Price: SiriusXM is best known for its satellite radio service for cars, but it also offers cheaper plans that allow users to listen through an app or web browser.
The packages offered by SiriusXM change so frequently that it’s not worth keeping track of the details. For around $11 a month, you can get a subscription that will let you listen on your phone, with access to hundreds of channels, including music, comedy, sports, talk radio, on-demand shows and ad-free music with skippable tracks. Sometimes that price gets you access to Howard Stern Channels (its new content is a SiriusXM exclusive), but sometimes you have to pay more for it.
There’s also an additional charge if you want to stream directly to a car stereo (although you can just get the app and use Bluetooth if you have good cell service). Last time we checked, it cost a total of $18 per month.
There are free trials, discounted first-year pricing, and family plans. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t hesitate to bargain, haggling with a customer service representative may be the way to get the best price. Just make sure you don’t get sucked into a plan with hidden fees and variable costs. .
Who is it best for: People who like terrestrial radio stations but want more options and an ad-free experience with the ability to skip tracks. SiriusXM is also the only game in town for Howard Stern fans.
Benefits: SiriusXM has a wide variety of offerings that will likely be a significant upgrade over your local radio stations. And if you have good cell service on your commute, as well as an unlimited data plan, you can stream to your car stereo from your phone. You’ll get cheaper access to the same content offered in the company’s satellite radio packages.
As described above, SiriusXM bought Pandora, and the two services now share some features and content for free. See their help page for more details.
The inconvenients: You’ll likely have to call customer service to end your subscription, which was a long and complicated process when we tried it. Choosing a package is also surprisingly complicated. When you factor in satellite radio tiers, new users have to choose from many subscription choices with a bewildering variety of offers, optional add-ons, and hidden fees. Plans are constantly changing and details are hard to come by, so you’ll never know for sure if you’re getting the best deal. The SiriusXM app and web interface can also be harder to navigate than most competitors.