Sonos, Alexa and local NAS stored music

  • 5 October 2017
  • 77 replies
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I am impressed with the Alexa / Sonos release yesterday and am pleased to see that it will develop. I know two other people with SONOS systems, and we all play music from a local NAS. Is this possible using Alexa voice control?

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Goalposts successfully moved. This is becoming a habit for you.

For others viewing this thread, the CEO has stated publicly that it is the intention of Sonos to support voice control of local libraries and other services not native to Alexa. Some read this as them "not wanting" to do it, you can decide for yourself who to believe, and who is giving out willful misinformation.
Neither Sonos nor Amazon want to support voice access to a central store of all of your music so I will probably have to look elsewhere.


It is impossible that you have forgotten the Sonos CEO recently said the exact opposite to this statement, not to mention you being corrected on this in the past. Given this history of misinformation, I can only surmise that your statements on this subject are deliberately false and misleading.


The CEO spoke of an aspiration in a PR driven interview with no specifics or timeline. In Ryan's quote above: "I don't have any specifics on if or when we might get local libraries included" note the word if. They may support it someday but they do not today and there is no indication they will in any practical timeframe that would be useful for someone looking for a solution now and certainly no way to know what the delivered features will or will not actually do. In other words vaporware.
Neither Sonos nor Amazon want to support voice access to a central store of all of your music so I will probably have to look elsewhere.


It is impossible that you have forgotten the Sonos CEO recently said the exact opposite to this statement, not to mention you being corrected on this in the past. Given this history of misinformation, I can only surmise that your statements on this subject are deliberately false and misleading.
FYI Everyone - Amazon is RETIRING both its free and paid Music Storage Subscriptions on JANUARY 15, 2018...However, you can still subscribe to the Paid 250,000 track plan for 24.99/yr. UP UNTIL THAT DATE. Per Amazon, the paid service will then be continued until you either cancel it or let your subscription lapse.

Ya noticed this too, I'm mad but not surprised. Tech companies are killing privacy in the game of collecting data, streaming music allows them to monitor the songs you play, your tastes and preferences and that's valuable info for advertisers or recommending you stuff you may buy.

Personally I'd buy a Sonos product (call it the Sonos Hub) that allows:

a) Some local storage (10GB or more)
b) Linking to a cloud drive folder (OneDrive, Google, Amazon, Apple, Dropbox)
c) Most often played music is stored locally, the rest is streamed.

And all Sonos speakers can play music from this Sonos hub / it's just a NAS and it works with Alexa voice control or Google or ...

Finally, for more technical people like me, they can setup their own NAS. But judging by this, Sonos doesn't care:
https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/sonos-support-for-smb-2-0-protocol-6739642/index6.html


Apart from any privacy concerns the challenge for me is to have all of my music in one place and accessible via voice command. I don't much care if it is in the cloud or on a NAS as long as I can control it by voice and create playlists that include all the music I want to hear, not just the tracks or song versions available on a given streaming service. I was pretty much committed to the Amazon model until they broke it by removing the upload option so now I am once again pushed to local libraries as the only way to accomplish the listening model I want. Neither Sonos nor Amazon want to support voice access to a central store of all of your music so I will probably have to look elsewhere. For now Amazon is the best option for the voice piece and Sonos could be used for the music distribution piece (if they get the voice commands to group speakers working and get the ducking tied to the local zone only) but it looks like the only way to ensure you can listen to all of the music that is important to you in the way you want to hear it is to get it into one place that is not subject to the whims and instability of a service provider. I suspect this will require setting up a local media server of some sort that works with Alexa. Once I select that I will see if Sonos can still be in the picture or not.
FYI Everyone - Amazon is RETIRING both its free and paid Music Storage Subscriptions on JANUARY 15, 2018...However, you can still subscribe to the Paid 250,000 track plan for 24.99/yr. UP UNTIL THAT DATE. Per Amazon, the paid service will then be continued until you either cancel it or let your subscription lapse.

