Grace Digital Player

Product Review: SiriusXM Business Internet Radio – Grace Digital GDI-SXBR1

Product Name:   SiriusXM Music for Business Internet Player
Model:   GDI-SXBR1
Manufacturer:   Grace Digital
Review Date:   January 7, 2015
MSRP:   $199

 

Background

Since SiriusXM launched their Internet Music for Business Service back in 2013, businesses around the country have been signing up in droves. Dumpsters around the country have literally been filling up with dusty Muzak players as businesses have moved to the new service. The popularity of SiriusXM’s new streaming business has even surprised, well, SiriusXM.

The formula for success has been pretty simple. SiriusXM took 85 of the most popular channels in the free world and started streaming them to restaurants, retail shops, and other businesses. 30 channels were scrubbed clean of DJ chatter and station IDs and programmed with business-friendly content. SiriusXM then teamed up with Grace Digital to build a commercial-grade streaming player that is long on features and short on price.

The end product: (1) a streaming business music service with vastly more variety than anything in the market priced below the competition at $29 per month, and (2) a commercial-grade streaming digital music player with advanced feature sets priced at a third of the competition at $199.

 

SiriusXM Business Internet Radio Product Review – Model GDI-SXBR1

Let’s talk hardware. As SiriusXM’s largest commercial reseller, we’ve have the chance to do some long-term testing with thousands of the new SiriusXM GDI-SXBR1 Business Internet Radios over the past year or so. Instead of keeping all this knowledge to ourselves, we thought we’d take a moment to share our experiences with this new device. Here is what we found …

 

What We Liked

(1)   The SiriusXM Radio Portal
With the purchase of your GDI-SXBR1 and SiriusXM Business Internet subscription, you get access to the SiriusXM Radio Management Portal. The portal, which is accessed over the web, has features usually reserved for only the highest of high-end business music services. These features include advanced management functions like central control, daypart scheduling, and remote monitoring. Access to the portal is free with your SiriusXM Business Internet Subscription. Here is a quick description of some of the most common features:

Central Control – Manage and control one radio (or hundreds of radios) from a single web interface. Perfect for businesses with multiple sites that want to keep all their facilities singing to the same tune.
Scheduling – Access the portal to set daypart schedules in which you can program the radio to automatically change channels, volume, and even turn on and off based on time and day settings.
Monitoring – At a glance you can check to see if your radios are online and what channel they are playing.

Portal_Screen_Shot

(2)   No Computer Required
No computer is required to set up and manage the GDI-SXBR1. All the basic user functions, from entering your username and password to selecting channels can be done using the controls on the face of the radio. You’ll of course need a computer to access the web portal, but this is only necessary if you’re interested in the advanced features described above.

(3)   Security
The GDI-SXBR1 has an optional four-digit security code that can be used to lock out the physical radio controls. This is a great feature for managers that want to block employee access to unwanted channels and radio features.

(4)   Easy Set Up
The internet music player is easy to set up. Period. We had the player up and running in just a few minutes. The player saw our WIFI network on startup and connected as soon as we entered our network password. We then entered our user name and password and the player immediately connected to the SiriusXM internet radio player stream. The setup process took less than five minutes and was easy enough for anyone to do.

Networks with firewalls and other advanced security measures may require a little help from the IT department. The internet music player uses standard internet protocols, so setup should be fairly easy even on large corporate networks.

Grace_Controls

(5)   Dual Outputs
The GDI-SXBR1 has dual RCA outputs, which are standard enough to connect to any commercial audio system. The dual outputs are nice because they allow you to play the music as background music in your business and also connect to your phone system to play for callers waiting on hold. With the SiriusXM Music for Business subscription, you can add the on-hold music at no additional charge.

Grace_Back

(6)   Large Buffer
The quality of your internet music is only as good as your internet connection … except when you have a massive buffer in place. The GDI-SXBR1 has a massive buffer, three minutes exactly, which helps to keep your music playing during periods of low network bandwidth or high network congestion.

(7)   No Timeouts
Have you ever had your Pandora stop playing and ask, “Are you still there?” This is known as a timeout. Timeouts are no big deal when your radio is in your home, but timeouts are a nuisance when they stop the music in your business. As a truly commercial unit, the GDI-SXMBR1 never times out and continues to play unlimited streaming music, whether you are listening or not.

(8)   Strong Outer Case
The look of the GDI-SXBR1 isn’t beautiful by any means, but it sure is functional. The outer case is made of a lightweight aluminum that won’t crack or brake if dropped. The case can be mounted on a wall with a couple screws, placed in a data rack on a shelf, and is small enough to sit atop an amplifier.

 

What We Didn’t Like

(1)   Unimpressive Display
The screen on the internet music player is utterly unimpressive. The screen is a four-line monochrome backlit display that looks like it was designed for a life in a dusty data closet. We do like that the radio displays the channel, artist, song, and time on the screen during song play. The low-end screen looks like an intentional cost cutting measure, and perhaps it was the right decision. Unimpressive, but functional.

