Answered

Playing Local Music Library on Sonos through Alexa

  • 4 October 2017
  • 87 replies
  • 22855 views


Show first post

87 replies

Userlevel 1
For me, as a Sonos owner for a decade now, there are two primary problems with this release.

#1 - A large community of product users use Sonos independent of the internet, because, it was a system released prior to the majority of streaming services, and certainly before any of them became useable.
As such, the idea that they have built integration with Alexa (granted a web based service) but have now (in beta at least) leveraged all the benefits of the voice capability to streamable services only totally ignores what is undoubtedly the core ownership of the product, and certainly the most loyal. It kinda borders on the ridiculous to be frank.

#2 - Sonos was designed (in part) to be a service to allow you to control all of your local music (sheesh I still have a CR100, all that could do was my local music at the time) and for many, many, MANY years that was it's entire selling point of the product until such a time as streaming became more accessible and popular and then it became "play every song on the earth" and random hyperbole like that.
So, you build a massive user base of people who have ripped and laboriously ID3 tagged their music libraries, and then you offer them the ability to voice control their system - you tease it for a year or more - and then when you release it, you do not provide the functionality that they have primarily used the system for?
Whomever in here is saying that makes sense is vastly deluded as how easy it is to alienate a consumer base.

What's sh*tty about this whole thing is, no-one knew Sonos were going to do anything with Amazon. The ECHO and DOT were out and ok, some people might have been talking about it and maybe some people on here were saying "hey, Sonos, Alexa, hmm?, hmmmm?" but that would have been it.
It's dangerous from a companycustomer relationship standpoint to open the door to questions like "did you only announce this so people would go and buy ECHO's and DOT's thus helping Amazon sell their product when Google was hot on their heels".
Because, it wouldn't be hard to make an argument for that when you consider it was Sonos who decided to announce Alexa functionality and they did it in a way which is totally opposed to the very thing the majority of their consumers use. Why do that?, why not just say nothing if it's so difficult to add local library functionality, until you figure out a way to do it?, and then announce :?

I also find it fantastical at best that all the beta testers for this weren't all asking about local library.

To me, this from the press release that still sits on the Sonos website is misleading:
"Sonos owners with an Alexa-enabled device such as an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot will soon be able to use Amazon’s popular Alexa service to control their Sonos sound system"

That part of the sentence is not true today.

Now sure, the press release goes on to say:
"Simply ask Alexa to play your music from Amazon Music, Spotify and more and it will flow to any group of Sonos speakers in the home. By integrating Alexa into their Sonos sound systems, owners can use their voice to play, pause, skip, control volume and more."

But aside the fact that Spotify isn't available, so that part of the sentence is partially baloney too - the former paragraph infers a myth that the rest of the press release does nothing to dispel.
Read it for yourself > http://press-us.sonos.com/134980-sonos-with-partners-and-industry-leaders-ushers-in-new-era-of-connected-home-listening <

I have always said, as a tech geek and someone that works in the tech industry that my Sonos was the best item of tech I have ever bought, but when a company does stuff like this, they are well on their way to losing people who advocate the brand.

IMHO. A Sonos products key market is not streaming. Very few people are buying Sonos kit costing in the hundreds (and in many cases thousands) of $ to play streamable content when they probably have a TV or a iPhone doc that can do that already. I'd actually be very interested to hear someone from Sonos look at the data of new hardware purchases and tell us what those people are using the product for, because I find it hard to believe that the main and best product feature of Sonos does not remain the local library functionality... and the company would do well to remember that when they decide to release like this.

And just to comment on people saying it's a much harder task than it appears.
I as a local library users of probably 3-4Tb of music, understand that voice recognition of all my ambiguous songs and artists is tough. I get that.
However what I don't get is why the first release doesn't have the ability to play (at the very least) playlists, this would be easy enough to push/send my playlist to my 'room' and then send the [play] command to, and a simple advisory to make the playlist names 'simple' would be all that's required.
So, I'm sorry, the idea that local library functionality couldn't in any way be made available is hooey to me. Especially when I can ask Alexa to play a song and there's no problem finding a sample version of it in the Amazon library, but I can't play the full high quality file sitting in my local library. That's pretty 😞 😠 to say the least.

