Have to ask (Alexa) twice to play Spotify Music (S1)

  • 20 April 2022
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As described extensively in this thread, multiple users have reported the consistent need to ask Alexa (or Google Assistant) twice to play music on Sonos from Spotify.  This appears to be related to an erroneous stream limit error from Spotify that is not being handled correctly by Sonos.   A fix was apparently released for S2 systems in 2021 that resolved the issue for S2 systems, but the issue remains unresolved S1 systems.  I suspect most S1 users have either given up on Spotify, Sonos, or both at this point.

As described in the above-linked thread, this problem can be replicated as follows (including on my own system):

When issuing a voice command to Sonos in any room I have the following situation:

  • If SONOS is playing or has recently played via voice command: No problem; music will play properly.
  • If SONOS is playing or has recently played from Spotify Connect: No problem.
  • If SONOS is playing or has recently played from its native app: I will have to ask twice. The first time it will confirm the command and state that the music is playing, but nothing will happen. The second time it will work. (asking again will always work)
    • This is so predictable that I have grown accustomed to just issue the command twice in a go, which sounds really stupid. 
    • The song will go on to play without fail after the second time, subsequent voice commands will work as expected.

Selecting a Sonos speaker as the target speaker from the native Spotify app yields a similar result -- the first time I select the Sonos device through the Spotify app, the music will not switch to playing through Sonos.  The second time I select it in the app, the music will play via Sonos.

I have already submitted a ticket and gone through all of the troubleshooting steps from Sonos support.  No amount of resetting/adding the services, reserving IP addresses, rebooting network hardware, etc. has resolved this.  It has persisted exactly as described above for well over a year.  This is not an intermittent issue, it is a bug.    

This bug was apparently fixed on S2 systems (see the last post from Corry P at Sonos in the above thread), but has not been acknowledged by Sonos for S1 systems.

Please, Sonos -- acknowledge and fix this!


9 replies

@tad,
Have you perhaps tried signing out of Spotify ‘Everywhere’ through a web browser in your online Spotify account and then reauthorise it’s access in the Spotify, Amazon Alexa and Sonos Apps on your mobile controller device? This tends to fix most issues with Spotify.

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@tad,
Have you perhaps tried signing out of Spotify ‘Everywhere’ through a web browser in your online Spotify account and then reauthorise it’s access in the Spotify, Amazon Alexa and Sonos Apps on your mobile controller device? This tends to fix most issues with Spotify.

Thanks, but yes -- I’ve tried that.  This is most definitely a Sonos bug, as it is reproducible every single time, as described above, on multiple systems.

If the Sonos controller app is open on a phone, the following error message is displayed in the Sonos app the first time I ask Alexa to play new music from Spotify (when other Spotify music was first started via the Sonos controller)

 

Of course, the second time I ask, the song is played properly.

Also, to be clear, Sonos was the only device playing music from Spotify in the above example, and we have a Spotify premium account.  Ultimately, I expect this is an issue with Sonos/Spotify/Alexa treating music started from Alexa vs music started from Sonos as separate simultaneous streams.  But using a different Spotify account in Alexa from the Spotify account used in Sonos does not solve this problem either (I tried that by creating a family account with a separate account just for Sonos)… 

Sonos apparently resolved this bug with a S2 software update (as described in the thread I linked in my original post), but S1 users were apparently left behind.

 

The above actually infers you have left a Spotify session open. You do realise you can only have one session streaming at a time. I’m not a premium Spotify user, but I do use the free version and I’m not seeing any issues with it. I use both S1 and S2 Apps here, but I do often manually end the session in all my Apps. See screenshot from my S1 App ‘Now Playing’ screen whilst playing from Spotify.

Note I think the sessions end automatically after a certain period anyway, if you don’t end them yourself when switching devices.

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The above actually infers you have left a Spotify session open. You do realise you can only have one session streaming at a time. I’m not a premium Spotify user, but I do use the free version and I’m not seeing any issues with it. I use both S1 and S2 Apps here, but I do often manually end the session in all my Apps. See screenshot from my S1 App ‘Now Playing’ screen whilst playing from Spotify.

Note I think the sessions end automatically after a certain period anyway, if you don’t end them yourself when switching devices.

Agreed that’s what the message implies, but there are no other Spotify streams anywhere (this occurs even after signing out and deauthorizing all other Spotify devices) when this happens. I suspect the root of the problem is that Sonos/Spotify is treating the stream started from the Sonos controller as a separate stream from that started from Alexa, leading to this error.  

As stated before, this exact issue was previously resolved with an update for S2 devices.

Agreed that’s what the message implies, but there are no other Spotify streams anywhere (this occurs even after signing out and deauthorizing all other Spotify devices) when this happens. I suspect the root of the problem is that Sonos/Spotify is treating the stream started from the Sonos controller as a separate stream from that started from Alexa, leading to this error.  

As stated before, this exact issue was previously resolved with an update for S2 devices.

