The saga of musical entertainment

Discussion in 'SiriusXM Soundwave Cafe' started by kryptonite, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. kryptonite

    kryptonite Well-Known Member

    (I was going to put this in the Slacker forum, but I didn't want to seem like a troll.)

    I know you'll call me crazy, but hear me out:

    In the beginning, there was FM radio. If you didn't like that, you had your tapes, CDs, records, whatever you had. If you wanted an "expanded playlist", you'd go to your FM radio. If you wanted to control what you listened to and listen without commercials, you'd pop in a CD.

    Then, satellite radio came along. People jumped to it. It was something new, something fresh. Sure, you had to pay a monthly fee, but people gladly did. The popular line was "You already watch movies on HBO instead of TNT. You buy bottled water instead of drink from the sink." And they were right. Millions of people did (and still do) pay extra for HBO and bottled water. Walk through any grocery store, and you'll find everything from filtered water to spring water to flavored water to more.

    Over time, people found their favorite satellite radio stations and didn't listen to the others. They didn't listen to country music on the FM dial, so why would they listen to country music on satellite? Maybe they had 5 music channels on their presets, maybe they had much more.

    A couple of years passed and people were happy.

    Then, they complained about hearing the same music. What was once a whimper began to turn into a roar.

    And some began to move on to Slacker, Pandora, and iPods.

    They took their favorite bands and favorite styles of music to their new media devices with "unlimited playlists." If they didn't like country, rap, classical, or jazz on their satellite radios, why would they listen to it on Slacker, Pandora, or iPods?

    Honestly, I don't know why i'm including iPods on the list, because you already have to know the music is out there in order to put it on the iPod. (Disclaimer-- I have nothing against iPods, I actually own and use one on a regular basis.)

    Millions of people set up their favorite music on their Slackers, Pandoras, iPods, in-car WiFi dealies (in-car WiFi will still take a few more years to come around...people aren't going to go out and spend several thousand on a new car just because it has a hard drive and internet access.)

    Here's my prediction:

    Give it a few years, and I wonder if people will bitch about the limited playlists on their Pandoras, Slackers, and the like.

    On my satellite radio units, I listen to live talk which I can't get anywhere else. This includes sports. (Hey, I like the scoreboard feature, as well as the fact that I can listen to any game.)

    In terms of music, I have 90's alternative on a preset and two other 90's channels. Those are the music channels I listen to a lot. It's not like anything new is going to be added to those channels. By restraining myself to a certain decade, i'm setting myself up for complaining.

    Hey, if i'm wrong i'm wrong. It's no big deal.

    I'm just thinking that the following is true: Anyone can listen to music for 8, 9, 10 hours a day, but the more they restrict what they listen to, the more likely they are to set themselves up for complaining. They're BOUND to hear repeats eventually.

    Does SiriusXM have everything? No, and i'm not saying they do. I'm saying that most people probably only listen to a very limited number of channels. No matter where they get their music from, it's only a matter of time until they start complaining.
  2. spaceghost

    spaceghost Member

    That is too true. But do you want to know the big difference between complaining that you need to download some more songs to your iPod and the stations SIRIUS plays? When someone complains about a SIRIUS station they tend to call the Customer Care number in hopes they have some magic wand that will allow them to change the programming.
  3. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    It will be interesting to see if Slacker has staying power over time. I think for me the fun part and most unique thing about Slacker is that I have the ability to control the content. For example if I don't like Bruce Springsteen then I can just ban him and I will never hear him EVER. I can't do this with sat radio. Then if I decide I want to hear mainly hits this week I can tweak my settings to just give me hits, maybe I only want current hits, so I get that. Next week maybe I want to hear hits, but older ones so I change the settings to classic. Tired of that, then I change from hits to familiar or even deep or fringe. The possibilities for keeping the playlist fresh is huge.

    So, you see with Slacker I won't ever get the same playlist day in and day out because I am in control. This is the problem with sat radio someone else decides and if they are lazy which it seems many of them are then I will get a reshuffled stale playlist and there isn't jack I can do about it.

    In regards to Pandora basically the tweaking is done differently, but it too can be changed to be different from day to day.

    So for me I don't see Sat Radio and Slacker/Pandora in the same light in terms of music. I love Sat Radio and in most cases it is great. I don't ever plan to totally cancel because of all the other areas of content that I enjoy. But when it comes to music you just can't beat Slacker or Pandora. Now with that said I will give Sat Radio one area in regards to music that Slacker or Pandora can't touch and that is special shows. This is an area where Sat Radio can really shine.

    Now will Slacker hold up long term? Just my opinion if they will continue to build their library and keep updating it with current artist and go back and pick up some missing artist, I just don't see how it could ever have the stale playlist issues that Sat Radio sometimes suffers from. Now it does take a tiny bit of effort to tweak the Slacker stations from time to time, but that is so simple to do I don't see how anyone could have an issue with that.

