Overall, you’d think the record industry would embrace satellite radio for giving consumers something mainstream radio - with its increasingly limited format and stagnant computer-generated play lists - hasn’t provided for years: variety. The more than 13 million subscribers - 7.6 million for XM and about 6.2 million for Sirius - who shell out $12.95 a month have to agree. Tune into any of the music stations on XM or Sirius and you have a choice of hundreds of “stations” playing popular favorites, hot new top 40 and independent acts, forgotten underground heroes who deserved better, and countless surprises that turn listeners into passionate fans.
When was the last time mainstream radio offered such choice? When was the last time record labels had such an open platform to introduce new acts, revitalize old ones and reach new passionate listeners willing to pay for something mainstream radio has failed at?
That “variety” is infectious, spreading to the hundreds of product manufacturers that develop the devices to satisfy consumer demand. It affects the distributors that move the product. And it impacts the retailers - large, small, brick-and-mortar, on-line, custom, specialty, mainstream - that welcome any new line that increases sales, profit, incremental business, and drives installation services.