During the holiday rush of December, sales of satellite radio receivers for both XM and Sirius were down 37.5% from the previous year. XM suffered the worst fate, with sales down 41%, while Sirius suffered 36% losses. These are huge numbers. In 2006, sales were down 46%.
Some could argue that more new cars are arriving with satellite radio receivers already built-in, but I would point to the poor programming of the stations, expensive subscription rates and the mass adoption of MP3 use to explain the poor sales.
As a car reviewer, I am often seated in vehicles with satellite radio installed, and I listen to the rock stations. That’s usually a 10-station swath on either service. On those stations, you’ll hear the same popular songs your local FM station is playing. When you switch to “90’s Alternative,” you’ll be greeted by Oasis or Offspring songs — two bands that may have been huge in their time, but don’t have the lasting appeal of, say, U2 or Green Day. My guess would be high royalty rates influence these stations’ song choices, equaling crap hitting your ears.
A merger of the two carriers is still planned, but who knows if demand for even one of them will be high enough to be successful in the future. What do you think? Sound off below.