature on your radio and (B) free of charge for a certain period of time. If you’re coming to the end of that trial, you’re making decisions on whether to keep the service. Or, if you just bought a used car with the functionality embedded in your audio system, you’re wondering whether to start up.
The answer -- like the answer every good attorney will give you to any question -- is “It depends,” on a lot of factors:
|Package||Monthly Fee||Additional Features||Monthly Fee|
The quickest way to figure out whether or not SirusXM is right for you is to figure out exactly what you’re getting out of it. There are three different SirusXM packages available that are applicable to you if you’re interested in listening while you’re driving. (There are two others if you want just access at home, but since this is Car Talk and not House Talk, we’ll leave those aside for now).
The packages for listening in the car are:
We compiled the chart below to give you an easy way to compare the packages:
|Sirius XM Select||SiriusXM All Access||SiriusXM Mostly Music|
Your decision on which package to choose comes down to these questions:
Here is the music channel lineup:
|Channel Number||Channel Name||Channel Type||Genre||Description|
When satellite radio first launched in the 1990s, it represented something that terrestrial radio just couldn’t offer: Hundreds of channels, customized and curated for whatever kind of listening you loved. Especially for fans of talk radio, it got down to granular levels that the AM and FM bands just couldn’t compete with.
But in the intervening years, a lot has changed. Streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music have taken ownership of the music industry, and they’re the go-to options for hard-core music listeners. Services like Apple Podcasts and Stitcher stream even more specific talk listening right to your phone, offering variety that SiriusXM just can't.
So why bother with SiriusXM at all with all these streaming services available? There are a number of really good reasons:
SiriusXM still relies on old-school program directors and on-air talent to curate music that you’re more likely to listen to. XM21 (Little Steven’s Underground Garage) is a good example. Do you like the Ramones? Good, because every song played on that channel is either the Ramones, bands that influenced the Ramones, or bands the Ramones influenced. And on top of that, there’s good on-air talent that provides information about those songs you may not have known. And they’re breaking new music in that genre, too, something that simply is not happening anywhere other than a few college or community radio stations around the country.
Integration: The major advantage to SiriusXM in the car is that it’s native to almost every OEM audio system sold in the United States in the last 20 years. The band already exists on your radio, all you have to do is turn it on. It works seamlessly with no additional hardware, and you can save your favorite stations right along with your favorite AM and FM stations.
Satellite Coverage: There are a whole lot of places in this country where streaming services just don’t work. You’re depending on a signal on your phone -- or through the onboard WiFi now available in many cars -- for your listening. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to be disappointed if you rely solely on streaming services.
You can start in California and end up in Massachusetts and listen to the same SiriusXM channel from coast to coast with barely an interruption, because it’s satellite based and the whole country is covered. The only dead spots you’ll notice are when tree cover is particularly thick, but on the highways, you hardly ever lose signal.
SirusXM, on the other hand, is working under a much more strict royalty requirement, as set out by Congress. “Unlike terrestrial radio, SiriusXM is required to pay copyright music royalties to recording artists, musicians and recording labels that hold copyrights in sound recordings (the actual recording of a work) that were fixed after February 15, 1972. Like terrestrial radio, SiriusXM must also pay music publishers who hold copyrights in musical compositions (or the lyrics and music) through their collective organizations such as ASCAP and BMI. The U.S. Music Royalty Fee offsets royalties payable by SiriusXM to composers, publishers, recording artists, musicians and record labels that hold copyrights in musical works and recordings.” Nobody’s getting rich off of SiriusXM royalties, but at least it’s not the near theft that’s happening with the streaming services.
The base price for subscriptions is $16.99 for SiriusXM Select, $21.99 for SiriusXM All Access and $10.99 for SiriusXM Mostly Music, without any applicable discounts.
If you just bought a new car, chances are you have SiriusXM for free for three months. There are also discount programs that can get you free access for a limited period of time.
Yes. Every manufacturer currently offers a radio with SiriusXM built into its capabilities.