Thanks to advances in satellite radio, SiriusXM offers a huge range of ad-free radio stations for music, sports broadcasting, talk radio, and much more.

SiriusXM is one of the most popular options for satellite radio, since a monthly subscription allows you access to over 175 channels: 72 for music, 15 for news, 22 for talk and entertainment, 9 for comedy, 18 for Hispanic and Latino listeners, and several more. You can listen to SiriusXM through a special car stereo, your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, and even through the company’s special home radio.

Access to SiriusXM requires a monthly subscription, except for certain free trial periods. As one of the largest subscription media companies, SiriusXM provides over 32 million people with the kind of music and broadcasts they crave.


Naturally, if you are a SiriusXM subscriber, you will think of this service first when you want to offer quality music in your business. However, there are several problems with using this kind of service in a retail, restaurant, or other commercial setting.

SiriusXM Advantages and Disadvantages

SiriusXM provides almost 200 options for channels that are similar to radio, but not the same as AM or FM broadcast radio stations. For one thing, once you pay the subscription fee, you do not have to listen to ads. You can get niche radio station offerings that you may not hear otherwise. There are dozens of radio personalities and genres of stations that you may not be able to find outside of this program. And, because it is satellite and internet-based, SiriusXM quality does not falter as quickly as other forms of radio broadcasting.

However, you may find that there are some downsides to working with this company.

  • The monthly subscription can be hard to cancel.
  • The signal may not be great outside of major cities.
  • Alaska and Hawaii do not have coverage yet.
  • FCC regulations are not required for this form of broadcasting, so explicit content could come up more easily.

If you’re a business owner, these disadvantages may not be a problem. You want to provide your patrons with the best possible music streaming in high quality, without having to worry about creating the mix yourself. Yes, SiriusXM can be a great substitute for music streaming services like Pandora or Spotify, which require you to be more engaged in the playlist creation process, but you still cannot play SiriusXM in your business. This is because of the music industry’s approach to licensing and copyright.

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Playing SiriusXM in Your Business Could Cost You

Performing rights organizations (PROs) manage copyright licensing on behalf of music publishers, musicians, composers, and others who may receive royalty payments for these songs. In the music industry, any public performance of a song requires a payment of a certain amount to the artist whose music was performed. This includes playing covers of songs, karaoke versions of songs, using songs in commercials, and even playing songs in business settings, which includes restaurants, brick-and-mortar storefronts, hotels, elevators, and offices.

As a business owner, it may seem easy to just plug your smartphone into a sound system in your business and play a commercial-free music station from SiriusXM, but you legally cannot do this.

This is true even though you pay a monthly subscription for the service. That personal subscription covers licensing for you to listen to music in private or in a setting that does not involve a large group of people. Unless the music you play in your business is completely copyright-free and royalty-free, you must purchase licenses from PROs. Because each PRO manages a different catalogue of music, you will likely need to purchase licenses through several of them to get the kind of playlist you want.

If you stream music services without consulting PROs, you will face a huge fine per offense – from several hundred dollars to several hundred thousand dollars each time. Since you’re streaming multiple songs, you will likely face fines for each song from several PROs. This gets expensive and could tank your business. Fortunately, there are business-focused music streaming services that manage this licensing for you.

Purchasing these licenses also means that you will need to manage your own playlists. If you want to create a specific mood or ambiance in your establishment, but you can’t worry too much about each song in a playlist, you will benefit from a music streaming service that can create “stations” for you. Unlike SiriusXM, a commercial music streaming service uses FCC guidelines to ensure that there are no explicit lyrics or content in the songs that are played, so you can rest easy knowing that licensing has been taken care of and your customers will not hear explicit content.