Why the Sirius-XM Radio Merger is Good for Consumers

As of yesterday, the long talked about merger between satellite radio giants, Sirius and XM radio, is one step closer to happening. FCC chairman Kevin Martin, approved, on principal, a merger which would allow the two companies to become one based around a series of concessions and a three-year price freeze.

If the deal goes through, which is now more likely than ever, it's good news for consumers who will be able to pick, a la carte, their favorite stations from both services that they want to subscribe to, and also bad news for mainstream radio as their mundane days of repetitive playlists are all but finished. Currently, you can hear the same pop songs four times in one hour flipping through the mainstream dials and most listeners are tired of it. That's why satellite radio has grown to be so popular in the first place. This merger gives the consumer even more options at a fixed price which is going to drastically change the face of radio as a whole.

Unfortunately, it's yet to be seen if this deal will create a monopoly on satellite radio, which part of me thinks it will. There are other competitors out there of both Sirius and XM who probably feel like they're going to be run out of business. Under unspecified conditions, a part of this merger is supposed to allow room for an "open market" whatever that means. I can't even name a competitor of Sirius or XM off of the top of my head, and this deal won't make that any easier. But that's capitalism for you...love it or hate it. Right now, I'm so bored with regular radio, I'd deal with a temporary monopoly just to see mainstream stations be forced to get their act together. At times it seems like their shuffling between 20-25 songs max. Sometimes it feels like fewer than that.

And of course, the National Association of Broadcasters has been lobbying like hell to block this deal because they know the average listener is going to partially give up on the mainstream and tryout satellite. So there's a lot at stake here.

Currently, I've already given up on regular radio, but I don't subscribe to satellite stations either. If this merger goes through, that might change. CrossFade will keep you posted when the final FCC vote takes place some time in the near future but I'm curious if folks think this is a good idea or not. All of the specifics aren't finalized yet but based on what's been revealed thus far, it sounds like a good idea to me.

--Jonathan Cunningham

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