This Week in Sirius XM Radio

Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio moved lower on the week, shedding 0.9% to hit $3.45. The media darling's dip bucked the Dow and Nasdaq, which closed out the week higher.

Sirius XM failed to hit a new high for only the second time in the past six weeks, but there was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations. The satellite-radio provider and Pandora also took hits on reports that Apple has cleared the way to announce its iRadio streaming platform as early as next week.

Let's take a closer look.

Retreat to lower ground
Sirius XM hit a new five-year intraday high of $5.63 a week earlier, but there was no repeat performance this time around. It didn't help that news broke over the weekend that Apple had secured a streaming licensing deal with Warner Music to kick the week off on a down note.

We've known that Apple has been negotiating for months with the major labels. Why the market dings Pandora -- and to a much lesser extent Sirius XM -- with every iRadio revelation remains a mystery.

Apple's new media player
Striking a deal with Warner Music was a big deal for Apple earlier in the week, but reports surfaced on Friday that Sony Music, the last big holdout, is now also in the fold.

That's it. If the reports are accurate, Apple has all the ammo it needs to roll out its streaming platform with all of the major-label artists on board.

The hangup with Sony was reportedly that the label wanted to get paid for songs that listeners skipped. If that's true, it means Apple's iRadio is going to be a lot like Pandora and Sirius XM's MySXM, and not in the Spotify mold.

The mystery is whether this is an entirely free service with premium enhancements or if everyone will be required to pay. If it's too much like Pandora, it will be hard to not roll out a free version of the service. Most of Pandora's 70 million-plus active monthly listeners use only the free service. Just 2.5 million Pandora listeners are paying subscribers.

We may get details on Apple's new service as early as Monday, and then it's a matter of seeing how the market interprets Apple's chances of success before reacting to the share prices of Pandora and Sirius XM.

A Sirius future
It was an interesting week for Sirius XM. The new week isn't likely to be dull.

Even though Sirius XM has been one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out three years ago, there's still some healthy upside to be had if things go right for it -- and plenty of room for it to fall if things don't. Read all about Sirius in The Motley Fool's premium report. To get started, just click here now.

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