An annoying trend with SiriusXM lately

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Just a few weeks ago the Foo Fighters were set to take over the station Lithium to promote the release of their latest album, Sonic Highways. This would’ve been fine, however it seemed like SiriusXM as a whole would stop at nothing to promote the takeover and the album. Foo Fighters were getting played regularly on channels that I’ve never heard play the Foo Fighters (or at least not very often) such as Octane and Faction. It seemed like every time I got into my car I was hearing “Something From Nothing” on just about any station I turned to. If I wanted to listen to the Foo Fighters, I would’ve tuned into Lithium and listened to them there.

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Not only was “Something From Nothing” receiving an abnormal amount of airplay all over the place, but every station was promoting the Foo Fighters takeover excessively. You could easily hear a plug for the takeover what seemed like several times an hour, all day, all over the place. It quickly got on my nerves.

Now AC/DC has taken over Classic Rewind and it seems the same thing that happened with the Foo Fighters is repeating. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard AC/DC receive airplay on Octane, but over the last few days I’ve heard “Rock or Bust” on Octane more often than it should be. I’m not saying it’s terrible, heck I enjoy it a lot more than the Foo Fighters, and the band fits in better on Octane than the Fighters, but still I feel like money and promotion is causing songs to get preferential treatment over the music listeners might actually want to hear.

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I understand this is nothing new to radio, but I always felt like satellite radio was at least just a little above that. I’ve listened to Sirius for several years, and maybe this has been happening for awhile, but it seems like it’s been getting more frequent lately.

I know I’m not the only one reacting this way. For example Octane has had exclusive content from In This Moment and Twelve Foot Ninja recently and around the time those events aired both bands saw an abnormal spike in airplay. Posts promoting the bands on Octane’s Facebook page saw an overwhelmingly amount of negative comments about both bands. For as often as they promote the Octane “Air Force”, where listeners get a say in what should be played more often and what shouldn’t, it’s difficult to believe they really listen to their audience’s feedback when these promotions take over the airwaves and the music their listeners want to hear gets put on a back burner.

More often than not lately I find myself plugging my phone in and listening to Spotify where I can control what I want to listen to. Most of the time I do still enjoy listening to SiriusXM, but I’m getting a little sick of having all this promotional stuff shoved down my throat over and over again. Anyone else feel the same lately?

 

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In 2014 paying for music is easier than stealing

In the early 2000’s up until the advent of iTunes store one of the most common reasons given for pirating music was that it was too easy not to. In recent years, however, going legitimate and supporting artists has become easier than ever. I’d even argue that that act of buying individual albums (even via iTunes or Amazon) will soon become as obsolete as renting movies at Blockbuster.

The reason for all this is the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes Radio, Beats Music, Pandora, Xbox Music and so on. Spotify has completely eliminated my desire to download albums, either by way of the Pirate Bay or legitimate services such as iTunes. For $10 a month I can stream or even download nearly any album I desire to any of my various devices. At any given time I have at least 20-30 albums downloaded to my phone via Spotify in addition to various playlists I’ve created, such as my gym playlist.

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It’s so simple to build a collection of albums, and the fact that you can listen offline is even better. Simply save an album as a playlist and tell your device to download it and you’re done. It’s nice to have the option to save music to your device so that you can listen in the car, gym or on a flight and not use any data or require a WiFi connection.

I should note, you can use Spotify for free and still save albums to playlists, however you must listen to albums on shuffle and Spotify will insert related music into your playlists as well as commercials. You also cannot download music without subscribing to Spotify’s premium service.

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On my Mac, however, I stream all of my music. I used to have countless hundreds of gigabytes of storage tied up storing music, however Spotify has allowed me to free up almost all of that space. There is one minor disadvantage to this form of ‘renting’ music as I like to look at it. Although you have a seemingly unlimited supply of new and old music at your disposal, nothing is permanent. For example, I really enjoyed Morrissey’s 2014 album World Peace Is None of Your Business, yet it recently disappeared from Spotify. The album was rescinded due to a record label dispute, and now I have no access to it at all (legally). Had I purchased it via iTunes I would presumably still own and have access to it.

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Beyond Spotify (which, if you can’t tell is my favorite music service) I also subscribe to SiriusXM and Xbox Music. I use Sirius mostly in my car, but I also enjoy the ability to stream it on my computer, phone or iPad on occasion. I enjoy using Sirius when I feel like giving up control of what I’m about to hear. It’s nice to discover new music on Alt Nation and pop open Spotify and add the album to my collection.

