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SiriusXM needs to attract a younger audience — its new app isn’t enough

SiriusXM needs to attract a younger audience — its new app isn’t enough

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The company will launch its new app next month. But without a free tier, it’s hard to see how it will attract the under-30 set.

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SiriusXM logo
SiriusXM

Yesterday, SiriusXM executives previewed the company’s rebrand and new consolidated app with much pomp and circumstance. (Kelly Clarkson sang! Kevin Hart did a lot of bits! There was pizza!) I don’t have much of an opinion on the logo (though a lot of Verge readers do), but I did come away with a few thoughts. The new app functions more like Pandora and centralizes content from SiriusXM and the SiriusXM Podcast Network (formerly Stitcher). The app certainly seems more sophisticated. But without a defined pipeline between its podcast listeners and its premium satellite offerings, it is unclear how the app will achieve the company’s main goal: attracting younger paying customers.

SiriusXM, the home of Howard Stern and curated stations for Gen Xers, boomers, and elder millennials (no shade! First Wave slaps) needs to find a way to bring in a younger audience. This is not just a long-term problem — the service has lost 336,000 subscribers since the beginning of the year. The revamped app is supposed to be the next step in achieving that goal. 

SiriusXM CEO Jennifer Witz announced a $9.99-per-month streaming tier, which represents a $1 price cut. But if the company is really going for the under-30 set, the best way to do that is by pulling a Spotify and introducing a free tier within the app. When I asked CTO Joe Inzerillo about whether that was part of the plan, he said there is nothing official yet, but it sounds like something may be on the way. “You probably do want to have some sort of opportunity for people to get into the application that is not necessarily coming in through a paid subscription,” he said.

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