SiriusXM Shuttering Stitcher in a Plan to Push Users Into New App Bundle

(Photo Credit: Will Francis/Unsplash)
(Photo Credit: Will Francis/Unsplash)

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SiriusXM is hushing its popular podcast listening app Stitcher this summer.

The audio media giant hopes subscribers who were paying for a more exclusive tier of podcast content will migrate to the company’s more-expensive SXM app, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Off the Air

Stitcher launched in 2008 and has since been one of the premier platforms for creating and distributing podcasts. Not only does it offer free audio content, but a premium subscription offers access to ad-free shows as well bonus episodes of popular podcasts like Comedy Bang! Bang! and How Did This Get Made? According to media advisor Triton Digital, Stitcher’s library averaged 56.8 million downloads a week in 2022, outpacing other networks like NPR and Audacy.

Around the same time that Stitcher debuted on the app stores, Sirius and XM were merging to form what some have argued is a monopoly in satellite radio. Parented by Liberty Media, the combined venture went on to buy Pandora in 2019 for $3.5 billion and Stitcher in 2020 for $325 million. Last year, SiriusXM reported 32 million paid subscriptions and $4.3 billion in profit, and it appears they want to boost both categories:

  • Stitcher is set to shut down on August 29, and premium members will be given six free months of SiriusXM Platinum, which provides listeners access to all of the services’ content including personalized Pandora stations, Howard Stern’s show library, sports broadcasts, talk radio, and hundreds of ad-free music stations. Podcasts won’t be ad-free, though — bummer.
  • It’s all part of a consolidation effort to get more people listening to — and paying for — SiriusXM’s flagship satellite radio product. A Stitcher premium subscription is just $4.99 a month, while a SiriusXM Platinum one is $10.99. The company is hoping that after that initial six free months, customers will stick with the higher-priced package as opposed to one of its more basic plans.

Confusing Bundle Blunder: In-house mergers seem to be the big thing among streamers this year. HBO Max and Discovery+ have already combined into MAX. Disney will add some of its Hulu content to the Disney+ app while still offering standalone services. And by the end of the year, Paramount Global plans to move all of its Showtime content and users over to Paramount+ and form Paramount+ With Showtime. What’s clear is that none of these media companies are good at coming up with names for their apps.