Grace_Display

(2)   WiFi – Not Recommended for Business Use
The WiFi on the GDI-SXBR1 is easy to set up and, although it works well, we were able to interrupt the connection by restricting bandwidth and adding congestion on the network. We definitely recommend hard-wiring the internet music player using the LAN port on the back of the box. We found the wired connection to work flawlessly during periods of high interference and congestion.

(3)   User Interface and Controls
The user interface and menu system feels dated and slow. That being said, this isn’t a product that you access every day like your phone. It’s made to be set up and left alone. The user interface is perfect for that type of use.

(4)   No App for Phone
As of now, the GDI-SXBR1 can be controlled either through the controls on the face of the radio or through the web portal. We’d love to see Grace Digital release an app to control the GDI-SXBR1. Hopefully that’s coming down the pipe soon.
Overall, we give the SiriusXM Business Internet Player high marks. We know from over a year of torture testing that product is stable and works extremely well in a business environment. We should point out that the GDI-SXBR1 will only work with the SiriusXM business service. This player will not work with a consumer subscription. If you have a GDI-SXBR1 and need it activated, please contact Dynamic Media at 800-684-7050. We’ll be happy to help you get SiriusXM up and running in your business.

 


ABOUT DYNAMIC MEDIA
Dynamic Media is an authorized SiriusXM Music for business reseller and one of the nation’s fastest-growing music for business providers in the country. Headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Dynamic Media provides background music for business, DirecTV for business, customized on-hold and in-store messaging services and commercial audio systems. Dynamic Media offers turnkey solutions that include sales, service, and post-installation support for thousands of subscribers in the U.S. and around the world. Dynamic Media employs a network of partner technicians that reach every zip code in the United States. The company was co-founded by Dr. Ryan Santangelo and his brother Pete Santangelo over ten years ago. Find out more at www.DynamicMediaMusic.com.

Place To Work

Top Tips: Office Music Strategies that Work

Music is a great fit for offices of all kinds. Music works to calm waiting guests, motivate employees, and entertain customers. Over the years we’ve implemented background music in thousands of offices with great success.

Here are a few of the key strategic uses for background office music.

Use Music for Sound Masking

Offices use sound masking when they play background music for the purpose of creating privacy. Sound masking is most important when private information is being exchanged verbally, like would be the case in a bank, tax office, or in a doctor’s exam room. Using background music system for business to cover private conversation in office environments is a key strategic use.
Customers Waiting? Turn up the Music.

Does your office have a waiting room? Research shows that customers will wait longer and more patiently when they can hear the background music. When you have clients that wait, make sure they can hear the music while in the waiting area. The more they can hear the office music systems, the more willing they will be to wait for their name to be called.
Music Repetition. Bad for Guests.

Is that song on again? Research shows that music repetition in office background music causes employees to experience negative emotions, even in cases where the employees like the songs being played. If you are looping an iPod playlist for music at work, you might be annoying your employees.
Office music systems are a great way to keep your staff motivated, quell impatient customers, and add an element of privacy to your office environment. Systems designed to provide background music for office environments will help keep you in line with all best practices. Give these top tips a try and let us know how they work!
About the Author
Dr. Ryan Santangelo is Co-Founder and President of Dynamic Media, the nation’s leading provider of background music services, music on hold, and message on hold for business. With over 10 years of leadership in the business music space, Dynamic Media serves over 20,000 business clients across the United States and in 12 countries around the world. With award-winning service and a customer-drive culture, Dynamic Media is one of the fastest growing full-service business music providers in the country.

background music choices

Top Tips: Background Music Systems 101

Are you looking to buy a background music system for your business? The task can be a breeze with some basic information on the varying systems that support music for business.

The most important thing to know are the positives and negatives of each of the four different types of background music systems, which include (1) PC-based systems, (2) internet streaming systems, (3) satellite streaming systems, and (4) store-and-forward systems. The one that is right for your business depends on what you need out of your music for business.

Let’s take a moment to cut through the confusion with a quick primer on each type of background music platform. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each in-store music system to help you make the right decision for your business music. Here we go!

(1) PC-Based Systems

PC systems are the most basic type of commercial audio system, and are also the least popular. These background music for business systems use a computer to stream music from the internet by way of a program called a PC Player. Users must download the PC player and then connect the computer to your office background music system.

Positives
(+) No hardware cost (if you have a PC)
(+) Fast and easy to implement. Takes only a few minutes to get started.

Negatives
(-) Be careful, not all services are licensed. Comcast, Spotify, iTunes, and regular Pandora are not legal to play in your business.
(-) PC music will occupy part of your computer processor all day. If your computer hiccups, so will your music.
(-) Known as the LEAST reliable of all commercial music platforms
(-) We find that most businesses do not have a computer to dedicate to this option

(2) Internet Streaming Systems

Streaming music over the internet is quickly becoming the most popular way for businesses to deliver licensed music to their guests. Streaming services are relatively inexpensive, easy to set up, and have lots of options.

