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Best Music Streaming Services – Consumer Reports

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Price: SiriusXM is best known for its satellite radio service for cars, but it also has cheaper packages that let users listen through an app or a web browser.

The packages SiriusXM offers change so frequently that it isn’t worth keeping track of the specifics. For around $11 per month you can get a subscription that will let you listen on your phone, with access to hundreds of channels, including music, comedy, sports, talk radio, on-demand shows, and ad-free music with skippable tracks. Sometimes that price gets you access to the Howard Stern channels (his new content is a SiriusXM exclusive), but sometimes you need to pay more for that.

There’s also an extra charge if you want to stream directly to a car radio (though you could just get the app and use Bluetooth if you have good cell service). Last we checked, that costs a total of $18 per month.

There are free trials, discounted rates for the first year, and family plans. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind bargaining, haggling with a customer service rep may be the way to get the best price—just make sure you don’t get roped in to a plan with hidden fees and shifting costs .

Who it’s best for: People who like terrestrial radio stations but want more options and a commercial-free experience with the option of skipping tracks. SiriusXM is also the only game in town for Howard Stern fans.

Pros: SiriusXM has a wide variety of offerings that will probably be a significant upgrade over your local radio stations. And if you have good cell service on your commute, plus an unlimited data plan, you could stream to your car stereo from your phone. You’ll get cheaper access to the same content offered in the company’s satellite radio packages.

As described above, SirusXM purchased Pandora, and the two services now share some features and content free of charge. See their help page for details.

Cons: You’ll probably have to call customer service to end your subscription, which was a convoluted, time-consuming process when we tried it. Choosing a package is also surprisingly complicated. When you factor in the satellite radio tiers, new users need to pick from numerous subscription choices with a confusing variety of offerings, optional add-ons, and hidden fees. The packages change constantly and details are hard to find, so you’ll never know for sure if you’re getting the best deal. The SiriusXM app and web interface can also be more difficult to navigate than those of most competitors.

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