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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257 replies

Ok, Ken, thanks; I will give the waiting time idea a shot. But I wonder why in the Balcony Spot driven group of two Sonos speakers, Bar Sonos is given the group leader role and not the Balcony Sonos. If that was not the case, perhaps this issue would not have arisen. And both are wired to core network units, so they are equal in that respect.

In general though, the Alexa groups feature is what makes the integration truly usable. One can very quickly tire of specifying target Sonos speakers in every voice command. Not to mention situations like when I said Shuffle my playlist Jazz in the Dining Room, Alexa said there is no playlist called Jazz in the Dining Room!
Another question. I have a Alexa group, playing balcony and bar as preferred speakers. Via a balcony spot that is in the group. All good so far with the short play commands, that do not need speaker or group naming at the end.
But when I command: Alexa play xxx in balcony, the music starts playing on just the bar, the exact opposite of what I desire.
And in the Sonos app, I see that the group has the bar as the first named unit, the group coordinator, which is perhaps the reason for this.
What am I doing wrong?

Kumar,

I think i may know the answer to this (not sure?). See below...

I’ve encountered this issue in the past and it’s something to do with the fact you issue the play command to balconly within 15 minutes of playing to the entire Alexa group. I think if you stop the music and wait 15 minutes, or longer, it will play to Balcony speakers fine. Something to do with how Amazon “times-out” its sessions.

Perhaps try the suggestion and see if it works for you.

I have found this a bit of a nuisance too, as sometimes it’s nice to play to the group then break apart the rooms to play to just one room. It’s clear that one room acts as the Alexa group controller and you have to wait for the session to timeout before you can then play to just one of the 'other' rooms. Maybe try ending the session manually, but I would still wait a while for Amazon to get the message.

At least that’s what I think happens ..!!
Another question. I have a Alexa group, playing balcony and bar as preferred speakers. Via a balcony spot that is in the group. All good so far with the short play commands, that do not need speaker or group naming at the end.
But when I command: Alexa play xxx in balcony, the music starts playing on just the bar, the exact opposite of what I desire.
And in the Sonos app, I see that the group has the bar as the first named unit, the group coordinator, which is perhaps the reason for this.
What am I doing wrong?
In an Alexa group with four Sonos speakers and the same ones selected as preferred, things don't seem to work well if some of the Sonos speakers are not powered on. Is this normal and if so, is there any workaround?
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Is there a way to utilize this Alexa enabled Group function and have Alexa trigger my harmony hub to run an activity? Specifically, turn on the AVR and set the input to CD so that my "Living Room" Sonos zone which is connected by way of a Connect, can be grouped to the other Sonos zones when I say, "Alexa Play Favorite X Radio Station?" I've tried several times to figure it out with no success.

Currently using Yonomi app and associated Yonomi Alexa Skill as a work-around and while that's working fine, I can't use voice commands to specify which station or playlist from favorites I want it to start. I have to specify one within the Yonomi app and it appears I'm stuck with that single choice with voice commands.

Did you sort this out okay?
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It’s only an issue, if you perhaps have device/room names that clash. My grouping here is working just fine with 19 Sonos speakers held in 11 Sonos Rooms, used/preferred together with a variety of different Alexa Enabled Groups.

Ensure you keep your device/room/group names 'unique' and it should all work just fine (hopefully).


I tried this before and renamed everything including my NEST thermostat but it didn't work. I opened a thread on this separately a week or so ago because of the same problem and I think I'm just going to have to forget all the SONOS devices from Alexa and set it up again (which eventually worked that time although not straight away). But this is about the 4th or 5th time this year and I'm getting really fed up of having to constantly babysit SONOS and Alexa.

But good suggestion nevertheless. Thanks
And ever since, grouping has been a nightmare with groups breaking on a regular basis and I have to waste my time trying to fix it.
It’s only an issue, if you perhaps have device/room names that clash. My grouping here is working just fine with 19 Sonos speakers held in 11 Sonos Rooms, used/preferred together with a variety of different Alexa Enabled Groups.

Ensure you keep your device/room/group names 'unique' and it should all work just fine (hopefully).
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And ever since, grouping has been a nightmare with groups breaking on a regular basis and I have to waste my time trying to fix it.
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Is there a way to utilize this Alexa enabled Group function and have Alexa trigger my harmony hub to run an activity? Specifically, turn on the AVR and set the input to CD so that my "Living Room" Sonos zone which is connected by way of a Connect, can be grouped to the other Sonos zones when I say, "Alexa Play Favorite X Radio Station?" I've tried several times to figure it out with no success.

