Sonos Now Playing with Alexa Groups


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We're excited to share that Alexa is getting smarter again on Sonos. Available today through an automatic cloud update, you can create Alexa Groups that include Sonos speakers as the Preferred Speaker within the Alexa app. 

Alexa Groups, controlled by Alexa-enabled devices (including the Sonos One and Beam) are linked so that all of the devices within that Alexa Group work together, allowing for easier, more natural commands and a smarter and clearer experience. These groups will add some highly requested features and improvements to the Alexa and Sonos integration.

Highlights and Features:



Set up Alexa Groups with Sonos speakers as the Preferred Speaker
Configured this way, you'll be able to talk to the microphone enabled device that runs the group and have it perform actions using your Preferred Speaker(s) without needing to name them.

Commands now implied to the Alexa Group if not explicitly stated
"Alexa, play some music," will have the music start playing on all Sonos speakers that are selected as your preferred speaker in the Alexa Group your device is in. 

You can also adjust the volume without having to name a room, so long as you're speaking to the microphone enabled device set up in that Alexa Group. "Alexa, turn it down/up," is all you'll need to say to adjust the volume on the Preferred Speaker.

Volume lowering done smarter using Alexa Groups
We've been listening, and are happy to say that with Alexa Groups, saying "Alexa" to any device with a microphone will only lower the volume of speakers in the same Alexa Group. Every Echo device you have will need to be in an Alexa Group to take advantage of this fully. Echo devices not part of any Alexa Group will still make all Sonos players drop in volume.

Group Sonos speakers using Alexa Groups
Using Alexa Groups will cause Sonos players to group together. If you have an Alexa Group created already in the Alexa App, calling out for it to play music will group all Sonos speakers that have been selected as the Preferred Speaker for that Alexa Group and will play what you've requested.

If you only ask for one Sonos room to play music by name, just that room will play music.

Setting up Alexa Smart Home Device Groups:



Using the Alexa app, you can go into the Devices tab (last one on the right) and select the + at the top to make an Alexa group. Just assign it a name, an Alexa-enabled device, and then the other smart home devices that are part of the group, including Sonos speakers. Once the group is made, tap on it from the main Devices page to set your Sonos speakers in it to be Preferred Speakers. 

Please note, microphone enabled Sonos speakers can only be in one Alexa Group at one time for now, but the non-microphone enabled ones can be in multiple groups.

For more details, check out the Amazon article here or on our support page here.

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Thanks for the update Ryan!


Volume lowering done smarter using Alexa Groups
We've been listening, and are happy to say that with Alexa Groups, saying "Alexa" to any device with a microphone will only lower the volume of speakers in the same Alexa Group. Every Echo device you have will need to be in an Alexa Group to take advantage of this fully. Echo devices not part of any Alexa Group will still make all Sonos players drop in volume.


So with this feature, does it matter if your Sonos player is added to a group as a device (the 2nd section of the Alexa group) or if the Sonos player is setup as a Preferred Speaker?


Group Sonos speakers using Alexa Groups
Using Alexa Groups will cause Sonos players to group together. If you have an Alexa Group created already in the Alexa App, calling out for it to play music will group all Sonos speakers that have been selected as the Preferred Speaker for that Alexa Group and will play what you've requested.

If you only ask for one Sonos room to play music by name, just that room will play music.


Does it matter if the Sonos players were already grouped differently (active or inactive) in the Sonos app then as specified in the Alexa group you're targetting?



Please note, microphone enabled Sonos speakers can only be in one Alexa Group at one time for now, but the non-microphone enabled ones can be in multiple groups.


It looks like Alexa will allow you to setup microphone enabled Sonos speakers in more than one Alexa Group right now. Does this mean that if we do add to more than one group, only one of those groups will include the microphone enabled Sonos speaker in it during actual music playback?
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So with this feature, does it matter if your Sonos player is added to a group as a device (the 2nd section of the Alexa group) or if the Sonos player is setup as a Preferred Speaker?

