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Fri, May. 29th, 2009, 09:20 am
cjkline83: Sirius Cancels Free Internet Radio for Subscribers

Background: If you're a Sirius Satellite Radio subscriber, you used to be able to listen online for free as part of your subscription. This was very handy if you didn't want to have to set up a second dock in your office for your radio; you could just go to Sirius.com, enter your username, and password, and stream most of their music, talk, news, and comedy stations right on your computer. It was so convenient and, I thought, a very kind gesture to their loyal customers.

Maybe six months to a year ago, I saw an offer to "upgrade" my listening experience online to "premium" sound quality (128kb) for only $2.99 a month. I thought, "Sure, why not try this. I don't mind throwing a little extra money at Sirius, they're really great! And, if I don't like it, or feel it's not worth paying for, I'll just downgrade and revert back to my "basic" internet quality.

Well, I wish I could tell you that the premium sound quality sounded as good as any other internet radio station streaming at 128kbps. It didn't. In fact, I couldn't notice any difference at all. But, I kept giving Sirius the extra $3 anyway for a few months. A few days ago I called into customer care to discontinue my premium internet subscription. I wanted to just revert back to the standard subscription. The rep asked why, and I said I couldn't tell a difference between the premium and the standard. The rep thanked me, and disconnected the call, revoking my premium subscription.

So, today I tried to log in and stream Hits 1, only to find out that Sirius has changed the rules of the game, unannounced to me. You can now only stream their programming on the internet if you pay the premium subscription fee. They no longer include any streaming access with your subscription for your radio. I didn't get a letter or an email, and the rep didn't notify me of this change and try to keep my subscription active.

Feeling like the company has turned its back on its subscribers, I sent the following to Sirius Customer Care:
I recently removed my premium subscription to Sirius Internet Radio because I couldn't tell a difference between the premium quality and what I had before, and I didn't want to pay the extra $2.99 a month for something I only use rarely when I'm at my office. I listen to my Sirius radio in my car all the time when driving (and I drive a lot).

So when I downgraded, it wasn't until today that I found out Sirius had changed its rules regarding internet radio: it is no longer included with your subscription, even at the "basic", non-premium bitrate.

Well, that's lovely. I don't recall getting an email or a letter saying your policy was changing and you were no longer including internet streaming with a radio subscription.

I'm disappointed that Sirius has made this move. I've been a faithful subscriber for many, many years, with minimal service interruptions. I've been enjoying nearly every channel Sirius offers, but this has left a very sour taste in my mouth. I understand charging subscribers who want to upgrade the sound quality of the internet stream, but charging all your current customers to listen to a lower quality stream? It just seems trite.

Thanks for listening,
Curtis Kline
Hagerstown, MD

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)

Now that's odd because I don't pay anything extra, (In fact I haven't given Sirius any money since I payed for a lifetime account in Dec 05) and I just tried to log on to the internet radio, and had absolutely NO problem logging on. I am listening to Lithium right now and never got an error message or anything of that sort.

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)

From their FAQ:
4. Why have you changed the online listening product?
The Online listening platform has been upgraded to a higher quality digital audio and is no longer included as a part of a base subscription at no charge. The upgrading of this service allows for customers to listen at near CD-quality sound (128k) for a better listening experience. In the future this will also allow customers to access the online listening platform from a variety of electronic devices.

5. When will I be impacted by the price changes?
Current customers are not impacted by the most recent price increase or benefit change until their next renewal date.
Since you have a lifetime package, you were not affected, since your service never "renews". So monthly, or quarterly customers, like me, are the only ones affected. You know, the ones who keep supplying Sirius with money on a regular basis? Pretty shitty deal if you ask me.

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)

Ah I didn't realize that. That kinda blows for everyone else. Sorry to hear that.

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)

I did get several emails before they changed the rate. I wasn't happy to pay more (or to pay for my internet listening at all), but I did. I would also be frustrated if I didn't receive advance notice of the change.

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)

I just set up my plug-and-play boombox in my office so I can listen to Sirius without having to pay a stupid "internet fee". It really is ridiculous, and sorry that I'm unable to see this from the company's point of view. I know every business needs to make money, but I pay them regularly to keep my subscription on my radio active. I think they should bring the internet streaming back for free, even if its a really shitty bitrate (like 32kbps). Then those that really want to hear Sirius at a decent bitrate and WANT to pay for that privilege, would do so.

(Sorry for the edits)

Edited at 2009-05-29 07:18 pm (UTC)

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)

I got e-mails letting me know about the rate changes & the fee for the internet stream weeks ago...I never bothered with it though, because I think i've used the 'net streaming option 3 times in almost 3 years of being a subscriber. Wasn't worth it to me to pay extra for a feature I never utilize.
(Deleted comment)

Sat, May. 30th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)

i never received any notification either. i would pretty much only listen in my car because the radio doesn't work in my office and the IT dept banned access to the sirius website before the price increase. i then found an app for my iphone that streams sirius. i tried to connect and it didn't work. i had to upgrade. it's pretty much the only way i can listen, so i had to. central pennsylvania has an issue with the satellite repeaters interfering with regular radio, so they shut a few of them them down a few years ago. my radio doesn't work in my house or office.

Wed, May. 15th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)

i just call customer care the first person said he was going to resend a signal.He said it would take a few minutes,well when i couldn't listen on my phone I called back. The secnd rep told me that scence i have a lifetime oolicy they would have to take away my internet radio and charge me to listen on my phine. The only draw back besides having to pay for the phine service I would loose my internet radio.i am disabled and have to stay in the house for the most part. So its either I use my phone ,get a home kit ,boombox or don't change anything . I am also one who always gets offers to up grade my S5 radio but nonitification this is poor business managent.thanks sirius from a loyal costomer