Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Music Channels on DirecTV: Sonic Crap

DirecTV Dumps Sirius XM To Save Dough and Latches on to Pale Imitator

While it's far from perfect, I have always found much to like on satellite radio, particularly what was put out by XM. Even after it merged with Sirius, there was still plenty to keep me listening for the adult album alternative and singer-songwriter tracks I gravitate to most often.
Given that only one of our cars -- the one I'm usually not driving -- has XM, I usually listened via DirecTV. Spectrum, The Loft, and The Coffeehouse were often on in the house. No more. A couple of weeks ago, DirecTV dumped SiriusXM for something called SonicTap, programmed by an outfit called DMX Music that, among other things, puts together music channels for cable systems.
DirecTV never said why it made the switch, so you can assume money was the overriding issue. It can't be because DMX is delivering a better product when just the opposite is the case. It's what happens when you have a computer program a channel instead of a person. Algorithms may work on Pandora, but DMX shows no signs it's invested in R&D to offer an intelligent music mix.
To wit: Spectrum is now called, stultifyingly enough, Adult Alternative. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.
The Loft, which was laden with a very deep playlist and quirky, compelling specialty shows from the likes of David Johansen and Lou Reed, along with New York radio legends Vin Scelsa and Meg Griffin, is now called Singer-Songwriter. Unfortunately, these singer-songwriters are usually heard on adult contemporary stations. Again, no clue.
As for The Coffeehouse, the channel is now called Coffeehouse Rock. But the lunkheads at DirecTV and DMX apparently never heard the channel, which is devoted mostly to acoustic performances and alternative versions of well-known tracks. It was the perfect accompaniment to reading a book chapter before bed. Now it is the aural equivalent of a double espresso rather than the soothing decaf it once was.
So, now I have a good excuse to turn off the TV a little sooner. Time to get reacquainted with the stereo and the CD collection. I'd rather DIY my music choices than DMX them any day.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a dead-on analysis. Having XM on Directv was great. SonicTap is lousy. Spectrum was such a great station. The replacement is a joke. Well said.

Anonymous said...

The Loft, my precious Loft, has been replaced by garbage. Time to cut back my programming on DirecTV so I can pay for XM.

Anonymous said...

This is right on. I was so upset to find a few weeks ago that I not only have lost the ability to go from car to house and keep my favorite station flowing, but the replacement is pure garbage. I can't find a station that I like...I'll stick with online radio now...Great job, DirecTV.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see I'm not alone in completely disliking SonicTap. I really miss XM and hope that Directv will listen to their customers and bring back the better music channels.

Anonymous said...

I agree - very disappointed with the switch from XM to SonicTap. The sound quality is worse and so is the programming. I miss BPM and will be switching providers to get it back.

Anonymous said...

We used to listen to escape a lot because we are older and the "easy listening" fit us well. Now its replacement play list is pretty short and no vocals, they repeat and repeate. As an alternative we went to what is now light classical. Mostly a bunch of low cost strings with a full orchestra in now & then. Once We heard a real American composer on what replaced Escape. An error??
I complety agree Direct TV has cheapend out. If I were not under a 2-yr HD contract with them I would go to XM here at home.
Please excuse spelling and typos.

Anonymous said...

It seems that everyone is terribly dissappointed with the choice Directv made by getting Sonic. I used satellite for background music in the restaurant and a more upbeat channel in the bar area(different recievers). The stuff is so bad I am now using a local easy listening FM station for the restaurant. The bar fortunately has a juke box. If it was not for Direct's lock on the NFL package they would be gone

Anonymous said...

Directtv has made the biggest mistake by allowing are ears to endure this crap music called Sonic.With preasure from us, there customers,hopefully Directv will bite the bullet to get quality music back.We the customers must keep on complaining and let the powers to be at Directv to change to better music channels or we will change to Dish network.

Matt said...

Just want to chime in: sonictap sucks and their website sucks too