    In regards to complaining I think there are those folks that like to complain and they will do so regardless. Personally I don't think sat radio, slacker or any other service could make them happy. I have seen folks complaining on slacker about repeats or the artist not playing enough or too much, but most of the time it is because they have not learned how to tweak the station to their liking. Which again is one thing you can't do on sat radio. What they give you is what you get and you have absolutely zero control over it.
  4. TSS Taylor

    TSS Taylor DRC Fan

    It's an interesting discussion. There always will be places people are INTRODUCED to new content. Those places have been
    AM/FM Radio
    Satellite Radio
    Slacker, Pandora

    Then there has always been places to store this music and save it in ones collection.
    8 Track

    IMO AM/FM Radio never really competed much with Records, it really just goes hand and hand. Same with Satellite Radio and MP3s. But things seem to be moving into a more intuitive interface where software and hardware will better know what we like. But in reality sometimes it's just our duty to mix things up. Sometimes it's best for us to get sick of something and change the channel for our own sake.
  5. Vargas

    Vargas Molon Labe!

    I agree 100% with the op.

    There will always be something new and some people will always gravitate towards it.

    Remember how awesome it was when you got your first CD burner and then would go and buy a stack of CD's at sam's club or wherever and just come home and burn CD's all day? Remeber the thrill of creating a MIX TAPE? Remember how you would obsess about what order to put the songs in and and if there were two songs by the same band on your mix tape or CD you would ALWAYS make sure that you seperated them by a few other songs so that they didn't run back to back? Remember the stress of creating the perfect mix for a date?

    Then with the mp3 that all faded away.

    Then Sirius comes along and provides you with a different but albeit familiar way to listen? Still a radio but it was very segmented and seperated by genre.

    Now we have Slacker (who's flame burns too bright, in my opinion) with more customizable options.

    But in the end, it is really all just a way to listen to music.

    What's next?
  6. kryptonite

    kryptonite Well-Known Member

    Being able to ban certain groups on a "radio-ish device" is cool. It's like having an iPod on shuffle, but it's up to other people to add new stuff. It almost seems like some sort of hybrid between iPod and radio.

    On Sirius, I figure if i'm tired of one channel, I just change it. That would be fairly constant across all forms of radio.

    What i'm saying is that people have had Sirius, XM, or both for several years. Now they're starting to complain about stale playlists. I wouldn't be surprised that in a few more years, the complaints will be coming forth about Slacker, Pandora, and the other similar services. You can only listen to classic rock, 90's alternative, old-school rap, or any number of genres before you start to complain about stale playlists.

    Someone won't get the same playlist, if they don't listen to the same 2-3 radio stations day in, day out. Between music and talk, I have about 4-5 stations that I regularly listen to. I wouldn't be surprised if most people are the same. On my Sirius units, I've blocked out the genres/stations I don't like. Subtract the channels that I don't regularly listen to, and i'm BOUND to hear repeats.

    I could go to anything else, and it would probably be a very similar station. I have nothing against country or rap music, but I'm not going to listen to it on a new service.

    I've played around with Pandora. I'm still only listening to what I like over there. I recently heard that they've started a very limited amount of commercials. Since i'm paying for satellite, i'd rather stick with their 100% commercial free music, than go to 99% commercial free music exclusively on the internet.

    Maybe I see them in the same light. I figure that if I don't like what's on, I just change the channel. If I don't want Grateful Dead, Elvis, or Springstreen 24/7, I block the channel and that's the end of that story. It's enough for me. If someone gave me a Slacker, I might play around with it, but i'm probably not going to branch out to new music. It would just be another way to get my favorite satellite channels.

    In fact, i'm not sure how much i'd like it. I'd be nervous that I would just block out everything I don't like (even the stuff that I sort of kind of like) which would give me more repeats. At least when I can't control the actual songs, it gives me stuff i'm "so-so" with every once in a while.

    I don't see how they'd have an issue with tweaking it either. Maybe i'm comparing "tweaking a playlist" to "changing a satellite channel" when they're two entirely different things?

    My main music channels are Spa when I sleep and Lithium with some 90's on 9 and The Pulse during the day. I'll throw in some Faction during the day as well. The way I figure things, if I were to expose myself to new music, satellite is probably the better option for me. Using my experience with Pandora as an example, i'd probably just end up blocking a lot of stuff and not be opening myself to new options.

    True, people will complain no matter what. A long time ago, I learned that bad news travels far and faster than good news. This is so much more true on the internet.

    True, you can't control the actual channel, but you can control what you listen to, as we all know. If you don't like something, then change the channel.

    In a way, Slacker seems kind of like some sort of "internet iPod" thingy. You can control what you listen to, but you don't have to sit there while the thing loads up.

