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Thread: DIRECTV drops Sonic Tap, adds Music Choice

  1. #1
    Rewind is offline
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    DIRECTV drops Sonic Tap, adds Music Choice

    In 2005, DIRECTV began carrying 72 XM music channels, starting at DIRECTV channel 801. In 2010, DIRECTV switched to DMX's Sonic Tap music channels. In July 2015, AT&T completed its $48.5 billion purchase of DIRECTV so it is not surprising that on February 6, 2018, when the agreement with Sonic Tap expired, DIRECTV began carrying the Music Choice channels that are part of AT&T's U-verse television service.

    So how do the Music Choice channels compare with those of Sonic Tap? I'm glad I asked. To start with, Music Choice has fewer channels. The 1960s and 1970s channels don't play as many low-charting songs as Sonic Tap's '60s-70s channels. Sonic Tap's Malt Shop Oldies channel plays the usual 1954-to-1964 hits along with a lot of low-charting and non-charting songs and a few hits from 1966-67. Malt Shop Favorites, the Music Choice equivalent, is perhaps the only channel that is as good as its Sonic Tap counterpart. They play 1954 to 1969, a lot of low-charting songs and even some album tracks. Here is what was just played:

    Come Rain Or Come Shine - Ray Charles (83/1960)
    Dizzy - Tommy Roe (1/1969)
    Feel So Fine - Johnny Preston (14/1960)
    Get Out Of My Life Woman - Lee Dorsey (44/1966)
    I Need Your Loving - Don Gardner/Dee Dee Ford (20/1962)
    Long Live Our Love - Shangri-Las (33/1966)
    See You Later Alligator - Bill Haley/Comets (6/1956)
    Sexy Ways - Hank Ballard/Midnighters (--/1954)
    Someone I Believe In - Brook Benton (LP/1960)
    That's Why - Jackie Wilson (13/1959
    The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens (1/1961)
    Tom Dooley - Kingston Trio (1/1958)
    Walking Along - Diamonds (29/1958)
    With This Ring - Platters (14/1967)
    Ya Ya - Lee Dorsey (7/1961)
    You've Been A Good Old Wagon - Dinah Washington (LP/1963)

    Sonic Tap's Traditional Country channel plays country hits of the 1950s through the '80s, mostly top-ten songs. Music Choice's Classic Country channel emphasizes the biggest hits of the late 1970s and the 1980s. In other words, don't expect to hear much by Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Buck Owens, Bill Anderson, Sonny James, Don Gibson, Loretta Lynn, Freddie Hart, Ray Price or Porter Wagoner. Here is a nine-song sample -- and seven of these were number-one hits. Wooo!

    A Country Boy Can Survive - Hank Williams Jr (2/1982)
    Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind - George Strait (1/1984)
    Elvira - Oak Ridge Boys (1/1981)
    I Wanna Dance With You - Eddie Rabbitt (1/1988)
    I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool - Mandrell/Jones (1/1981)
    I've Got A Winner In You - Don Williams (7/1978)
    Modern Day Romance - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1/1985)
    Straight Tequila Night - John Anderson (1/1991)
    What I'd Say - Earl Thomas Conley (1/1988)

    Music Choice has no adult standards channel like Sonic Tap's Rat Pack channel. Instead, they have Swing & Singers, which plays swing and big-band hits of the 1930s-40s-50s along with swing-style music by more recent bands. The dance channels aren't bad. Music Choice also has an Americana channel and a channel called Toddler Tunes. (Don't ask.)

    So.....I would love to hear what other people think of Music Choice compared with Sonic Tap -- or compared with SiriusXM.

  2. #2
    Penguin is offline
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    I have DirecTV and I just checked the music channels and most of them do not even have a name. It just says '70s, '80s, '90s, Folk, Bluegrass, Classic Rock, Gospel, etc. There is a Y2K channel like the Sirius Pop2K channel. It is pretty good and there is also a New Wave channel which is good. But there are not as many channels as Sonic Tap had.

