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Satellite Radio – Why Bother?

I’m getting ribbed by a few folks about my lack of enthusiasm for satelite radio. It looks like I am not alone.

I think it’s pretty simple for music. MP3 player plus subscription music = no satellite radio music. Satellite radio covers you only when you are in the car, the MP3 works everywhere and offers more choice and customization.

The only thing that doesn’t fit that model is live news, sports, weather, and traffic. I just don’t think many people will pay for that.

Having high quality content is the last path, provided the satellite guys can lock it in and keep it migrating. Howard Stern (not what I consider high quality, but that’s for a different blog) could have just as easily signed up for subscription podcasting and produced his show the night before. I suspect will do the same as they won’t be locked into a single network.

In the end, why couldn’t this all be provided over a 3G network? Why does a whole parallel hardware infrastructure have to be built. It just seems silly – why bother?

Related Facts:
14% of American households (roughly 16MM) claim to have satellite radio today, and there are 9MM XM (XMSR) and Sirius (SIRI) subscribers. 24% of American households (roughly 26MM)have at least one MP3 player and roughly 5MM people subscribe to an MP3 all-you-can-download service (and Apple doesn’t even offer one – yet)


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  1. I agree completely. While I love listening to XM on AirTran, I generally opt for my iPod where I’m guaranteed to like both the music and podcasts on it. I haven’t really seen what the major attraction is for XM or Sirius, except for those people who like very limited arrangements of Hank Williams or Puchini.

    Posted by Erick Erickson | December 31, 2005, 7:24 PM