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Alexa + Sonos: How it Works



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Having trouble getting my iPhone app to update. It goes to the app store and does nothing. Any ideas?
I’m finding that I’ve updated the iOS app however the Alexa app won’t continue with the skill as it says that the iOS app hasn’t been updated.

Anybody else experiencing this ?
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Are you kddding me!!! So you are saying Alexa only works if you are signed up with an online streaming service! I waited 18 months to be told that! What is the point? Unbelievable.
With all due respect, I think the point is that streaming is future for most music consumption. Globally, digital already accounts for more than half of music revenue, and streaming is the majority of that. It grew over 60% in one year. Obviously in places like the United States streaming is even more dominant.

There's nothing wrong with the way you choose to consume your music, but you have to be aware of the reality of the market. Sonos has prioritized these streaming features for the initial release. You can't think it'd be smarter to hold off until they've covered every aspect if this portion is ready.

Will this be available in the future? For me that's the beauty of Sonos, the way it handles the local music library.
I hope so too, but they've clearly said this is only the beginning.

The major value of Sonos to me is that it is service-agnostic, so this sucks.
You seem to be taking the view that this is the final release. Sonos approach is agnostic, but this first iteration only has one service. Other things are coming, but it doesn't make sense to hold off until it's all ready.
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Having trouble getting my iPhone app to update. It goes to the app store and does nothing. Any ideas?
You might want to uninstall the app and re-install it.
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Will the voice control on the Sonos One have more access?
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There's nothing wrong with the way you choose to consume your music, but you have to be aware of the reality of the market. Sonos has prioritized these streaming features for the initial release. You can't think it'd be smarter to hold off until they've covered every aspect if this portion is ready

With all due respect not all of us "choose" the way we listen to music - we're lumped with it, but at least Sonos has done a relatively fair overall job of always supporting local music vs gradual adding of many streaming services - but this seems to fly in the face of that choice.

I do appreciate the lack of planned obsolescence from Sonos overall - I just thought local music would be their first priority.
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With all due respect not all of us "choose" the way we listen to music...

I do appreciate the lack of planned obsolescence from Sonos overall - I just thought local music would be their first priority.

Semantics. My points all remain.

It isn't logical to me to expect that Sonos would target a smaller, shrinking market first. I will be happy when they do though!
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If I ask Alexa to start playing music in the bedroom all the Sonos speakers will play. Should it be possible to just start playing on one speaker or do I need to group/ungroup in the app before giving the play command?
It'll start playing in all the rooms that are grouped with that player. If you just want to play in that room, you'll need to separate the group out. We'd love to add some grouping features one day, so stay tuned. The skill will get better and have more features over time.


I get that grouping/ungrouping is not yet available through voice, but I have to say that this seems like the wrong default behavior. I'd much rather have it be that if I specifically tell Alexa to play music in a given room that it would play in that room and that room alone (breaking any existing groups if necessary) and then I could use the app or the new long-press feature on the speakers to add additional rooms to create a new group if I want.

I know that, at least in my household, if someone says "Alexa, play rock music in the kitchen" and music starts playing in the bedrooms upstairs, they are going to think that something is broken.

More importantly, we've got a lot of people in our house using Sonos throughout the day, so I'm not usually in a position to know or remember how the speakers are grouped at any given time. Even if I understand how the functionality works, I'm not going to feel comfortable saying "Alexa, play rock music in the kitchen" if there is a risk that it might start blaring music upstairs where a kid might be napping or my spouse might be working, etc. So it seems like with this default behavior, I'm going to need to launch the Sonos app to check the grouping before issuing any voice commands, which kind of defeats the purpose of voice control...
While I understand your perspective, mine is the exact polar opposite. If I group a set of rooms, I don't want voice control to arbitrarily break that grouping, especially since there's no current support for grouping in the voice command architecture.
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Are you kddding me!!! So you are saying Alexa only works if you are signed up with an online streaming service! I waited 18 months to be told that! What is the point? Unbelievable. I have my own local collection of music precisely because I don't want an online steaming service


Why can't you just upload your local music to say Amazon or Google Play? You can do that for free. Then just stream that way? Like, you can upload all of your content and control it once it's in their cloud.


Because I have invested in an external nas.

Not everyone wants to upload their stuff into the cloud and be forced to rent music via paying for a streaming service. I like to own my music and have ability to play it when and where I want
Which is to say, it works exactly as the current controller does. You have to actually separate grouped rooms in the controller.
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It's a bummer that none of this works with my local music library. If all this does is allow you to tell Sonos to play the same streaming sources that Alexa can already play natively, what's the point of going with Sonos instead of simply connecting your Echo Dot to some nice speakers?

Limiting it to only music Alexa directly knows about makes this the most disappointing introduction of a much-anticipated feature of all time. Seems Alexa isn't really talking to the whole Sonos platform.

The major value of Sonos to me is that it is service-agnostic, so this sucks. My Sonos library is searchable via an API - that's how the client does it. This direction won't really be useful to me until Alexa can be like a full client, with search and control of playback of my library, playlists etc.


Agree 18 months for supposed sonos integration. It in fact it's only integration with streaming services supported by amazon. It doesn't talk to device at all.
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Which is to say, it works exactly as the current controller does. You have to actually separate grouped rooms in the controller.
Sure, but in the app, it shows you exactly what is currently grouped so you can edit it before you hit play.

