My interest in satellite radio is strong. I tired of listening to MP3 files downloaded from Kazaa long before the industry shut the system down; I concluded that having my own library was very nice, but I still needed some surprises, and satellite radio promised me a range of music that keeps introducing me to new artists as well as old ones I’d forgotten. I get much more satisfaction from satellite radio than from my MP3 collection. So a combination of radio and MP3 player sounds like a good idea…
Jack Kapica, Globeandmail.com: Satellite Radio Revisited, Oct 2, 2006
I agree with Jack. Mark Evans recently mused about the advantages of iPods over satellite radio in the car, and I’ve been exchanging comments with Rob Hyndman who thinks that iPod entertainment rules supreme. In my comments I argued along the same line as Jack in his article, although I’d say my satisfaction rate for satellite radio and mp3 is about the same. I love iPods/mp3 players but they are ultra-convenient storage devices, which is not the same as radio – even if you can download podcasts and music onto them. It’s not better or worse, it is different.
My prediction: in the car, the iPod will make the CD player (and DVD player) extinct. The CD did it to the tape which did it to the 8-track. Satellite radio has the potential to do the same to FM radio, which (almost) killed AM.
Today, many car manufacturers are installing iPod/mp3 connectors. But many are also installing satellite radio in new cars. I think there are enough people who are willing to pay for the convenience of being entertained without downloading content first. It may change in the future but I think this convenience factor still has a lot of mass market appeal.
Overall the iPod/mp3 vs. satellite radio debate reminds me a bit of the “bricks and mortar will die” discussions during the early e-commerce years. It isn’t always black and white; there is room for growth for both satellite radio and iPods/mp3 players. Like Jack, I think that a combination of satellite radio and mp3 player is a good idea.
[Full disclosure: No High Road client involved, I just personally like satellite radio (and iPods/mp3 players)]