Ya noticed this too, I'm mad but not surprised. Tech companies are killing privacy in the game of collecting data, streaming music allows them to monitor the songs you play, your tastes and preferences and that's valuable info for advertisers or recommending you stuff you may buy.

Personally I'd buy a Sonos product (call it the Sonos Hub) that allows:

a) Some local storage (10GB or more)
b) Linking to a cloud drive folder (OneDrive, Google, Amazon, Apple, Dropbox)
c) Most often played music is stored locally, the rest is streamed.

And all Sonos speakers can play music from this Sonos hub / it's just a NAS and it works with Alexa voice control or Google or ...

Finally, for more technical people like me, they can setup their own NAS. But judging by this, Sonos doesn't care:
https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/sonos-support-for-smb-2-0-protocol-6739642/index6.html
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There is a thread elsewhere ( https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/playing-local-music-library-on-sonos-through-alexa-6791360/index1.html#post16150671 ) where the question was explicitly asked "Will alexa skill be able to play from my music library?" and, although Ryan (from Sonos) at no point answers this (instead essentially talking about what it can currently do), it is marked as 'Answered'.
My apologies, it was a busy day and I marked it answered because it answered the second question asked, I must not have noticed that the original one was "will" not "what". I've since edited the post a bit.

In short, melvimbe's analysis is pretty darn good, and on point. There would be work needing to be done on both sides of things for local libraries. There needs to be a cloud listing of your local tracks available when you'd want to listen to music, also with the knowledge of where or when to tell Sonos where to go. You can expect this Alexa integration to get better over time, we're constantly working on it. But I don't have any specifics on if or when we might get local libraries included. For those new to the thread, you can still use Alexa to control what's currently playing from any source, you just can't add something to the queue or start playing from certain sources with Alexa.


I understand unable to initiate a local source from Alexa, but can start the queue from the Sonos App and then further control from Alexa

However does this then allow you search options based on the queue content? I.E play Rolling Stones in Kitchen
FYI Everyone - Amazon is RETIRING both its free and paid Music Storage Subscriptions on JANUARY 15, 2018...However, you can still subscribe to the Paid 250,000 track plan for 24.99/yr. UP UNTIL THAT DATE. Per Amazon, the paid service will then be continued until you either cancel it or let your subscription lapse.
CChris (or anyone else with good familiarity with the Amazon Cloud offering) - Having already been stung royally by Amazon in recent months (more to follow), I really need to ask whether Amazon will truly store/mirror ALL the music on your local server or NAS in its cloud- or whether for commercial, DRM or any other conceivable reason, selectively NOT store/mirror some of what's in your library?

The reason I'm skeptical and am asking this question, is that some 3 months ago, I purchased a Fire HD tablet - along with a 128 GB micro SD card- for the express purpose of using it as a Sonos Controller..After tediously moving my 105 GB local library into the Fires's Music Folder on the microSD card, I was shocked to discover that the Fire was only "acknowledging" (for lack of a better term) 33 GB of the music in the Music folder, had relegated 40 GB of it to a folder called "Other", and god only knows what it did with the other missing 35 GB...The Sonos Controller, of course, could only index the 33 GB of music it found in the Music folder (Sonos confirmed that there's no way for me to force the Controller to index the music that the Fire had moved to the "Other" folder...) And Amazon tech support - which is singularly the most clueless tech support organization I have ever come across - was ineffably ignorant and unable to suggest anything other than that it was a hardware problem with the microSD card...The microSD card, incidentally, works perfectly in all 3 of my laptops and shows - and plays - all 105 GB of music in the Music Folder...( I won't bore anyone with further details, but suffice it to say, I've spent countless hours trying to figure this out, and have looked at everything from file types to codecs as possible causes of Amazon's/Androids mutilation of my music folder...)

In any event, this recent experience underlies my skepticism and my question...(I would LOVE the answer to be that I could trust Amazon to store my entire library, since CChris's idea is an excellent one...)

