Playing from local music library not possible using Alexa/voice control

  • 31 December 2017
  • 36 replies
  • 7731 views

Userlevel 1
I have checked with Sonos, and they have confirmed that you cannot ask Alexa to play tracks from your own library.
Further, they have no plans to support this.

As much as I love my existing Sonus setup, and as much as I want to try Alexa out, I do NOT want to sign up to a music service when I have a large quantity of my favourite music already in my home Sonus library.

I have no idea of the technical challenges involved with this. Given your voice command is uploaded and parsed somewhere else, it may be too difficult to send back the results to the sonos controller to access the local library.

None the less, I wanted to start a conversation to see if I am alone, or if this is something a lot of people want.

Regards, Ian

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36 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Alexa has no ability to index your local files. Supposedly Sonos is working on way to do it though. That doesn’t mean they have forgotten local music if they are devoting resources to.
I am with everyone else who listens to their own music and not always stream. I Dont understand why i would pay money to stream when i have a large selection of my own. It does annoy me that sonos keeps putting effort into streaming services but has forgotten about the people who have their own collection.... we are still a big slice of the market share!

On the issue with alexa voice control NOT being able to control the sonos libraries or even my favorites or streaming services is a little annoying. I have just purchased a pair of ones and while it works quite well, it is annoying i cant tell it to play my sonos playlist even. It seems a total waste of money and time having to purchase or setup 3rd party apps just to do something sonos application has already got setup.

I really hope sonos does improve this area.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Interesting. I’m sceptical but if they say so.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
From: https://www.recode.net/2018/2/15/17017468/transcript-sonos-speaker-patrick-spence-too-embarrassed-to-ask-google-voice-assistant-alexa-amazon

KS: Speaking of which, there’s a second question from Eric Johnson here, just slip one in. “I bought a Sonos One speaker which works with Alexa, but I can’t play music from my local iTunes music library, even though the Sonos app can. Why is that, and when will that be possible?”

PS: Ah, yeah. I suspect he’s referring to through voice. We use the services that Alexa ties into today, but we are doing work on the ability to tie into all the services that Sonos supports. That’s something that we’re hoping to deliver later this year as well.
Userlevel 7
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He did? Do you have link...I’m curious about.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
I would certainly be interested in having voice control to my local NAS library of music. No way I will buy a streaming service for music. Also happy to use voice control to control TV volume and channels.

Sonos CEO has confirmed this will be delivered but no timescales as yet.
I would certainly be interested in having voice control to my local NAS library of music. No way I will buy a streaming service for music. Also happy to use voice control to control TV volume and channels.
Userlevel 1
Badge +2
Picked up a Sonos One, set it up today and was shocked I couldn't ask Alexa to play music from my local library in iTunes. I just assumed it would work like a regular Sonos speaker with Alexa on top of it, which it does. For the most part. I blame myself for not doing my usual due diligence but that being said, it's not an outlandish assumption to make. Hope they find a way to make it work in the future
Please note that the Sonos One does not currently support all the Alexa APIs required to run My Media for Alexa. As soon as Sonos improves support for the Audio Player API within the One then we will endeavor to ensure My Media for Alexa supports it.
You can ask Alexa "What's Playing?" and local tracks will be reported.
So how does Alexa know how to play the next song on my playlist ( which is local )?

It just sends a next command. That doesn't require it to know what is in your library, it only needs to tell it to play the next track.
So how does Alexa know how to play the next song on my playlist ( which is local )?
I'm no conspiracy theorist but don't you think that Amazon has perhaps done a bit of a deal with Sonos to attract people away from Apple Music to the Amazon equivalent. I do seem to remember some nastiness from Apple to Sonos prior to the (first) release of Homepod. I did do a fair bit of research and even without the local library function I'd still rather go for Sonos than Homepod and I'm a huge Apple fan!
Alexa can index your local library using the My Media skill. The only thing preventing it from working is that Sonos doesn't support the Media Skill Audio Player API interfaces. I'm no techie but that sounds to me like a Sonos firmware update could fix this.

