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
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
The app may generate new interest if Howard Stern is added, or if it takes a page out of the Netflix
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:
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.