Setting up your Sonos speaker into an Alexa Group with other Alexa devices will have the volume lowering affect just the speakers in that Alexa Group. However, we recommend keeping your Sonos players set up as Preferred Speakers for the group that they're in for the best experience, that way you don't have to use the room name anymore for issuing commands.

Does it matter if the Sonos players were already grouped differently (active or inactive) in the Sonos app then as specified in the Alexa group you're targetting?
Calling for an Alexa Group to play music by name should group all of the rooms in that Alexa Group together in the Sonos app. If you have an active group of Sonos speakers already playing music, the group shouldn't change with the current behavior if you don't call for it explicitly. For example, if you have an Alexa Group created with Kitchen and Living room as preferred speakers called Entertaining, and currently the Sonos speakers named Living room and Bedroom are grouped and playing music, the command "Alexa, play Tom Petty" spoken to the microphone enabled device that has either of those rooms as preferred speakers, will have the existing group start playing Tom Petty.

It looks like Alexa will allow you to setup microphone enabled Sonos speakers in more than one Alexa Group right now. Does this mean that if we do add to more than one group, only one of those groups will include the microphone enabled Sonos speaker in it during actual music playback?
If you're able to add them to multiple rooms, it should work as expected, microphone enabled Sonos players can only be the input device for one group.
Here's a for instance:

I have a pair of Play:5s in the bedroom, with an Echo Dot. For the "Bedroom" group, I made the Alexa Device the Bedroom Dot, and the Preferred Speaker the Bedroom (pair of Play:5's). Now my music plays over the Play:5s by default.

Now I also group the Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen together a lot. For this I made the "Speaker Group" group. I gave it no Alexa device at all, and made the Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen the preferred speakers. I can now play to that by specifying "Speaker Group" in the command. I'm going to create similar groups for "Upstairs Group" and "Downstairs Group".

This works well for my uses. Hope it gives others a hint on how they can get the results they wish.
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It looks like Alexa will allow you to setup microphone enabled Sonos speakers in more than one Alexa Group right now. Does this mean that if we do add to more than one group, only one of those groups will include the microphone enabled Sonos speaker in it during actual music playback?
If you're able to add them to multiple rooms, it should work as expected, microphone enabled Sonos players can only be the input device for one group.


I should have clarified this a bit. I am able to add a One or Beam based room to multiple Alexa groups as preferred speakers. I am currently not able to specify a One or Beam as an Alexa Device (only my Echos and FireTV Cube show up here). If I'm understanding you correctly, I should be able to add them here, and yes, it would only be usable once. I'm guessing either my Alexa app needs an update, or I haven't received a rollout yet.
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I haven't received a rollout yet.
Most likely, this. It's currently rolling out and should be live everywhere by the end of the day, but sometimes it takes a little bit longer.
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Thanks Ryan - I raised a query via support a few days ago as the grouping feature was being discussed on here. My observation was:-
Alexa - play BBC Radio 2 - plays through Echo Dot even though Sonos is default speaker
Alexa - play BBC Radio 2 from Tune In - plays through Sonos

This is the case for any radio station I have requested. I thought I must have been missing something in the settings.

Before this grouping feature I did not have to say "from Tune In" but did have to say "in Kitchen"
nA few days ago once Group set up I don't need to say "in Kitchen" but do have to say "From Tune In"

So is this now fixed?
TIA
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Here's a for instance:

I have a pair of Play:5s in the bedroom, with an Echo Dot. For the "Bedroom" group, I made the Alexa Device the Bedroom Dot, and the Preferred Speaker the Bedroom (pair of Play:5's). Now my music plays over the Play:5s by default.

Now I also group the Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen together a lot. For this I made the "Speaker Group" group. I gave it no Alexa device at all, and made the Bedroom, Bathroom, and Kitchen the preferred speakers. I can now play to that by specifying "Speaker Group" in the command. I'm going to create similar groups for "Upstairs Group" and "Downstairs Group".

This works well for my uses. Hope it gives others a hint on how they can get the results they wish.