Thanks to everyone for a great exchange of ideas in this thread!
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So how does a local controller app query the local music library? Presumably there is some kind of interface to the players that lets it browse/search the library index held on each Sonos player? I would guess that once you have selected your music it then puts an entry in the player Q that lets the player find the track and play it. Already on the Sonos app with search you can see there is a delay between finding local matches and remote ones on streaming services. For Alexa, that delay will be the other way round.

If that's the case, what's to stop the Echo devices issuing the same query to the Sonos players asking for matching results that the controller app does? Alexa could then pass that result back to the Amazon servers to process further before sending it back and on to the player?

The Alexa support for Amazon is not an exact science presumably, Alexa is just talking directly to a Amazon music right now. When I say "Alexa play Queen in the kitchen" what will happen when more than one service is supported? Where will Alexa/Sonos choose to get the music from?

I would hope that you could configure a search order in the Alexa skill. At that point surely your local library is then just another service, that only you have access to...
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JGatie - thankyou for a very clear answer! I guess I will wait before I spend £500 on a new NAS as the situation may change
OK - i have no idea what Plex is, and having struggled with something called Groove after loading some music onto my OneDrive and i cant make it appear on my iphone app, this all seems like a bit of a mess? My files are encoded in ALAC, dont know whether OneDrive/Groove doesnt like this? (Steve Jobs would turn in his grave with all this complexity!)

All i want to do is store my ALAC files in the Cloud (prefer OneDrive as there is 1Tb for me) and play them on Sonos...and hence get rid of my NAS. I dont want any Match or any other service ....Can it be done simply?

Thanks for your help btw, its not a comment on the folks here who are trying to help and i do appreciate it!!


The only Cloud services currently supported by Sonos are Amazon, Google Play Music, and Apple. Amazon is free for 250 tracks and ~$25/year for 250k tracks. Google is free for 50k tracks, Apple requires a full Apple Music subscription. The only one fully compatible with Alexa at this time is Amazon. The others require initiating play on the Sonos app, then you can control playback via Alexa.

None of these accept ALAC files. Instead, they will match/convert your files to a high bitrate MP3 or Apple AAC codec.
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CChris - you make an interesting point on Cloud Services. Do I take it that Amazon Drive is accessed just like a NAS FROM Sonos? Is the delay in starting acceptable assuming a reasonable BBand speed? Also does it handle the album art ok which is often a pain imo?

Any tips on setting up?

One thing to also research here is availability of your music stored on Cloud Services in lossless form for replay - if you set store by lossless for sound quality. I don't but many do and this may be a deal breaker for them.


It's crazy to have to force people to put there music in the cloud. Don't forget how much extra internet traffic it will cause. If you're close to your ISP's limit, this will put you over
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OK - i have no idea what Plex is, and having struggled with something called Groove after loading some music onto my OneDrive and i cant make it appear on my iphone app, this all seems like a bit of a mess? My files are encoded in ALAC, dont know whether OneDrive/Groove doesnt like this? (Steve Jobs would turn in his grave with all this complexity!)

All i want to do is store my ALAC files in the Cloud (prefer OneDrive as there is 1Tb for me) and play them on Sonos...and hence get rid of my NAS. I dont want any Match or any other service ....Can it be done simply?

Thanks for your help btw, its not a comment on the folks here who are trying to help and i do appreciate it!!
As I said, somebody obviously love Plex. It is decidedly different opinion from the majority here at the Sonos forum.
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As far as I know, Sonos only supports Plex on a local server, not the cloud, and quite frankly, the Plex implementation is terrible and Plex basically abandoned it soon after it launched.

If you had implemented it properly you would know you have to set up the Plex media server to be fully accessible to the internet which allows the plex to access the library locally. Plex works fine for me in the app, on the sonos desktop app and works fine allowing sonos to quickly pull all music directly form the app without having to use the Plex source explicitly . It is also far faster to browse than using the standard sonos local library source. Much better.