  3. #3
    Rewind is offline
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    Music Choice has a Honky Tonk channel (DIRECTV 811) which is pretty good. Here is a small sample:

    A Country Boy Can Survive - Hank Williams Jr (2/1982)
    Amarillo By Morning - George Strait (4/1983)
    Drink In My Hand - Eric Church (1/2011)
    Eight Second Ride - Jake Owen (11/2009)
    Here's A Quarter - Travis Tritt (2/1991)
    For Lovin' Me - Waylon Jennings (9/1966)
    Here For A Good Time - George Strait (2/2011)
    Hillbilly Deluxe - Brooks & Dunn (16/2006)
    If I Could Make A Living - Clay Walker (1/1994)
    Lovesick Blues - Hank Williams (1/1949)
    Neon Light - Blake Shelton (3/2014)
    Neon Moon - Brooks & Dunn (1/1992)
    Okie From Muskogee - Merle Haggard (1/1969)
    Pirate Flag - Kenny Chesney (7/2013)
    Walking The Floor Over You - Ernest Tubb (1/1941)
    Where I Come From - Alan Jackson (1/2000)

  4. #4
    Rewind is offline
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    The Music Choice channels are bizarre. Some of them, especially the '60s channel and Classic Country, seem to have only 300 songs and they're played in the same order every day. There is a full-time Christmas music channel, All Xmas (DIRECTV 858). And the folk music channel just played A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash and Are The Good Times Really Over by Merle Haggard!

  5. #5
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    I complain frequently that SiriusXM has no 1950s-60s MOR hits channel. There are around 500 channels playing Billy Joel, Bob Seger, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac but no channel where we can hear hits by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Teresa Brewer, Percy Faith, Nat "King" Cole, the Four Lads, the Four Aces, the McGuire Sisters, et al. The closest we have is Siriusly Sinatra, which doesn't play very many songs that were hits but instead plays 50 different versions of Autumn Leaves, 50 different versions of Blue Skies, 50 different versions of Night & Day, 50 different versions of But Not For Me, 50 different versions of My Foolish Heart.......

    Here is a small sample of the Music Choice "Singers & Swing" channel, which makes Siriusly Sinatra sound really good by comparison. The only surprise: Paul McCartney's version of It's Only A Paper Moon from his 2012 CD Kisses On The Bottom.

    Music Choice Singers & Swing
    DIRECTV Channel 807


    A New Pair Of Shoes - Jimmy Palmer (LP/1961)
    Ain't Love - Steve Lawrence/Eydie Gormé (B/1963)
    Alice Blue Gown - Les Elgart (LP/1954)
    Almost Like Being In Love - Natalie Cole (LP/1991)
    Day Dream - Marlene Ver Planck (LP/2002)
    Easy To Love - Maxine Sullivan (B/1937)
    Flying Home - Lionel Hampton (--/1942)
    Give A Little Whistle - June Christy (LP/1960)
    Fun To Be Fooled - Anita Ellis (LP/1960)
    Help A Good Girl Go Bad - Gail Pettis (LP/2007)
    How Deep Is The Ocean - Tony Desare (LP/2007)
    It's You Or No One - Bobby Darin (UR/1960, LP/1963)
    Katherine The Great - Count Basie Orchestra (LP/1989)
    Moonlight Serenade - Jan Savitt/Carlotta Dale (--/1939)
    My Old Flame - Billie Holiday (--/1944)
    Night & Day - John Pagano (LP/2008)
    Nothing Ever Changes My Love - Marlene Ver Planck (LP/2005)
    Riled Up - Gene Harris All Star Big Band (LP/1988)
    The Gypsy - Frank Sinatra (LP/1962)
    The Lamplighter - Lionel Hampton (--/1944)
    The Very Thought Of You - Dick Haymes (LP/1955)
    Undecided - Harry James (--/1944)

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