On XM SPA: Channel 72

Some say “hot tub”, but my friend says “Shhhhhpppaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.” But this post is about music – not about the comfort of warm water and jet action.

For whatever reason, my posts on XM radio are popular, so hear are some thoughts about XM channel 72 (Sirius Channel 73), SPA, which replaced XM’s AudioVisions (Channel 45) during the XM’s post-merger channel reorganization.

New Age music is peaceful, melodic music of various styles. Think of music for yoga, massage, and relaxation; but think beyond the tinkly-a-boos or nature-oriented sounds. New Age is most commonly instrumental, both electronic or acoustic forms, and featuring sounds from a variety of cultures; however, it can be upbeat.

Here are some thoughts about Spa

  • New Age followers will find some familiar artists on SPA as Kitaro, Hans Zimmer, David Lanz Vangelis, Yanni, and George Winston
  • SPA seems to integrate a sense a down-tempo, melodic, contemporary sound, whereas AudioVisions was more committed to New Age
  • SPA still provides tickly-a-boos, but probably less frequent than AudioVisions
  • A tagline: SPA – A soundtrack of peace

Although AudioVisions was my second favorite station on the old XM, I still listen to SPA … and it’s still #2 – but I prefer AudioVisions over SPA.

Since not everyone has XM or Sirius radio, here’s a New Age music tip. I enjoy listening to Echoes (on NPR) as I go to sleep. Click here to find a station near you carrying Echoes.

XM Cafe vs. Sirius Coffee House

On an earlier post I mentioned how the XM programming transition to Sirius-XM caught me by surprise; especially when I discovered my favorite station, XM Café, was no more. Surprisingly, (for whatever reason) that post is one of the most-frequently read on this site.

At that time I pledged to give the Sirius Coffee House a try, so now is the time to render a verdict.

A Few Notes

  • XM Café offered a more eclectic selection of music, whereas one will hear more-recognizable music on Coffee House.
  • XM Café offered a bit more energy behind the music, whereas Coffee House music has a tendency to be more acoustical – which includes acoustic version of hit songs by the original artist, plus different arrangements of cover tunes by other artists.
  • XM Café offered an outlet for lesser-known artists, whereas while Coffee House is somewhat like that, its playlist includes more high-profile names.

The Coffee House taglines from commercials are accurate:

  • Acoustic reinterpretations of great songs
  • The best venue for acoustic singer songwriters
  • New music from your Coffeehouse artists

The station’s description is also accurate:

Unwind in the Coffee House – with your favorite singer/songwriters, new artists and rare acoustic versions of great songs! The perfect place for a laid back mood, a stress-filled workday, or you just want a perfect musical getaway. Settle in for the great acoustic songs and cool vibe of the Coffee House!

Although I still prefer XM Café, the reality is simple – it’s gone. I find myself bouncing around a bit more, but the Sirius Coffee House (Channel 51) is my station of choice. Then again, there’re still CDs and MP3 music for the car.