SiriusXM reboots satellite radio with new app, features, on December 14

An unreleased version of the new SiriusXM app on a Cadillac Lyric EV.

SiriusXM is simultaneously a legacy brand, and one that’s looking toward the future of satellite radio in a streaming world. And today at a celebrity-laden event in New York City — kicked off by none other than Howard Stern — SiriusXM took a 90-minute look at its history, its present, and where it’s going in 2024 and beyond.

Satellite radio was perhaps a bit ahead of its time, allowing subscribers — yes, subscription radio — to listen to music, sports, and talk radio, anywhere in the country. It (brilliantly) worked deals with automakers to work its way into new cars with free trials. And it did so in the space between the advent of the modern smartphone and the introduction of proper streaming media service like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. Today, SiriusXM sports somewhere in the neighborhood of nearly 34 million subscribers.

A screenshot of Howard Stern at the SiriusXM event in New York City.
Howard Stern at the SiriusXM event in New York City. Screenshot

The reboot is more than just a new look, new channels, and a new updated app. It’s the new future of everything SiriusXM touches.

“We’re thrilled to introduce the world to the new SiriusXM brand, which brings to life the best of what we have to offer and welcomes in a new generation of listeners while staying true to our roots,” Suzi Watford, SVP, Chief Growth Officer at SiriusXM, said in a press release. “Our new brand platform, Closer, showcases the unique nature of our offering, giving true fans a space to go deeper into what they love.”

The event also saw live appearances from Conan O’Brien, Kevin Hart, Shaggy, Maren Morris, Ashley Flowers, and Andy Cohen, a performance from Kelly Clarkson (covering Miley Cyrus’ Flowers), plus recorded bits from John Mayer and James Corden.

A demo in a Cadillac Lyric EV showed a new interactive take on Sirius XM, all built atop the Android Automotive infotainment system. (That’s the one that’s baked into the car itself and not, like CarPlay or Android Auto, just running atop an existing OEM infotainment system.) In addition to a smart, stylish traditional app experience that displays the sort of categorical results and now-playing screens, the new in-car experience even allows for interactive polls — safely, execs said. And sports programming will be able to point listeners to live games as they’re happening.

The Lyric demo was very much an unreleased beta system and look at what’s possible, not necessarily what the SiriusXM experience would look like in every car in the future. And we’ll have to see what comes of the traditional app experience for Android Auto or CarPlay as part of the 360L platform that looks to blur the lines between satellite and streaming. In any event, it looked very cool and very modern.

There also was a demo of the SiriusXM app itself, which will be at the forefront of the reboot as it rolls out on Android, iOS, and Amazon starting on December 14. Again, it’s a welcome and natural improvement on what’s been available for some time.

SiriusXM also announced the launch of three new music channels. Alt2K is what it sounds like — 2000s alternative rock. Flex2K does the same for hip-hop, and The Flow hits R&B from the 2000s and 2010s. And that’s on top of new channels from Shaggy, Clarkson, Mayer, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, and podcast company Audiochuck.

And as part of the rebrand, the SiriusXM dog mascot now has a name — Stella.

Look for a lot of the new stuff on December 14, and more to come in 2024.

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