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I subscribe to Xbox Music because it’s an easy way to stream music from my TV and I love the interface. Xbox Music gives you the option to play music videos in place of songs when available so it’s nice to have on the TV as background noise while having drinks or conversation. Xbox Music doesn’t have quite the selection that Spotify has, but the enjoyable interface and music videos make the $10 a month seem justified.

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Thanks to streaming services I’ve saved hundreds of dollars a year while still supporting artists. I do, however, still enjoy purchasing albums on vinyl that I really enjoy. I pre-ordered Weezer’s upcoming album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End on vinyl via their Pledge Music page and am quite excited for it to arrive.

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A few songs

Just popping in to share a few songs I’m really loving right now and can’t get enough of. I’ve been on a huge alternative kick lately mostly fueled by enjoying listening to Alt Nation on SiriusXM almost religiously. Here are a few songs I can’t stop listening to.

Bleachers – “Rollercoaster”

This feels like the perfect summer anthem, and I just picture sitting on the beach at night by a fire watching the reflections of the flames and the moon on the waves while listening to this song. I absolutely love everything about this song.

American Authors – “Love”

Another great summer love song. Upbeat and cheery, its something you can just shout along to at the top of your lungs in the car.

Little Comets – “Dancing Song”

To me this sounds like a perfect mashup of Vampire Weekend and Modest Mouse. Cheery, wacky and full of energy throughout.

Suckers – “Roman Candles”

I don’t really know what else to say other than I just like the sound of this song. The whistling is catchy and the beat is soothing.

Last, but not least, I want to share one of my favorite music videos and songs of all time. Grouplove’s “Ways to Go”. I love the feel of both the song and the video, it’s catchy and uplifting and I can never stop watching the video.

Merry Christmas from AVGL

I hope you’re enjoying your holiday morning so far. We’re out of bed and getting ready to get together with my girlfriend’s family for breakfast. I’m thankful for all the wonderful people I get to spend Christmas with out here in Idaho as my family celebrates in Pennsylvania. Right now I’m listening to Sirius XM’s The Coffee House which is featuring acoustic Christmas songs which is quite relaxing and joyful. Have a good morning, and Merry Christmas!

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Love this song and video:

The new SiriusXM web player

I listen to SiriusXM often in the car, but just as often on my computer or phone while I’m working out, cleaning or reading. The other day I was surprised to find a new and improved SiriusXM internet player. You can still listen in on the live broadcasts on the hundreds of channels available, but now there’s a new feature called MySXM.

As you can see below the MySXM logo appears next to the player and you can click on it to switch between your personalized MySXM channel and the live channel.

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MySXM will let you adjust the types of songs a channel plays, giving you an experience somewhat similar to Pandora or Spotify. For example Alt Nation lets me choose whether I’d prefer more familiar songs or newer songs. Guitar based songs or more electronic based songs, and lastly newer or veteran artists. It’s an interesting addition to a great music service.

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Sirius XM, worth another shot?

Nowadays nobody listens to the radio. Instead most people have turned to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, and that’s not such a bad thing, but I think you lose something when you turn to these automated services. I’m a Pandora One subscriber and I enjoy the service, however I find myself skipping unfamiliar songs all too often, trying to listen to only my favorite songs. Also Pandora is just too robotic. By that I mean there’s no human interaction. Just song after song. For some this is a good thing, however I’m starting to think it’s not for me.

Furthermore, Pandora doesn’t often play brand new music. That’s why I’ve decided to give SiriusXM another try. I had been a subscriber to XM before the merger and enjoyed it, however in the long run I had to cut the service from my budget. Now I think I may end up getting a Sirius radio for my car.

I’m currently on a 30 day trial of SiriusXM Internet Radio, which lets you stream the service via your computer or phone and it’s been quite enjoyable. I’ve already discovered quite a few new songs I hadn’t heard through Pandora, and I like the human component. I love the news breaks and commentary by the DJ’s. Furthermore it’s nice to be able to listen to the news via CNN or MSNBC if I feel like it, or check out ESPN Radio and SportsCenter throughout the day. There’s also streaming play by play, and of course Howard Stern!

I’m enjoying it so far, and look forward to having the service in my car again. I’d use the app on my phone in the car, except I don’t have 3G coverage until I drive an hour off base.