But I get where you are coming from. If you keep your groups relatively static and know that two rooms are always going to be paired together, then I can understand why you wouldn't want it to break those up. But Sonos groups don't seem like they are really designed to be static and that's not how I use them.

Maybe the default behavior could be a user-preference specified in the Alexa skill...
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With all due respect not all of us "choose" the way we listen to music...

I do appreciate the lack of planned obsolescence from Sonos overall - I just thought local music would be their first priority.

Semantics. My points all remain.

It isn't logical to me to expect that Sonos would target a smaller, shrinking market first. I will be happy when they do though!


It is still misleading. Sonos is not using Alexa to talk to the sonos devices and control them. It is purely a delivery system that is not agnostic and relies on users being signed and subscribed to a music service. Hat should be made clear.
Yup, I think we all agree. It's a user thing. We're both right, as singular use cases. 🙂
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Yep - agreed.

Note that the way I thought grouping would work is that the Sonos speakers would integrate with the Alexa's own multi-room playback grouping.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/29/16219978/amazon-echo-multi-room-music-playback-how-to

Those groups do look like they are intended to be static (e.g., a "Downstairs" group with multiple devices).

Personally, that would be ideal for me. I don't actually need to ability to create custom groups on-the-fly using the voice interface. But I would like the ability to issue commands to start playing music in only a single room (i.e., "play X in the kitchen") or among commonly grouped sets of rooms (i.e., "play X downstairs," "play X everywhere," ...).
This has no effect or change for me. I don't have the Amazon music services so I'm stuck with the same old thing. I use Apple Music and can't do a single command non are recognized. I'm a little discouraged as I play around. It's not what was told to us as a group. We were and continue to be sold on the idea that we can control our music with our voice. It seems only with amazon music will this work. Not till today did we find out the limitations of this partnership. Guess I should have seen it before hand. However sonos kept saying control your music with Alexa. Not control your amazon music account via sonos with Alexa. Guess I sit around for another year waiting for Apple to be brought in to the loop. Ugh!!!! Was excited for this until realization hits home.
Yes, this is version 1.0 of the release. They've stated rather clearly that they're continuing to work on adding features. Would you have preferred if they didn't release it until everything was ship shape and tidy for every user? I'd look at it this way, all the people (like me) who are using it right now are making it better for you when it gets released for Apple music. Think of all the bugs we'll be able to discover, features that we can suggest, before you get your Apple music. It'll be perfect by then!

To be honest, I don't stream much, but I play a lot from an NAS, which isn't yet fully supported by this release. But I'm pleased. I can do 90% of what I need to do via voice, and the rest works in the controller, the same as it did before. As has been pointed out, volume, next, previous, start, pause, all work via voice, if you've already started playing on the app.

Is it perfect right now? Nope, don't think so. But it's a huge step forward, and what they're going to learn based on the thousands/millions of users now using it will be very helpful in the long term.

I hope you can wait it out to bear the benefits.
Actually, it was stated that the the Alexa integration would workwith Echo enabled services "at the least."
I can bear with for the benefits. Trust me. I love how my home sounds via sonos. I was discouraged not mad or pissed off. I just really wanted to have it today....... I will use and learn and be ready for Apple Music. I just hope it's around the corner and I'm at the last house from the corner.
Laugh. Completely understood. I, too, want it all today 🙂
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Yes, this is version 1.0 of the release. They've stated rather clearly that they're continuing to work on adding features. Would you have preferred if they didn't release it until everything was ship shape and tidy for every user? I'd look at it this way, all the people (like me) who are using it right now are making it better for you when it gets released for Apple music. Think of all the bugs we'll be able to discover, features that we can suggest, before you get your Apple music. It'll be perfect by then!

To be honest, I don't stream much, but I play a lot from an NAS, which isn't yet fully supported by this release. But I'm pleased. I can do 90% of what I need to do via voice, and the rest works in the controller, the same as it did before. As has been pointed out, volume, next, previous, start, pause, all work via voice, if you've already started playing on the app.

Is it perfect right now? Nope, don't think so. But it's a huge step forward, and what they're going to learn based on the thousands/millions of users now using it will be very helpful in the long term.

I hope you can wait it out to bear the benefits.


How can you do 90% now from a NAS when a local
Library is not supported by Alexa, sort, amazon
I start play of a playlist from the controller app, and then use the voice controls for everything else. Louder, softer, pause, resume, skip, repeat all work.
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I can bear with for the benefits. Trust me. I love how my home sounds via sonos. I was discouraged not mad or pissed off. I just really wanted to have it today....... I will use and learn and be ready for Apple Music. I just hope it's around the corner and I'm at the last house from the corner.
I have no insider information, but I wouldn't hold your breath from Apple Music support. It seems like this integration is set up such that Alexa is handling all the syntax processing, searching for music, etc., and then passing it onto the Sonos to play. For that to work, both Alexa and Sonos need to support the music service in question. They both support Spotify and we know that is in the works -- it's just not done yet. But Alexa doesn't support Apple Music.

Again, I don't know for sure, but I don't think you will be able to use Alexa to play songs from Apple Music on a Sonos speaker until Alexa itself supports Apple Music as a service. And who knows when that will happen...
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twangus, I would agree with your analysis of the situation.

This is why Google "assistant" has been identified as the next target. If Apple wants to play nice then Sonos is going to bring them into the fold, but if not...

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