There is no way Sonos is going to rely upon a 3rd party skill which requires a server running on your PC to facilitate this function. It will be done in-house, with Amazon's cooperation, and will not require a local server. JMHO.
Alexa can index your local library using the My Media skill. The only thing preventing it from working is that Sonos doesn't support the Media Skill Audio Player API interfaces. I'm no techie but that sounds to me like a Sonos firmware update could fix this.
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
Is it a declining one or simply one that's not growing? Does the 7% of local music streamers Sonos has now roughly equal the number of Sonos users before they started making speaker only products that can be used with a streaming service? I doubt Sonos will tell us.

However, Amazon and Google with adding multiroom options to their much cheaper speakers that just happen to have a voice assistant built in will no doubt be dealing a huge blow to Sonos new 93% of streamers market... people will often take price over quality unfortunately.

So Sonos may be left where they started, providing quality streaming solutions to those who don't want bargain basement, and at that point I suspect the % of users who want to stream their higher quality local media will be much higher.

Also. if Sonos could find a way to control everything that Sonos can do from Alexa/Google Assistant, then even for streaming you suddenly open up a much bigger range of options that neither Amazon or Google are likely to ever support... i.e. Amazon Music, Google Play and Apple music in one device. That would be a selling point. Being restricted to what Amazon/Google support is just me too...
Userlevel 7
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With money virtually everything technically is possible eventually! The question for Sonos is; do they want to allocate some of their finite development resource to a declining market, albeit with a passionate following. 🙂
Userlevel 4
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I still don't see any obvious technical reason why Sonos couldn't do this if they wanted to, as the growing number of options for controlling non-cloud audio is showing.

IMO it's simply down to Sonos not wanting to put some server code on their Sonos devices (which just run a locked down Linux derivative) that would enable communications with the Alexa code on the Amazon cloud. This is all the solutions such as the Synology are doing, they're running code on a device on your network.

If existing Sonos devices can't handle this then as a long time Sonos user I would be happy to buy a new updated Sonos Connect device that could act as the local library server in a Sonos network and talk to AWS, Google or other services. As the local library index is already held on each Sonos device, would some server code to allow access to that and generate the right command string via a cloud service be that complicated?
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
FYI: I haven't tried this personally as I prefer the ease of streaming music rather than playing from my local library but for those that are interested, there does seem to be an option for a cost:

1/ Purchase a license for JRiver Media Center: https://jriver.com/purchase.html
2/ Configure JRiver Media Center to access your Local Library stored on your NAS:
3/ Enable the House Band skill within Alexa and link your two accounts.

I'm not sure if this Skill would be supported by the Sonos One but you can try JRiver Media Center for 7 days for free, so some of you may want to try it. If you do, let us know how you get on. 🙂


How well does google home works with the sonos system. Alexa is not a great AI when you ask question sometime. Google assistance is much better. I was thinking about going with a google home mini instead of the dot.


Works well, but as i said, it's limited to Sonos playlists, preconfigured, so very much a PITA to configure. Unless you have a bunch of Sonos playlists already set up.
This looks interesting. Windows, Mac, Linux and Raspberry Pi supported. Won't work with Sonos One until Sonos fully implements the Audio Player API, but will work with a Dot into a Connect or Play:5. Just $5-$10/year to voice control your local files.

https://www.mymediaalexa.com
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
You can do it for free, using either Alexa or Google Home voice control, with the Yonomi app. Have to set up routines and playlists, but it will play anything Sonos can play, including files from your NAS.

How well does google home works with the sonos system. Alexa is not a great AI when you ask question sometime. Google assistance is much better. I was thinking about going with a google home mini instead of the dot.
You can do it for free, using either Alexa or Google Home voice control, with the Yonomi app. Have to set up routines and playlists, but it will play anything Sonos can play, including files from your NAS.
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
There is a work around for 400 Dollars, get a Synology NAS and put your local music library on the NAS. They are working on an Alexa skill that will allow Alexa to play music on their NAS systems. When it will be ready is anyones guess.

https://www.amazon.com/Synology-Inc-Audio-Station/dp/B076PBX4LL

WD MyCloud Home are in beta for a alexa skill, only in the USA as well.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I personally find voice control a convinIence appilcTion that has nothing to do with me enjoying my music “even on my nas” using Sonos controller.