These business music solutions use a dedicated piece of hardware called an Internet Streaming Player. The Streaming Player connects to a commercial music service over the internet using a high-bandwidth connection like cable or DSL. The music streams through the Streaming Player to your sound system. Most Streaming Players offer a variety of channels that can be changed on the player itself, or through a web-based interface. The web interfaces are often quite robust allowing users to select, schedule, and manage their music from their PC or mobile device.

Positives
(+) Low cost equipment
(+) Easy to install
(+) Lots of content and music variety
(+) Centralized management through website interface. Great for managers with multiple locations to manage.

Negatives
(-) Requires high-bandwidth internet connection
(-) WiFi connection may not always be reliable. It’s best to use a wired connection.
(-) As with any internet streaming service, the music stream is subject to reliability of internet connection

(3) Satellite Streaming Systems (think SiriusXM)

Satellite-based streaming systems deliver licensed music through a satellite receiver. The receiver is connected to a special-purpose antenna mounted to the exterior of the building. Once the antenna is installed and properly adjusted, the satellite content streams directly to the satellite receiver.

Positives
(+) No Internet connection required. The receiver communicates directly with the satellite.
(+) Excellent programming and great variety. If you like SiriusXM in your car, you will probably like the service in your business.
(+) The service is quite reliable and the antenna works very well, even in bad weather.

Negatives
(-) There is an equipment cost, although it is moderate.
(-) The antenna needs to be mounted outside to get reliable service. A technician might be required for some installations.

(4) Store and Forward Music Systems

Store and Forward in-store music systems play music from a hard drive located inside a physical music player (most are shaped like a DVD player). They are called “store and forward” systems because they store music locally on a hard drive and then forward the music to the audio system.

These systems are generally loaded with four or five selected playlists (or “channels”) prior to being shipped to your location. The playlists are updated on a monthly basis via a satellite connection, the internet, or via a physical compact disc. Store and Forward systems are usually the most expensive hardware platforms due to the need for large hard drives to store the music for playback.

Positives
(+) Most flexible from a music perspective. In most cases you can select from hundreds of playlists.
(+) Song-by-song custom playlists are available for high-end applications
(+) The hardware is designed to integrate overhead messaging or play music/messaging through your phone system
(+) Very easy to install. Most systems are plug and play.

Negatives
(-) High equipment cost
(-) Highest monthly service cost

Choosing a Service

Choosing a background music service can be overwhelming, in part because there are so many options. Dynamic Media represents all of the major business music streaming services and has done so for years. Our team of business music solutions experts will explain the options and help you get the service that’s best for your business. Call our team to get started at 1-800-684-7050 or CLICK HERE to request a contact from a business music system expert.

About the Author
Dr. Ryan Santangelo is Co-Founder and President of Dynamic Media, the nation’s leading provider of background radio services, music on hold, and message on hold for business. With over 10 years of leadership in the business music space, Dynamic Media serves over 20,000 business clients across the United States and in 12 countries around the world. With award-winning service and a customer-drive culture, Dynamic Media is one of the fastest growing full-service business music providers in the country.

music licensing

Is your Background Music Licensed?

At Dynamic Media, we resell SiriusXM Music for Business on a national level and have been doing so for many years. Many of our clients are SiriusXM consumer subscribers and want to use SiriusXM in their businesses. When we explain that the cost of the business subscription is higher than the consumer subscription, they rightfully ask why. The answer: Licensing.

It works like this …

Music that is played on the premises of a business for the enjoyment of patrons and others is deemed a “public performance” by the music artist, for which a royalty fee must be paid to performance rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

Thus, if you are playing a music mix from your iPod or computer, you are probably breaking the law. To play music legally, you can either contract directly with each of the licensing organizations, or, as is more common in practice, purchase a commercial music service that manages the royalty payments as part of a monthly subscription fee. Subscribing with a commercial background music service is always less expensive than contracting directly with the licensing agencies.

Our business subscriptions include all of the licensing and music in a single monthly fee. In addition to having the music playlists managed and kept current by professional music directors, but you’ll always know your music legal to play in your business.

The licensing agencies take music for business use seriously. If you have questions about whether your business music is properly licensed, call our team of background music services professionals at 800-684-7050.

About the Author
Dr. Ryan Santangelo is Co-Founder and President of Dynamic Media, the nation’s leading provider of background music, music on hold, and message on hold for business. With over 10 years of leadership in the business music space, Dynamic Media serves over 20,000 business clients across the United States and in 12 countries around the world. With award-winning service and a customer-drive culture, Dynamic Media is one of the fastest growing full-service office music player providers in the country.