Amazon Drive (Cloud, whatever it is called now) allows you to upload and/or match your personal library in the cloud and access it via your Amazon music account via Alexa (and the Alexa/Sonos implementation). If you do this, your personal library will be fully supported via Alexa on Sonos, and there is no need to subscribe to the full Amazon Unlimited subscription.

But one must subscribe to some service from Amazon? Which one? And what happens to lossless files uploaded when they are accessed for replay?
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Plex implementation is fine. Don't know what rubbish you are spouting about saying implementation is terrible.
You have got to be joking - unless it's changed drastically in the last couple of months, then it's useless if you have varied tastes in music. The web version is very flexible, but the Sonos implementation is so limited that it's unusable.


No im not joking
CChris - you make an interesting point on Cloud Services. Do I take it that Amazon Drive is accessed just like a NAS FROM Sonos? Is the delay in starting acceptable assuming a reasonable BBand speed? Also does it handle the album art ok which is often a pain imo?

Any tips on setting up?


Amazon Drive (Cloud, whatever it is called now) allows you to upload and/or match your personal library in the cloud and access it via your Amazon music account via Alexa (and the Alexa/Sonos implementation). If you do this, your personal library will be fully supported via Alexa on Sonos, and there is no need to subscribe to the full Amazon Unlimited subscription. At this time, it is the only way to play all (up to 250,000 tracks) of your library with full Alexa support through Sonos.
CChris - you make an interesting point on Cloud Services. Do I take it that Amazon Drive is accessed just like a NAS FROM Sonos? Is the delay in starting acceptable assuming a reasonable BBand speed? Also does it handle the album art ok which is often a pain imo?

Any tips on setting up?

One thing to also research here is availability of your music stored on Cloud Services in lossless form for replay - if you set store by lossless for sound quality. I don't but many do and this may be a deal breaker for them.
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As there have already been homebrew apps that can do all of the above (address local libraries, group/ungroup etc), that have been running using amazon alexa, then I would say it absolutely is technically possible without too much involvement from either side.

https://github.com/rgraciano/echo-sonos
https://github.com/jishi/node-sonos-http-api

The setup above uses a personal amazon app (not published), and works using a pc in the home which just gives http get commands to the sonos cloud. It really wouldnt take much at all for that to run on amazon or sonos backend, so there must be some other reason these features were not made available. Either Amazon wants to try and force people down the Amazon prime music route, or they got so hung up on what they wanted to produce, that they never bothered to ask or look what the consumer actually wanted.


Really is pathetic that sonos released a version that in now way matches the amatuer code. I do not want to be forced into renting music.


Agreed. It's a lame implementation. Sonos have dropped the ball big time in last few years and this is too little to late
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I have tried to add onedrive as a path in sonos but it doesnt like it. Any tips how to do it? Seems to throw a blue exclamation mark just outside the path field
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CChris - you make an interesting point on Cloud Services. Do I take it that Amazon Drive is accessed just like a NAS FROM Sonos? Is the delay in starting acceptable assuming a reasonable BBand speed? Also does it handle the album art ok which is often a pain imo?

Any tips on setting up?
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Actually, the One is going to be platform agnostic. You will be able to select the voice assistant you wish to use, with Google being next on the slate.

Indeed, Sonos shouldn't be reliant on Amazon so much. The Brilliant controller (https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/brilliant-controller-6788719) has multiple Assitants such as Google and Alexa and also has its own. Surely Sonos could implement something themselves to fill the gap.
Plex implementation is fine. Don't know what rubbish you are spouting about saying implementation is terrible.
You have got to be joking - unless it's changed drastically in the last couple of months, then it's useless if you have varied tastes in music. The web version is very flexible, but the Sonos implementation is so limited that it's unusable.
I hope you are wrong about NAS support being unlikely. If you play classical or opera you don’t generally mess about with the sequencing, although you do pause, adjust volume maybe.
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To clarify: it is just voice control we are talking about, not the use of NAS in general. And that too, just the starting command with further actions possible via voice control.