Yes these are the use cases I'm looking at as well. One other possibility to consider, in a large room, you could theoretically place multiple echo dots around the room for better coverage of your voice, with each echo dot in it's own alexa group but with the same Sonos speaker as the preffered speaker (placed in the same room). I'm wondering it this might even work well for a backyard scenario.
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Thanks Ryan - I raised a query via support a few days ago as the grouping feature was being discussed on here. My observation was:-
Alexa - play BBC Radio 2 - plays through Echo Dot even though Sonos is default speaker
Alexa - play BBC Radio 2 from Tune In - plays through Sonos

This is the case for any radio station I have requested. I thought I must have been missing something in the settings.

Before this grouping feature I did not have to say "from Tune In" but did have to say "in Kitchen"
nA few days ago once Group set up I don't need to say "in Kitchen" but do have to say "From Tune In"

So is this now fixed?
TIA

In my case I find that I have to specify ‘from Tune In’ only for the BBC radio stations. Non-BBC stations play through Sonos without requiring it.
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Thanks for the insight PWT - I tried Absolute Radio and it played through the Dot. I will try some others. Not having to say "in kitchen" but having to say "from Tune In" doesn't seem to be an improvement - not that I was dissatisfied in the first place! - just thought I might be missing something in the settings.
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Thanks for the insight PWT - I tried Absolute Radio and it played through the Dot. I will try some others. Not having to say "in kitchen" but having to say "from Tune In" doesn't seem to be an improvement - not that I was dissatisfied in the first place! - just thought I might be missing something in the settings.
Try it with ‘Radio Paradise’ or ‘Jazz24’ as an experiment.

The BBC stations have some kind of Alexa skill that intervenes (annoyingly) with the Sonos skill flow. I suspect the same is true for Absolute Radio.
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I think you are right - I recall she told me she was enabling the BBC Skill (or absolute radio skill) and sending it to my Alexa App then started playing through the Dot. Good observation 🙂 - will have a mess later when I am home. Thank you
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Thanks Ryan - I raised a query via support a few days ago as the grouping feature was being discussed on here. My observation was:-
Alexa - play BBC Radio 2 - plays through Echo Dot even though Sonos is default speaker
Alexa - play BBC Radio 2 from Tune In - plays through Sonos

This is the case for any radio station I have requested. I thought I must have been missing something in the settings.

Before this grouping feature I did not have to say "from Tune In" but did have to say "in Kitchen"
nA few days ago once Group set up I don't need to say "in Kitchen" but do have to say "From Tune In"


I'll look into this one to confirm, however, I believe the difference is in what skill you're using, as others have suggested in here as well. When you issue the first command, "Play BBC Radio 2" Alexa is using your BBC Skill, and not the TuneIn skill. The BBC Skill is activating on that Alexa device, and not sending the audio to your Preferred Speakers. I'll let you know if I hear otherwise on this one.
I love the new grouping/ducking features Ryan. It's all working perfectly here. ?

It's such a nice enhancement, implemented in a very clever way to make both 'speaker grouping' and 'audio ducking' really easy for the end user.

Thanks so much Sonos & Amazon.. !!
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Ryan, one more question. If a Sonos speaker is currently playing TV audio from it's optical or HDMI-ARC connection, will the speaker duck as it would if it were playing a music source? Previously it does not, and I'm assuming that functionality hasn't changed since there was no mention of it.
Will this have any effect on the ability to play Apple Music through your Sonos speakers using an Echo Dot? I was disappointed to find out that with the new Apple Music skill, the Echo Dot will only play Apple Music from the Dot's speaker, and not using the Sonos speakers even when they are selected as the preferred speakers. If this update won't let you do that, will that feature require an update from Sonos or from Amazon?
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Thanks, Ken! I'll pass it along to the team.

@Melvimbe, nope, the home theater (TV) source will not lower in volume unless:
1. You're listening on a player that has Sonos Ones as surrounds, and that's the Alexa device triggered.
2. You're listening on a Beam, and that's the Alexa device triggered.