    Nothing is perfect. You can listen to satellite everywhere, but you can't control the individual songs on the actual channels. With slacker/pandora, you can control the tastes, but it's kind of hard to listen to Pandora in the car. (Until cars get internet, which everyone seems to be raving about, while they forget the state of the economy.)
  7. Steel Cranium

    Steel Cranium Well-Known Member

    The one benefit that satrad has over internet is that it is subscriber driven to get the info, so can remain uncensored. Once wireless internet becomes part of the free airwaves (i.e. in the car), wouldn't it now fall under the umbrella of the FCC, like the AM and FM airwaves? Therefore, I believe that censorship will become an issue once music/talk from the internet is "broadcast" to all.
  8. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Yes and this is why you have the option of 25 or 40 stations on the Slacker portable so that you can get the variety that you want. I have found that many stations is way to many for me because most people probably listen to 3 to 5 stations, though I have to say I actually have about 8 that I switch between depending on my mood.

    Actually I've been a Sirius subscriber for over 9 years and honestly on the Sirius side subscribers have ALWAYS complained about the small playlist, non-rotating stale list. So, this is an inherent problem with how these stations are programmed. Granted there is only so much music in a given genre or decade and you will hear repeats. It isn't so much repeats that are the problem, it is when a channel become predictable with very little deviation in the playlist. I've always said there is nothing wrong with having a hits based philosophy which we know Sirius seems to have, but that doesn't mean they have to limit themselves as much as they do. The key to Slacker is the ability to remove so many songs and add so many new songs, this keeps the playlist fresh and unpreditable. You will still hear repeats as that is going to happen, though in all fairness I can go a week with my Slacker G2 and never hear repeats on a given station, I can't say the same for Sirius.

    So in my opinion the programmers on Sirius are lazy and they don't add enough new music and remove enough older music and then have a really good solid rotation. Having a station with 200 or 400 songs is fine, but you have a library with 2000 songs, so the removing from and adds to is important, this is where Sirius fails subscribers big time. This is also where Slacker shines because I am in control of that by doing refreshes it removes so many songs and add so many new ones from their WHOLE library in a given genre not just from 200 or 300 songs. I can even make those new song pull from classics or currents, fringe or hits or some where in between. Now this isn't to say that hits based channels aren't going to have a bit heavier rotation with many less songs, but even that can be kept somewhat fresher than what Sirius does.

    Both Pandora and Slacker have commercials, but they both also have subscriber plans that allow you for mere pennies a day to get rid of those commercials, but for those that don't want to pay then yes the limited commercials will be heard. I subscribe to sat radio as well, but 100% of something stale isn't nearly as enjoyable to subscribing (much cheaper) to say Slacker which is not only 100% commercial free, but 100% uncensored and gives the user full control over what they hear by using the fine tuning settings.

    Like you I use to not have a choice and my only option was "Change the Channel" now I don't have to do this, because those artist I don't like and those songs I can't tolerate, I never have to hear again EVER. So, I don't want to have to change the channel. Which by the way you've basically stated as your solution about 4 or 5 times in this reply. LOL

    Yeah, I thought that too and in fact when I first got my G2 I told Taylor and MM I was probably going to return it. However, after I really started listening and having it go with me where I could hear it anywhere. I didn't have to worry about antennas or reception. Then started just while killing a little time messing with the station fine tuning. I knew within about 2 week there is no way I could settle for sat radio for music anymore. Yes, I said settle and for me today using sat radio for my music is settling for so, so much less. (I understand this is my opinion, but I feel strongly about it.)

    Now with all that said I am still a sat radio subscriber, but I rarely listen to the music anymore. Sure every now and I again I do, but mainly for me its sports, talk, news that I am enjoying sat radio for now. Basically they things I can't get on Slacker.

    I honestly don't see how satellite would be a better option for new music? I can't tell you how much music I've learned about on Slacker long before it was even playing on Sirius and often times hear music from artist that NEVER plays on Sirius. You take Patsy Cline (yes I love vintage country) I've heard songs of hers that I never new existed, I've got whole new view of her from Slacker that Sirius can't even come close to matching. I dont' think you realize just how limited sat radio really is and how much you are at the mercy of the limited programming that is being allowed.

    In regards to Spa, yes I love that channel, but I've created my own New Age channels, one lite for sleeping at night and another which has less spacey stuff and more drums beats and chants etc. It is really cool as hell. Spa is probably a shinning star on Sirius XM

    Nothing is perfect that goes without saying, but with sat radio you can't control anything about it period. Slacker and Pandora you absolutely can and both are available in cars on the iPhone and of course Slacker is available on Blackberry and their on G1/G2 portable and basically available for listening anywhere at anytime.

    Speaking of the economy, in my mind if I had to choose one service and music was my primary thing. I'd without a doubt have to give Slacker the nod. I haven't even talked about SQ either, which outshines sat radio too.
  9. DAB

    DAB Mod Emeritus

    Slackers model would not have this issue because it isn't streaming except in some cases, but via their own portables and even the Blackberry, you are downloading to the device, so the FCC would have no say over this content.

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