Just my 2p.
Disappointing! I have been waiting for Alexa integration and am excited to use it. I have it up and running well with Amazon Music and SiriusXM but am very disappointed that it cannot access the music library, Sonos playlists, etc. Couldn't agree more. My entire library is FLAC/lossless and hearing the deceased bitrate through these services is horrible. Hopefully, Sonos will fix this, and maintain their premium stature. Otherwise, people will just buy Amazon products.
Userlevel 1
Badge
Oh grow up. Honestly the moaning about a feature no other manufacturer other than Google or Amazon has is pathetic. Even Apple with it's wealth an resource has brought nothing to market yet.

I have all my music locally, and also have spotify so would love further integration but I fully expect that to come. If only the simplest of technical projects I work on for a major company could deliver in a year! And actually work!


Don't be so damned patronising.

I'm in a similar position to you, all music locally + Spotify, but I've also just had to shell out £120 for a 'repair' of a Play:3 that had hardly been used. It was a big decision to make when I could've got a brand new Echo for a similar price. It was an email from Sonos about Alexa support being imminent that made me decide to go ahead with this 'repair' but it seems the Alexa support is of little use to me at this time without local library access and/or Spotify.

I obviously think we're perfectly justified in finding this situation very disappointing, especially with the lack of evidence from Sonos that they are working hard to support those of us who invested in their system when external streaming options were not even worth thinking about due to network bandwidth and download restrictions.

I, for one, will certainly not be buying any more Sonos equipment, nor paying for 'repairs' of any of the ones I've got. I feel pretty aggrieved about the fact that this power supply failure (which seems to be quite common from what I've read in this forum) has cost me £120 to sort out when, had the power supply been external, it could probably have been replaced for less than £20.
I have OpenHAB home automation. That integrates with Sonos and can play anything from my Favourites or Playlists. Well, it could. That's just broken with the new app.

You win some, you lose some.

It's probably not beyond the wit of Sonos and Amazon to fix access to a local NAS library. If some unpaid programmer can create an integration for OpenHAB just because it would be cool, I'm sure the guys that get paid as a day job can do it. We just need to give them an incentive, like "WE WANT IT!!!"
What a waste of time. If Alexa and Sonos can not play my library. It is all about money and control and not about music. 😞
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
For me, as a Sonos owner for a decade now, there are two primary problems with this release.

#1 - A large community of product users use Sonos independent of the internet, because, it was a system released prior to the majority of streaming services, and certainly before any of them became useable.
As such, the idea that they have built integration with Alexa (granted a web based service) but have now (in beta at least) leveraged all the benefits of the voice capability to streamable services only totally ignores what is undoubtedly the core ownership of the product, and certainly the most loyal. It kinda borders on the ridiculous to be frank.
I've also had Sonos for a while now, like you, and started when the only devices were the CR100 controller and the two zone players. You had no choice but to use a local library.

However, I suspect that since Sonos started making the standalone speakers, their core market has changed. With these speakers you don't need a network drive, just a music subscription...it's really simple to setup, especially now as it can just hook onto your existing Wifi... In looking at some of the Sonos One reviews linked elsewhere I couldn't help wondering when a Play:1 became a high quality device as described in the reviews. No dis-respect to Sonos, as I think for what they are they're very good, but they're about convenience not SQ. For that you need either a connect into a decent system, or you go outside Sonos for Hi-res music... But that tells us where the core Sonos market has shifted to, Yes you can stream via your phone to a bluetooth speaker, but most of them are truly awful (but cheap) and you have to remember to put your phone nearby, and you can't do multi-room. So I can see why the Sonos One and up appeal. Several family members now have simple Sonos systems with streaming subscriptions because it's just really easy to setup and use.

In some ways the real competition for Sonos is the likes of Amazon Echo as despite the fact that they don't properly support rooms, Amazon have now added multi-room music a la Sonos...

So I think it's a good move for Sonos to get involved in this space, but also having used it, I think the whole home voice assistant market is still in very early stages and will be changing rapidly. I suspect much of what Sonos want to do is not yet possible with Alexa, Siri or Google, but they're not big enough to go it alone either.

