I had a surreal moment on Saturday, when I took the family to grab some burgers at the local Five Guys. No, President Obama didn't walk in for a cheeseburger fix. Instead, an obscure Michael Jackson song was playing when we walked in, and then on came "Thriller." A buzz filled the dining room. Patrons started hopping. I thought it was going to break into a full-blown dance number myself.

Now, I don't know whether Five Guys just happened to stumble on a local terrestrial radio station that just happened to be paying homage to Jackson with a commercial-free set of his tunes. My guess is that Five Guys was cranking up Sirius XM Radio's (NASDAQ:SIRI) Michael Jackson Tribute Channel, which launched earlier in the day.

As big as Sirius XM is, it can still be nimble.

Jackson passed away on Thursday. At 11:45 p.m. Friday, Sirius XM announced that the Jackson channel would launch just 16 minutes later.

Sirius XM never sleeps. This morning, it announced an exclusive Fourth of July broadcast of a Bruce Springsteen concert that will be recorded in Germany a day prior. Both Sirius and XM carry the Boss-dedicated E Street Radio channel, so this is a welcome treat for its listeners.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think many people will run out and buy a satellite receiver -- or activate a dormant one -- for the sake of hearing Jackson 24/7 for awhile, or even to crank up Springsteen's Saturday afternoon show.

However, Sirius XM's proven ability to remain timely should help with subscriber retention. I'm hardly Jackson's biggest fan, yet I found myself tuning in to the dedicated channel several times during the weekend.

Buzz matters. Few are talking about the streaming application that launched through Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store just 11 days ago. It's gone from being the second most popular free app in Apple's iTunes storefront to a still-respectable fifth. But the fadeout will continue. Rare are the apps -- among them Facebook, Pandora Music, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Mobile, and AT&T's (NYSE:T) account tracker -- that remain fixtures on the Top 25 list.

The app may generate new interest if Howard Stern is added, or if it takes a page out of the Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) playbook by making itself available at no additional cost for existing subscribers. But Sirius XM is well-served by keeping the press releases rolling, to maintain its flagship satellite-based service relevant.

Sure, Jackson and Springsteen peaked in the 1980s, but even nostalgia can be relevant. And marketable.

Other ways to slice and dice satellite-radio fandom:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to both Sirius and XM. He owns shares of Netflix and is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.