Currently using Yonomi app and associated Yonomi Alexa Skill as a work-around and while that's working fine, I can't use voice commands to specify which station or playlist from favorites I want it to start. I have to specify one within the Yonomi app and it appears I'm stuck with that single choice with voice commands.
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Is there some way I can get the dot to play a radio.com station on my Play::1? It always plays it on the Dot’s speaker. I can’t get it to go to the sonos. If I say play an artist, it plays amazon music on the sonos fine without saying the room.

It seems in General, radio.com has been an issue. The station used to be on tunein and worked fine then it was moved.
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Wow, I can’t believe I’m 4 months late to the party!!! This is awesome!!! Way better integration and so much more natural!

So glad I checked my Sonos message inbox!

Thank you Sonos team!
So, I seem to have missed the following text from you

Just make sure you start the playback on each speaker from the separate spotify account (the accounts are usually held in separate 'Amazon Household' Family Profiles).

If I can do this, then my problems are solved. I am going to try to set up an Amazon family profile. One question: Could you please explain how I start the playback on each speaker from a specific account? Do I have to say "Alexa, play music from account A" or what?
Just as an example, when you install the Spotify accounts in the Sonos App you have to give each one a nickname .. example “Ken's Spotify” / “Monty's Spotify”.

“Alexa, play some music from Ken's Spotify”

“Alexa, play some music from Monty's Spotify”

If you go onto create separate Amazon Family Profiles .. you can say “Alexa, switch to Ken's Profile” ...(just as an example) this will auto switch Alexa on Sonos to use the 'Now' default Alexa and Spotify music account in Ken's Amazon Alexa App (eg. Ken's Spotify) so no need then to mention the music source in the utterances

Meanwhile the other speaker will need to be set to “Monty's” Alexa Profile ...

So without the Amazon Family profiles setup, you will need to state the nickname of the Spotify Music service as per the Sonos App.

With the Amazon Family profiles setup, you should not need to state the Spotify account nickname, but remember to set the different Spotify music service account as default in each users respective Amazon Alexa Apps.

Hope that all makes sense to you.?
So, I seem to have missed the following text from you

Just make sure you start the playback on each speaker from the separate spotify account (the accounts are usually held in separate 'Amazon Household' Family Profiles).

If I can do this, then my problems are solved. I am going to try to set up an Amazon family profile. One question: Could you please explain how I start the playback on each speaker from a specific account? Do I have to say "Alexa, play music from account A" or what?
Thanks again, Ken.

I already have the two different Spotify family accounts setup within the Sonos app and I have no trouble playing from them to the two different rooms using the controller. The problem is in trying to use Alexa to control both speakers at the same time.

you just cannot initiate two playback streams from the same Spotify account using Alexa voice control.

I think this is the primary issue. Even though I have the two different Spotify accounts inside the Sonos app, when I open the Alexa app, I can only link the app to one specific Spotify account. So whenever I use voice control in either room, it starts playing from this specific Spotify account and this disrupts playback in the other room.

I thought the solution to this would be to link each speaker with a dedicated Amazon Alexa account, i.e. so I'd have two "different" Alexas. Then within each Alexa account, I could link to the different Spotify accounts. The Sonos app allows me to do this - e.g. when I go to the Sonos app, Settings -> Room A under "voice services" it says "Amazon Alexa, signed in as User A". Under Settings -> Room B it says "Amazon Alexa, signed in as User B".

However, this isn't working. And this thread I came across seems to suggest why:

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/alexa-sonos-one-spotify-6819557

According to it, each Sonos account can only be linked to one Alexa account. Could you perhaps confirm if this is the case? If this is the case, then the two "different" Alexas approach is a non-starter. So this brings me back to Alexa Groups and my hope that they are the solution to my problems. However, I'd have to have a way for each group to have a dedicated Spotify account.. otherwise they will be trying to play from the same account. So unless I'm missing something, you can't use Alexa to play music from Spotify at the same time in two different rooms. Right?
Monty99,

So if you have two Spotify 'family' accounts installed in the one controller and 'household', then you can play music from one Spotify account on speaker 1 and music from the other Spotify account on speaker 2, both at the same time using Alexa voice services. Just make sure you start the playback on each speaker from the separate spotify account (the accounts are usually held in separate 'Amazon Household' Family Profiles).

Note however the Sonos App software in any case 'should' allow (separate stream) playback on both speakers from one Spotify account at the same time... you just cannot initiate two playback streams from the same Spotify account using Alexa voice control.

I hope that clarifies things a little better for you?
Thank you for your helpful answer and continued patience over my confusion, Ken.

The reason I’m posting on this thread is that the initial post by Ryan S led me to believe that I could put each speaker/bedroom in a separate alexa group and so when I e.g in room A say “alexa, play music” it would know (because of the grouping) to ONLY play music in room A and leave whatever is playing in room B (which would belong to a different group) alone.