I prefer the integration with Alexa where I don't need to say "tell sonos...", and while the home brew integration is interesting, it's way too technical for 99.9% of users to get going, and even if simplified hugely, still requires a server device to handle requests between Alexa and Sonos. So I would hope that the official voice integration will improve over the next year quite a bit and although I'm also disappointed that control of the local library is missing, I hope it will come. I'm also resigned to the fact that I am in the minority of Sonos users now relying on a local library, and for serious high-res listening am already outside of the Sonos eco-system as a result.
Sonos needs to add Library control or Amazon will eat their lunch. Bottom line: No support to use Alexa to play Sonos Library. Scenario 1: Use Bluetooth to connect Echo Dot to Sonos:Connect. Alexa speaks through your Sonos system. Does not require link of Sonos service to Echo Dot Scenario 2: Use wifi to have Echo Dot and Sonos:Connect communicate. Alexa speaks through the echo dot speaker. In this case needed Sonos 8.1 on Sonos:Connect and Sonos service in Alexa to use wifi.
Huh? :?
Badge
Alexa doesn't have access to your local music library.

What?! That's crazy... I've spent years building a library of my own music... and was so looking forward to having the alexa integration. But it won't play anything from my local library? That's just NOT ok! Once Alexa figures out teh commend is for Sonos, it gets transferred to the Sonos cloud for processing... and the Sonos cloud has access to my library. So it should work.

I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't like to pay the monthly fees to listen to the music I like... I just buy the music I like. Having the Alexa-Sonos integration only work with [a handful] of streaming services really cripples the integration.

Are there plans to allow Alexa commands that play from my music library?
Badge
Totally agree
This makes the Sonos One very limiting!
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
As soon as i can use voice control for my local library im cancelling my Amazon Music supscription, bring it on Sonos!
As soon as i can use voice control for my local library im cancelling my Amazon Music supscription, bring it on Sonos!

Uhhh, not the best way to encourage Amazon to work with Sonos to bring this feature to Alexa. 😉
Userlevel 1
Look, I bought Sonos years ago to handle my local library. I spent weeks ripping and tagging my CD collection and housing it on redundant systems so Sonos could play it. Then I find out that Sonos can't handle tags with multiple genres ("Rock; Pop" does not go into the Rock genre and the Pop genre; instead it's in its own "Rock; Pop" genre, which is useless. I prove to tech support that this is not working, and then I wait, and wait, and wait for years, for them to fix the software so that local music is tagged correctly, like every other music player works. It still hasn't happened.

So, not only has the local music library been totally de-prioritized; but the defect would carry through to Alexa if Sonos ever moved the index into the cloud. The advertised "Alexa, play some chill music" would have to be done as "Alexa, play some chill semi-colon jazz music".

I had decided I wasn't buying another Sonos product until they fixed the music genre indexing. Then, they announced the Alexa integration, and how I could just tell it to play my music. I guess I missed the fine print that the local library was ignored again. Consider me fooled twice.
This is a quote from the last latest Sonos instructions on how to use Alexa with Sonos: "You can initiate playback from any music source, such as local music library...". That's from Sonos! Is it possible or not?
This is a quote from the last latest Sonos instructions on how to use Alexa with Sonos: "You can initiate playback from any music source, such as local music library...". That's from Sonos! Is it possible or not?

Finish the quote. Context is very important:

"You can initiate playback from any music source, such as local music library, using the Sonos app, and basic playback commands, such as play/pause, volume and skip, will continue to work."
I am commenting merely to place my vote that Sonos work on developing the functionality to be able to control my music library via Alexa. At the very least, to be able to start playlists, although full control is ideal. If there is somewhere to vote on new features, I would do that, but I am unaware of that place so I am just adding this comment to the thread.
Userlevel 2
Badge
So... an interesting - but as yet unfulfilling - development for members of this thread. I found an Amazon skill called My Media that supports the indexing and playing of a local music library. The voice pattern of the skill is "Alexa, tell My Media to play My Top Rated."

So far it works really well - supports playlists, etc. all tested in a Mac - iTunes environment. So those of you wringing your hands about technical difficulties, rest assured, it can and has been done. However... here's the rub: It cannot play through to a Sonos device.

So here's the plan. Sonos should buy the company (wish I owned it) and integrate the server-side code into Sonos Controller (with an option to launch at startup and run in the background as a service), then merge the My Media skill into the Sonos skill for a "Alexa, tell Sonos to play My Top Rated in the Living Room." Another option might be just to support the My Media service in the Sonos skill just like any other streaming service.

