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Sirius XM iPhone app exceeds a million downloads even without Howard Stern

By Amy Farnsworth / July 6, 2009

The new Sirius XM iPhone app doesn't feature Howard Stern's two channels or NFL, MLB, and NASCAR live feeds, but that isn't detering people from downloading it. In the two weeks since its launch, the app has been downloaded over a million times.

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Well, after two weeks of its release, things are looking pretty good for the Sirius XM iPhone app.

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The satellite radio company announced today that the Sirius XM app has been downloaded more than a million times since its debut on June 18.

Two weeks ago, we brought you the latest scoop: Critics were doubtful the app would draw interest because it failed to include shock jock radio host Howard Stern, a major component of Sirius radio programming, and fans weren't exactly happy either. Along with the lack of Stern's two channels, the new app also left out its NFL, MLB, and NASCAR live feeds.

On the day of the app's launch, Rick Aristotle Munarriz of The Motley Fool wrote that Stern's absence on the iPhone Sirius XM Radio app was comparable to "the Los Angeles Lakers without Kobe Bryant. It's still entertaining and somewhat competitive, but not something millions of fans will pay a premium to experience."

But some iPhone and iPod touch users are paying a premium –$12.99 a month after a free seven day trial or $2.99 per month for current subscribers to listen to 120 channels of commercial-free radio – despite the lack of Stern's presence.

Maybe some have been able to overlook the fact that Stern's missing. Still, recent reviews of the app aren't especially beaming.

The Digital Daily gives us some numbers: " Of its 56,952 user reviews, just 8,822 give it five stars. But 37,818 rate it a single star."

One iTunes App Store reviewer, iPhoneandSiriusLover, says "I was so excited that Sirius was added as an app until I learned that Howard Stern (Sirius' #1 asset) was not included. What can they be thinking? I will really have to consider whether I will pay beyond the 7 day trial. They'll probably offer Howard for an additional cost at some point."

Another reviewer, RobBurns said, he didn't mind that Howard Stern wasn't available, but had other complaints: "I was traveling with my family from Charlotte to Atlanta and was excited about plugging my iPhone to my car and listening to Howard, but are you serious Sirius? The quality is horendous! I thought it might be the reception, but when we turned on Pandora, it was 100 times better no exaggeration....I WOULD buy the subscription however if they fixed this issue."

Some, however including HYM122, are positive: "Jeez people, get over it.... Do yourself a favor and listen to Opie and Anthony on the channel 202 The Virus. Much more entertaining and on the app. Way to go XM for putting out an amazing app that sounds great!"

Reviewer MinHaw123 agrees, saying: "If you are a new listener and don't care about the sports (and for now) Howard Stern, then I thoroughly recommend SiriusXM and this app. The content is fantastic. You can't get this kind of content anywhere."

Although 18.6 million people currently subscribe to Sirius XM Radio, the satellite radio company has been trying to expand to mobile users as car sales have hit a standstill. The iPhone app is their attempt to break into such a market. But despite the fact that the app has been downloaded more than a million times, it is still not an indicator of how many people will continue to pay for the service, reports InformationWeek, since Sirius has declined to comment on how many of its users are paying for the iPhone app.

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