I thought it was just the one stream only on any device, no matter how the playback was started?

https://community.spotify.com/t5/Accounts/Premium-Family-Account-but-only-one-user-can-play-at-a-time/td-p/4514454

I don’t have Alexa setup on S1 (it’s running on my S2 HH) so I can’t actually test that here. Otherwise, Spotify has been working okay for me on my S1 System.

 

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Agreed that’s what the message implies, but there are no other Spotify streams anywhere (this occurs even after signing out and deauthorizing all other Spotify devices) when this happens. I suspect the root of the problem is that Sonos/Spotify is treating the stream started from the Sonos controller as a separate stream from that started from Alexa, leading to this error.  

As stated before, this exact issue was previously resolved with an update for S2 devices.

I thought it was just the one stream only on any device, no matter how the playback was started?

https://community.spotify.com/t5/Accounts/Premium-Family-Account-but-only-one-user-can-play-at-a-time/td-p/4514454

I don’t have Alexa setup on S1 (it’s running on my S2 HH) so I can’t actually test that here. Otherwise, Spotify has been working okay for me on my S1 System.

 

While I have no knowledge of the inner workings of how Sonos is handling this, I SUSPECT that Sonos is not properly stopping the stream started from the Sonos controller app before a new stream (ie song request) is started on Sonos via Alexa.  Note that the problem does not exist the other way around (ie there is no problem starting a new song on Spotify via the Sonos app when a different song has been playing on Sonos that was started by Alexa).

As described in the linked thread above, this all used to work just fine on Sonos until either Sonos or Spotify broke something — and they should fix it.

 

I’m not too sure if Spotify may have changed their policy on this issue in relation to the amount of audio streams allowed on any playback device.

I am just trying to assist you here… this has been my own experience with Spotify:

Whilst using the S2 Sonos App, merely as a test, I started a Spotify track from within the Sonos App, playing some music to a Sonos ‘Move’.. if I then ask Alexa to play music from Spotify to a different speaker (I chose a Sonos Five) then the playing track on the ‘Move’ stops playing immediately and music then starts playing on the ‘Five’. That’s what I’m seeing here, but that’s with an S2 system and I repeated this test several times to make sure that was what was happening each time.

Similarly, if I reverse things and first start playing a track from Spotify using Alexa on a ‘Five’ and then open the Sonos App and begin to play a Spotify track to the ‘Move’ then the track playing on the ‘Five’ will stop.

I can even play music from Spotify on Sonos (using any method Alexa/App etc.) then goto my iPhone and play Spotify just on my phone speakers from the native Spotify App and the playing music stops on my Sonos speakers - it’s like Spotify now only allow one stream.

Yes, I’ve seen it where the streaming ‘sessions’ sometimes don’t appear to end immediately, but it’s not always Sonos related - it can be Spotify App related too… so I tend to check and end the sessions manually, rather than sometimes wait for them to time-out (which may take several minutes).

It seems to be a case that many of the streaming services are ‘perhaps’ heading in this direction of one-stream only. That’s just my own personal thoughts. 

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I’m not too sure if Spotify may have changed their policy on this issue in relation to the amount of audio streams allowed on any playback device.

I am just trying to assist you here… this has been my own experience with Spotify:

Whilst using the S2 Sonos App, merely as a test, I started a Spotify track from within the Sonos App, playing some music to a Sonos ‘Move’.. if I then ask Alexa to play music from Spotify to a different speaker (I chose a Sonos Five) then the playing track on the ‘Move’ stops playing immediately and music then starts playing on the ‘Five’. That’s what I’m seeing here, but that’s with an S2 system and I repeated this test several times to make sure that was what was happening each time.

Similarly, if I reverse things and first start playing a track from Spotify using Alexa on a ‘Five’ and then open the Sonos App and begin to play a Spotify track to the ‘Move’ then the track playing on the ‘Five’ will stop.

I can even play music from Spotify on Sonos (using any method Alexa/App etc.) then goto my iPhone and play Spotify just on my phone speakers from the native Spotify App and the playing music stops on my Sonos speakers - it’s like Spotify now only allow one stream.

Yes, I’ve seen it where the streaming ‘sessions’ sometimes don’t appear to end immediately, but it’s not always Sonos related - it can be Spotify App related too… so I tend to check and end the sessions manually, rather than sometimes wait for them to time-out (which may take several minutes).

It seems to be a case that many of the streaming services are ‘perhaps’ heading in this direction of one-stream only. That’s just my own personal thoughts. 

Upgrading to Spotify premium will solve this for you.  I have no issue actually playing multiple different streams in multiple different rooms, whether started from Alexa or the Sonos app, I just have to ask twice!!

Edit: And I appreciate that you have no skin in the game and are just trying to help -- I am just so fed up with troubleshooting this issue -- everything used to work perfectly before the big Sonos update in 2020!  As if COVID wasn’t enough...

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Although the latest complete outage of Sonos-Alexa integration (noted in numerous other threads) was recently fixed, this problem still persists!

Sonos, please fix this!

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