Easy for me to say, huh? Oh, and do it before Christmas so all of those little kiddies who get Sonos One from Santa aren't disappointed...
Userlevel 2
Badge
P.S. Someone should merge all of these "Alexa local music library" threads into one to rule them all... Seems like a popular topic.
I would never want to have to run a local server, and I despise the "Tell XXXX to do YYYY" phrasing. No thank you. Sonos should do it right or not do it at all.
Userlevel 2
Badge
I would never want to have to run a local server, and I despise the "Tell XXXX to do YYYY" phrasing. No thank you. Sonos should do it right or not do it at all.

Leaving merely 6766 other viewers of this forum who might....
I would never want to have to run a local server, and I despise the "Tell XXXX to do YYYY" phrasing. No thank you. Sonos should do it right or not do it at all.

Leaving merely 6766 other viewers of this forum who might....


As of now, there is only one vote for and one vote against. You speculate all you wish, but I think I can say that after 9+ years of helping out on this forum, the requirement to both run a local server and regress to "Alexa tell Sonos to XXXX" instead of the current phrasing would cause an uproar of epic proportions. I'll take that experience over your "I think this way and 6766 other viewers might also" speculation.

Besides, there is a user (controlav) here who has developed just this kind of implementation via his own homegrown skill. If your speculation was correct, there would be no need for this thread, you could simply load his stuff and be a happy camper. Lord knows he is not shy in promoting it.
I love sonos I have the full range from a one player right up to the sub and play bar all of which are great, but not being able to voice command music from my library with Alexa via my new sonos player is a BIG mistake and something Sonos must address pretty soon as it makes mine use less as all my music is brought, owned and not streamed.
Please advise on an update to this issue
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
Fully agree with jgatie regarding that there are technical reasons why voice control does not currently work with local libraries. Several of us on here have put in the time to actually think about how all the integration works, as implemented, and have come to the conclusion that there are significant technical differences. Sonos staff have confirmed, in a broad sense, that this is the way it works.

I don't think that means that making a profit, for Sonos and Amazon, are completely irrelevant, I just can't conclude, at this point any way, that the Amazon/Sonos integration isn't enabling local libraries and all the music services Sonos provides purely for monetary reasons.

Out of curiosity, is any one bothered by the fact that neither Amazon, Google, or Apple (I think) can play your local files natively through their voice assistant devices?


Siri can play local music from my iPhone and not using Apple Music or streaming services
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
From link here

https://www.synology.com/en-global/knowledgebase/DSM/tutorial/Multimedia/How_to_enable_Audio_Station_skill_on_Amazon_Alexa


Synology are able to use alexa to navigate and play music from a local audio station client installed on the
Nas. I have been using synology for over five years and run all my local media off it so know it well. Using Plex and audio station.

So this is defiantly not an amazon or alexa limitation on streaming music locally. There should be zero reason sonos cannot implement this feature.

I guess sonos wants to go the way of blackberry.


Siri and Apple can also play music locally stored on iOS devices - and I am not taking about Apple Music as I refuse to Trent music or pay for streaming services.
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
From link here

https://www.synology.com/en-global/knowledgebase/DSM/tutorial/Multimedia/How_to_enable_Audio_Station_skill_on_Amazon_Alexa


Synology are able to use alexa to navigate and play music from a local audio station client installed on the
Nas. I have been using synology for over five years and run all my local media off it so know it well. Using Plex and audio station.

So this is defiantly not an amazon or alexa limitation on streaming music locally. There should be zero reason sonos cannot implement this feature.

I guess sonos wants to go the way of blackberry.


Siri and Apple can also play music locally stored on iOS devices - and I am not taking about Apple Music as I refuse to Trent music or pay for streaming services.




commands available to stream local music library using Synology audio station that Sonos should be able to reproduce

3. List of supported voice commands
With Audio Station skill, you use the voice commands below to play your songs, songs by a specific artist, an album, or playlists, as well as check the currently playing music.
Alexa, ask Audio Station to + play
start
search + [song name]1
the music
track
songs
audio by [artist]
the album [album name]
the playlist [playlist name]
Ask what's playing
Ask what song is the song

Reply