1. Shitty billing practices.2. Limited number of channels.3. Annoying DJ's who think you want to hear them talk over the music.4. Ads, on some channels.5. Lost signal, whenever there is a tree, overpass, or tunnel.6. Limited to one car or device.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
But what XM has that Pandora doesn't is the MLB, NFL, NBA contracts for radio, Howard Stern (if you're into him, I'm not), as well as a ton of other radio personalities, sports personalities, etc that don't have a home on terrestrial radio... as well as news outlets like CNBC radio.... that's what keeps a lot of people subscribed in my opinion.. there's no other way for me to listen to my local Royals MLB team or Chiefs in the car if i'm out of the area without my xm.
This is all true. Sports fans are what keeps XM going, as well as Cable television, at least for now.
Oh, wait, they already are....
The cost of maintaining the satellite network is the deal-killer. It is like Iridium satellite phone. The cost of launching all those low-earth orbit satellites was bad enough, but by the time the system was up and running, you could make a cell call from nearly anywhere on the earth. They went bankrupt and the satellites nearly fell from the sky before the government stepped in and found a bidder. Turns out, the government is the biggest customer for Iridium. (it is how all those weather buoys send their data these days, among other things).
So, short-term, yes sports will help them. Maybe Howard Stern, although there was talk they were going to let his contract expire as it was so expensive. And of course, you can stream Howard Stern on Soundcloud:
It could be the company survives - as an online streaming service.
Every new cell tower built is a nail in the coffin of Sirius XM radio.