Get Sirius, Folks

About a year ago, Lunghu allowed his free, limited-time trial subscription to Sirius/XM Radio to expire.  Why?  Because the service is extremely lame: like the cable TV business model, Sirius/XM charges a fixed monthly fee for a menu of radio channels –most of which transmit genres of music already available on commercial radio.  Sure, Sirius/XM is more-or-less commercial-free, and its some of channels are “narrowcast” rather than broadcast (their Grateful Dead or Frank Sinatra channels, for example).  Although Sirius/XM does offer jazz and blues channels in addition to pop, classical, classic rock, metal and news talk, etc., the diversity and variety of  programming is extremely limited.  Only mainstream acts get airtime, the music is played on extended tape loops, and new releases from the major record companies get extensive promotion regardless of the artists’ merits.  In the realm of blues and jazz, it’s the whitebread corporate artists who serve as headliners and the “voice” of Sirius/XM:  Wynton Marsalis and B.B. King.  In another era they’d have been referred to as someone’s uncle.  Even as a free service, Sirius/Xm really wasn’t worth listening to.  Forget about paying for it!

After Lunghu tired of receiving repeated letters from Sirius/XM exhorting subscription renewal, he wrote a serious letter to the Sirius marketing department (or was it the “customer relationship office”?).  The letter explained some of the problems with Sirius’ product line noted above, observed that their principal competition on the East and West Coasts came from college radio stations that provide more novelty and variety, and closed with the prediction that as soon as Pandora’s music streaming service became available in cars, Pandora was gonna eat Sirius’ lunch and hit ‘em on the head with the cafeteria tray.  Because Pandora offers what many –if not most– music listeners want: a more-nearly personalized soundtrack for daily life, not corporate programming and propaganda. (At least Pandora’s not offering that “feature” yet.  They do subject non-subscribers to commercials, however.)

Well folks, the lunchroom bell has begun tolling for Sirius/XM:

Oakland, California-based Pandora announced expanded partnerships with automobile manufacturers on Tuesday.  Pandora said it was expanding its ties with Ford Motor Co. and will also soon be available in General Motors’ Buick, Chevrolet and GMC, as well as in Hyundai and Toyota models.  Pandora now has 100 million registered users, and presently accounts for 3.6 percent of all radio listening in the United States.
“Our goal is to allow people to personalize their radio experience anytime, anywhere,” Pandora executive vice president of business development Jessica Steel said.

Now the bad news:  Lunghu’s car does not have a Pandora radio, and he’s not about to rush out and buy a new vehicle.  Certainly not a Ford.  Besides, Pandora admits they’re weak in the African and Asian music genres: c’mon guys –get global.  If it’s any help, Lunghu knows a highly-placed official in Nigeria who can assist Pandora in obtaining licenses to broadcast the entire recording catalog of Afrodisia Records, as well as  other West African publishing houses.  Wire transfers to the appropriate Lagos bank can be arranged promptly and discreetly…


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