@DLew, not at this time. Apple Music isn't available at this time through Alexa on Sonos. When we have more to share, we'll let everyone know!
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In my living room I have been able to set up my echo dot with the preferred speaker as my Play:3. In the kitchen however, where my Sonos One is located I am trying to create a group called "Kitchen" but only my echo dot appears under the Alexa-Enabled Devices section. How do I get my Sonos One to appear as an "Alexa-Enabled Device" on the "Define Group" screen? On the Devices tab, when I click "Echo & Alexa" my Sonos One appears there.
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In my living room I have been able to set up my echo dot with the preferred speaker as my Play:3. In the kitchen however, where my Sonos One is located I am trying to create a group called "Kitchen" but only my echo dot appears under the Alexa-Enabled Devices section. How do I get my Sonos One to appear as an "Alexa-Enabled Device" on the "Define Group" screen? On the Devices tab, when I click "Echo & Alexa" my Sonos One appears there.

Darren, I pretty much had the same question earlier and it appear that the ability to add a Sonos speaker as an Alexa Device in a Alexa group is still being rolled out. We can expect it to be available today or soon after.
Thanks, Ken! I'll pass it along to the team.

@Melvimbe, nope, the home theater (TV) source will not lower in volume unless:
1. You're listening on a player that has Sonos Ones as surrounds, and that's the Alexa device triggered.
2. You're listening on a Beam, and that's the Alexa device triggered.

@DLew, not at this time. Apple Music isn't available at this time through Alexa on Sonos. When we have more to share, we'll let everyone know!


Ryan - thanks for your response. Just to be clear, I'm referring to telling the Echo Dot to play Apple Music, but to use my Sonos Ones as the speakers. I don't mean I want to use the Alexa feature of my Sonos Ones and make the music request directly to the Sonos. Your answer may still apply - I just wanted to clarify my question. Thanks.
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Thanks for clarifying, same answer still. You can use Apple Music through the Sonos app, but not with Alexa to start music.
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In my living room I have been able to set up my echo dot with the preferred speaker as my Play:3. In the kitchen however, where my Sonos One is located I am trying to create a group called "Kitchen" but only my echo dot appears under the Alexa-Enabled Devices section. How do I get my Sonos One to appear as an "Alexa-Enabled Device" on the "Define Group" screen? On the Devices tab, when I click "Echo & Alexa" my Sonos One appears there.

Darren, I pretty much had the same question earlier and it appear that the ability to add a Sonos speaker as an Alexa Device in a Alexa group is still being rolled out. We can expect it to be available today or soon after.


Thanks melvimbe
This is new? I’ve had a Dot grouped with the Play:1 pair as the preferred speaker for at least a couple of weeks now. What’s changed since then?

Note that while the sound plays through the preferred speaker for music services, skills like The Jazz Groove still, unfortunately, play through the Dot. Hopefully this behavior will be fixed sometime soon.
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This is new? I’ve had a Dot grouped with the Play:1 pair as the preferred speaker for at least a couple of weeks now. What’s changed since then?


I don't think all the features listed were available to everyone immediately, and Sonos wanted to wait until they could give an official statement about the functionality. As it stands now, there's at least one feature that is still rolling out.
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This is new? I’ve had a Dot grouped with the Play:1 pair as the preferred speaker for at least a couple of weeks now. What’s changed since then?


I don't think all the features listed were available to everyone immediately, and Sonos wanted to wait until they could give an official statement about the functionality. As it stands now, there's at least one feature that is still rolling out.

This is correct. Some of the features started becoming available in part a couple weeks ago, but not everywhere, and not everything.
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This is new? I’ve had a Dot grouped with the Play:1 pair as the preferred speaker for at least a couple of weeks now. What’s changed since then?

Note that while the sound plays through the preferred speaker for music services, skills like The Jazz Groove still, unfortunately, play through the Dot. Hopefully this behavior will be fixed sometime soon.


I had been doing this for a good few days too. The commands work from the Alexa App on my phone without the Dot.

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