3 Free Sirius XM Alternatives : Our Best Picks and Ideas

Alivia Whitaker | Aug 14, 2018

If you're looking for some Sirius XM Alternatives - we've got the list for you!  Sirius XM is a great paid, radio service that provides all type of entertainment from music to NPR and sports. Sirius XM describes itself this way,

"Welcome to commercial-free music from every genre, live play-by-play sports, the biggest news and talk, and the hottest entertainment at your fingertips, 24/7. Welcome to an All Access package that lets you listen to all of it everywhere — in your car, at home or the office on your computer, or on your smartphone and tablet."

This highly popular service is well-liked for a reason.  If you can afford the subscription, it offers non-stop programming in your car (or home).  But to many, the average amount of $20 a month is too steep for a radio subscription.  That's why we've listed below 3 free Sirius XM alternatives.

Podcasts

The world of podcasts has never been so varied or rich.  If you're interested in a free alternative to Sirius XM podcasts is the first stop you should make.  The website, International Podcast Day, described podcasts like this,

"iPod+Broadcast=Podcast

A good starting point is to think of a podcast as “Internet Radio On-Demand.” It’s similar in that you can usually listen to it on your computer — but it’s more than that. [However, and not to confuse the issue, podcasting isn’t confined to just audio but can be video as well].

With the amount of content that podcasting provides, regular Broadcast Radio, or “Terrestrial Radio” — as they call it — simply can never compete. The AM and FM radio band only have so many channels. Consequently, radio stations “Broadcast” their content — meaning that they attempt to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible. Because, after all, this is what advertisers are looking for. But podcasting, by contrast, is not necessarily hamstrung to advertising revenue like its broadcasting cousin. With its specific and specialized content, it is able to “narrowcast” to only those who choose to listen. So while a particular podcast’s audience may be considerably smaller than the audience of a broadcast, one could argue that the podcast’s audience is a much more targeted and interested in the content being delivered. So, in a way, Satellite Radio, with its ability to provide more channels than Broadcast Radio, takes a step towards podcasting — but still does not come close.

Podcasts are “On Demand” and can be listened to on your schedule — not when a Radio Station decides to air it. So, it’s kind of like TiVo."

Podcasts can be downloaded on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify and more for free.  Topics range from everything.  Most radio shows have an audio podcast version of their show available for download and there are hundreds of podcast topics and shows.  There truly is a podcast for everything and everyone. 

Audiobooks - Overdrive

One of the best free Sirius XM alternatives is audiobooks!  Audiobooks are a great way to learn or be entertained while driving or in your home much like you would with Sirius XM. You must be thinking, but that costs money. Not so quick - audiobooks are free if you check them out from the library!

Libraries have a great selection of audiobooks these days.  This includes cd and tapes that can be physically checked out from the library or audiobooks on download from your local library.  Most libraries do this by having a subscription to an app like Overdrive.   Overdrive is described this way:

"OverDrive is a free service offered by your library or school that lets you borrow digital content (like eBooks and audiobooks) anytime, anywhere. Every OverDrive collection is slightly different because each library or school picks the digital content they want for their users.

All you need to get started with free digital content from your library or school is an internet connection and a library card or student ID.

Explore the sections below to learn about some of the things you can do with OverDrive."

The great thing about Overdrive is that if the book you are interested in isn't already offered on the app, you can suggest it!  You can also download books for free to read in your Kindle app.  Overdrive and audiobooks, in general, are one of the great free Sirius XM alternatives.

Youtube

If you're into news, NPR or Talk Radio in particular, YouTube is a Sirius XM Alternative for you.  First of all - it's completely FREE.  Now, we realize that YouTube is video, not audio, but it's just as easy to listen to a YouTube video from your phone, tablet or computer as it is to press play on your podcast app.  If you want to listen to a YouTube video on your computer while you're working - simply minimize the video.  If you want to listen in your home while you're cleaning or doing something else, simply play the YouTube video and push the audio to a portable Bluetooth speaker or headphones. 

Almost all news programs, talk radio, and sports can be found in some format on YouTube.  A bonus to using YouTube as well is that it will give you suggestions based on your viewing history.  This is something your podcast or audiobook app can't do for you!

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