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With Third-Party Access Axed, Sirius XM Points People Toward Official Web Player & Mobile Apps

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There’s a fair bit of controversy surrounding Sirius XM today. The company has recently made some changes to its online feed, changes that, for the moment, have locked out third-party application access. That means users can’t listen to the service with applications like Radium for Mac OS X.

The company posted a message to its Facebook page (you’ll have to scroll down to find it) a few hours ago. I’ll past it here to save you the trouble of opening up a new browser tab:

@All- thanks for your feedback. Radium and other 3rd party apps were never really supported by Sirius XM. We have recently made some technology changes with our player that made it incompatible with these 3rd party apps. These changes will allow us to add more enhancements and features in the future to our player and enhance your listening experience. We offer a solution that works on both Mac and PC. Radium was valuable for Mac when our web player didn’t work on Macs, but this has been resolved. Hope this helps.

I am passing along your valuable feedback regarding our new player to our product and engineering team so they can continually improve the quality of the player. Thanks!

This is all well and good, and Sirius XM is well within its rights to decide whether or not to allow third-parties to tap into its online stream, but the problem right now is that its new Web player isn’t particularly good. I know the player is new and you’d probably expect at least a few glitches in the early going, but today was particularly egregious. The Web stream was all but unlistenable, cutting in and out quite frequently. If you’re going to limit access to the stream to official Sirius XM applications, that’s fine, but make sure they work as well as the applications they’re replacing.

Another strange one: the new iOS app still has that pesky inactivity timeout that stops playback every 90 minutes. I can see that being beneficial if you’re connected to the stream via 3G, particularly as wireless providers are phasing out unlimited data plans, but surely if you’re connected via Wi-Fi then data consumption really shouldn’t be a concern. (The app also seems to be far less battery efficient.)

I can only speak to what I’ve experienced, but I never had a problem accessing the Sirius XM online stream prior to the switch-over using Radium. Launch the app, listen to my shows, close the app when finished. (Pad data even popped up if you had Growl installed). Done and done.

Users have flooded the company’s Facebook page with complaints about the poor Web player performance, the iOS app’s irregularities, and the fact that, at least for the time being, applications like Radium can’t be used to listen.

I also genuinely don’t see what’s to gain by locking out guys like Radium, but here we are.