I recently got a new car and have a free trial of Sirius XM for a couple months. I hadn't had it since May and in the 3 months without it I forgot how integral it has been to me discovering music.

Satellite radio first launched right as I was becoming a teenager. Growing up in the 90s, my tools to finding new music were FM radio, my peers, and buying CDs. I remember when Napster launched because a teacher of mine was an early adopter and we always had a soundtrack during class (my personal favorite was when he'd put on Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins). Back then we had a family computer, so I didn't dare install anything like that despite the temptation. Eventually my dad installed LimeWire/KaZaA, so I was able to take advantage of that.

Later in high school, once the aforementioned P2P applications faded out in favor of torrents, I again relied on FM radio and my peers for new music. One of the biggest game changers at that time was the ability to burn our own mix CDs - it saved us money and opened us to music we may not have stumbled upon otherwise. Once the MP3 CD came out, the possibilities were endless as the storage increased infinitely and we could fit so many more tracks.

Eventually mix CDs would get old, and the cycle would start over with a new mix CD. Once I got my license I would have access to satellite radio on the random occasions I'd have to drive my dad's car. I was immediately hooked by the sheer variety of stations they offered; my music taste was incredibly varied by then, so it felt like it was perfect for me - and the lack of commercials warmed my ADHD-driven little heart. In 2008 I got my first car that had it as an included option, and that's when it all began.

If my music taste were a small circle beforehand, after it became a center cap with 100 spokes surrounding it from how much I branched out. I found music through so many different stations: 40s on 4 (now 40s Junction), 50s on 5 (now 50s Gold), 60s on 6 (now 60s Gold), Underground Garage, Classic Vinyl, Lithium, Ozzy's Boneyard, Siriusly Sinatra, BB King's Bluesville, Electric Area (now defunct), Shade 45, Hip Hop Nation, Soul Town, Caliente. It continues through today: just this morning I heard a fabulous cover of Rancid's "Ruby Soho" by The Dollyrots, who I'd never heard of. Female vocalist pop punk? Sign me up (and thank you, Michael Des Barres)!

I haven't been able to listen to FM radio since 2008. Chicago's FM selections have all blurred together and have no real identities anymore. I can think of 5 separate stations who all play some of the same music. I had gotten my 2004 model car back a couple weeks ago and it's all that's available in it. I made it two days before I turned the volume down on the radio and just played music through my phone's speaker. Unlike FM, streaming services and satellite radio keep me engaged and further expand my musical repertoire.

A lot of people think it's crazy to pay for the satellite radio subscription, and now that there are so many streaming services I can definitely respect where they're coming from. I will continue to subscribe to satellite radio because I appreciate the tastes of the radio hosts, and in some ways they function as today's version of getting mix CDs from my peers. It's just fun.