The XM Sirius iPhone App Arrives (Do you care?)


Several months after crushing StarPlyr, XM Sirius has gotten around to launching their own streaming iPhone client. And, as you might expect, premium content such as Howard Stern and the NFL is not available. For long time subscribers, the app is probably a nice (free) bonus. But for newer subscribers, ‘Premium Online’ is bundled with the most pricey satellite packages or available as a $3/mo add-on.

After my rather vocal XM cancellation (which ended up in the NYTimes) last fall, I recently resubscribed to XM after upon finding a half price deal ($77/yr) in the Fatwallet forums, giving up on AT&T‘s network (‘less bars is more places’) for continuous music streaming, and XM proving disco isn’t dead. So I’m a new subscriber all over again, but online playback is no longer included as part of my subscription.

For a company with stagnant subscriber growth and imminent rate hikes, giving away online access could help stop the bleeding and attract new customers. Or it may not matter at all… with the very fine Slacker and Pandora products available (for free) in both desktop and mobile clients. If I’m paying an additional few bucks a month for commercial-free music, it’s going to Slacker.

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12 thoughts on “The XM Sirius iPhone App Arrives (Do you care?)”

  1. Ditto!
    I was realistic about NFL and MLB not appearing on the App but the lack of Stern is downright stunning.

    The company has said themselves that Stern’s draw is hugely important but somehow they’ve decided to keep it off the Iphone app.

    If I pay for Stern as a full subscriber and then pony up $2.99 for the premium online, how can they punish me by leaving it off the Iphone app.

    Sirius/XM has officially worn out their welcome with me on this one.

    Thanks Slacker. See you at the gym tomorrow.

  2. Is it fishy or will that be one of the fabled in-app purchases/upgrades? Or will it be a ‘Super Premium’ tier of online streaming? Could also a licensing thing. Who knows!

    By the way, the clever station id/announcements of Lucy (XM, pre-merger) have been replaced by ridiculous scenarios on Lithium (mainly 90s ‘grunge’, accounts for about 80% of my listening). And still too many song repeats in a given day/week.

    Also the combined traffic (DC and Baltimore) isn’t very useful – takes too long to get the incomplete traffic for my region and WTOP has better info every 10 minutes. Today, XM said there was an accident. TOP said there was an accident on the left shoulder. That’s the detail I need.

  3. Thank you apple, for the great app store censorship and thoughtfulness of taking away yet another great feature/app(streaming of howard)…

  4. @Ben – while I know it’s ‘cool’ to bash Apple, I’d like to have you provide the source of your information. Oh wait – there isn’t one, because you made it up.

    @Everyone else – you should be more concerned about Sirius’ recent announcement that they are tacking on $1-$2 per month for record company royalties. RIAA strikes again.

    Between the seemingly 50/50 split of talk to commercials, and the horrid customer service experiences with XM, this may be the straw that broke the camels back. Plus, they messed with The Boneyard! GASP. Unacceptable.

  5. Even though I bought an additional year of service so I could retain “online listening” without paying the additional fees they instituted in March, I still cannot listen to the iPhone app without an additional $3/month fee.

    This “premium online” expense is just one of the many reasons all of their subscribers will eventually abandon them for cheaper and better services like Pandora.

  6. I too was disappointed they did away with online listening. We’ve been XM subscribers at least 4 years and just renewed yet our online listening disappeared. I too am moving away from XM. Right now it is relegated to the car and my online listening on iPhone is Shoutcast!

  7. You know, I probably wanted this app in 2002.

    Now, I have so much available content (even if you just count podcasts and my ripped CD collection), paying for additional satellite-radio content just seems so foreign right now.

    Stern, I can take or leave him, I don’t need it to survive.

  8. I think Jeff Kurrow is at the wheel right now.

    It is official. Sirius sucks as much as clear channel and viacom did when Stern worked there.

    If apple didn’t want Stern then they should have moved to Blackberry. Way more out there than iPhones, not to mention the demographic of a blackberry user vs iPod is about at least $30,000 plus more annual income, perhaps maybe market research could have prevented this mess from ever happening!
    If someone presented me with Slacker premium for $3.00 per month or Sirius w/o Howard for $5.00 I would have taken Slacker, hands down.
    However they also could have said Slacker free or $15.00 for Sirius w/ Howard and like most Howard fans I would have been right there waiting.

    Mr.Karmizan…LISTEN to what the people say, especially the 6,000,000 or so of us who ran to best buy, radio shack and other stores to clunk down well over $100 dollars back in 2004-2005.

    Have you forgotten why you have a seven figure salary?

    I say out with Mel and get aomene with a non traditional brain in

    A company like Sirius shouldnt have “suits”
    You see how much they know now

  9. My guess is they’re going to release a separate Howard app. Opie & Anthony are on there and have been better for years now anyways. Charging extra for online listening is ridiculous. If anything, it should be the other way around. Charge $10 a month for online listening, and then $2 a month per satellite unit. Also, I agree, the commercial to talk ratio is as bad as regular radio. They really need to figure a better system out.

    As for the app itself, it works, but it doesn’t feel well designed. How about album art? And of course, Apple’s lack of multitasking really hurts this. I have to stop listening to respond to an SMS message? Great!

  10. If sirius has any brains, they should have mobile apps for everyphone in development right now. I’d like to see it on blackberries, winmo, symbian, webos etc

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