Sirius XM launches “Essential,” an out-of-car streaming subscription service

Sirius XM announced a new subscription option intended to reach more audiences outside of their cars. The Essential plan includes access to more than 300 channels on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and connected devices such as smart speakers. The content includes Sirius XM’s full lineup of music programming and talk shows covering sports, entertainment, news, and comedy. It can be accessed on the Sirius XM app and from

The supported devices include the Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, smart TVs, Sonos speakers, Xbox, Sony PlayStation, and hardware running the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

Essential will cost $1 a month for the first three months, then $8 a month afterwards. This is a remarkable price in context of in-car subscriptions, which run from $11 to $21 dollars a month. Furthermore, the Essentials service purports to deliver 500 channels, while the in-car packages give you 150 or fewer channels, depending on the plan.  A higher-priced out-of-car plan called SiriusXM Premier is $16/month, and includes all the Essential channels plus Howard Stern and some sports. (See the plan pricing here.)

We do not know today whether Pandora stations flesh out the 500-channel Essential package. (Pandora is a Sirius XM subsidiary in addition to a stand-alone listening service.)

“The strength of SiriusXM’s programming is evident in the tens of millions of people who subscribe and listen in their cars year after year. We’ve now created the Essential subscription as an appealing option for the many people, particularly younger consumers, who don’t have a car or don’t spend a lot of time in their car,” said Matt Epstein, vice president of marketing for SiriusXM Outside the Car. “On SiriusXM, listeners will find more innovative formats and expertly-curated commercial-free music channels, live performances, plus a very deep lineup of news, entertainment, comedy and sports talk. The Essential plan offers an attractive bundle of content at a competitively low price among streaming services. Also, and this is extremely important, our streaming subscribers get access to all of this content in the kind of user-friendly, ‘lean back’ way that makes it easier to find the music or shows that they like best.”

Anna Washenko