This is not happening with my current setup - whenever Alexa is asked to play music in one room, the music in the other room (which Alexa in that room was asked to play) stops. So I can’t seem to be able to use Alexa simultaneously in both rooms to play music from Spotify.

Thanks for suggesting setting up two households. That’s my fallback option if all else fails. I’d really prefer to be able to use just one controller so thought I’d try troubleshooting that first.
In some ways what Ryan is saying is true aswell, but that is if you play your music from different audio accounts.

Using voice control, you can only play one audio stream per MSP (Music Service Provider) account... so you could actually setup two separate music service accounts, even from the same provider, or from another separate streaming service. This is a good way to achieve the outcome you’re after ... see this document link, which explains how to setup and use multiple MSP accounts. (See section “Adding Multiple Accounts for a Music Service)...

How to add a music service to Sonos

Note: the limitation applies to voice controlling playback from an MSP. The Sonos Controller App itself may allow you to play more than one stream from the same service at the same time and you can definitely play two separate streams (or more) from different MSP's....
Thank you for your helpful answer and continued patience over my confusion, Ken.

The reason I’m posting on this thread is that the initial post by Ryan S led me to believe that I could put each speaker/bedroom in a separate alexa group and so when I e.g in room A say “alexa, play music” it would know (because of the grouping) to ONLY play music in room A and leave whatever is playing in room B (which would belong to a different group) alone.

This is not happening with my current setup - whenever Alexa is asked to play music in one room, the music in the other room (which Alexa in that room was asked to play) stops. So I can’t seem to be able to use Alexa simultaneously in both rooms to play music from Spotify.

Thanks for suggesting setting up two households. That’s my fallback option if all else fails. I’d really prefer to be able to use just one controller so thought I’d try troubleshooting that first.
As I understand it, this is the exact opposite of what I want. I want two separate people (with two separate amazon and spotify accounts) to each be able to use Alexa simultaneously to play music from their speaker in their room without it affecting the other person. Wouldn’t they need to be in separate groups? Also: Since each speaker is linked with different Alexa accounts (so they can play from two separate Spotify accounts) would I need to create the same Alexa groups on both accounts? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this.I'm really sorry Monty99, if you have two separate speakers operating entirely independently of each other, then I don’t understand why you are posting here in a thread, which is entirely related to the “Alexa Enabled Grouping” of speakers... if you are not wanting to group the two, then simply ignore the Alexa grouping feature altogether.

I’m afraid you may have confused me initially, as to what you are trying to achieve here... Please note you do not have to group the speakers at all, nor use “Alexa Enabled Groups”, if you prefer to operate the two speakers independently of each other?

Are you perhaps not talking about “Alexa Grouping”, but really mean two independent and separate Sonos audio “household” setups instead?

If so, you can continue to use two Amazon Accounts and two separate Spotify accounts (these can be family accounts), but I would perhaps choose to set them up on two different and separate Sonos 'Households', on the same wifi network, each with their own separate Sonos Controllers, as briefly discussed in these few links...

https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/multiple-sonos-systems-in-one-house-41678

https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/multiple-households-6192685

https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/different-sonos-in-different-households-6739560

https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/splitting-sonos-system-into-multiple-households-27767

In real and simple terms, you just need to setup each speaker system with a separate Sonos controller device as though they are a brand new system, starting out for the first time.

To do that, one of your Speaker setups may need to be factory reset and setup again from scratch using its own Sonos Controller App.

Hope that helps you achieve what I believe you are looking for here.?
Monty99,

Yes the speakers need to be in the same Alex 'Enabled' Group and both must be set as the 'preferred' speaker ... if you enable the group in the first section with both speakers, then both their voice assistants will automatically control and group the speakers together and play. They should also 'duck' their audio when speaking to either device.


Many thanks for the quick response, Ken.

Maybe I didn’t explain my issue clearly enough. You suggest that I put both speakers in the same group so that they play together and “duck” when speaking to either device.

As I understand it, this is the exact opposite of what I want. I want two separate people (with two separate amazon and spotify accounts) to each be able to use Alexa simultaneously to play music from their speaker in their room without it affecting the other person. Wouldn’t they need to be in separate groups? Also: Since each speaker is linked with different Alexa accounts (so they can play from two separate Spotify accounts) would I need to create the same Alexa groups on both accounts? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this.
Monty99,

Yes the speakers need to be in the same Alex 'Enabled' Group and both must be set as the 'preferred' speaker ... if you enable the group in the first section with both speakers, then both their voice assistants will automatically control and group the speakers together and play. They should also 'duck' their audio when speaking to either device.
Hi. I just got 2 Sonos Ones and am having trouble getting both to play Spotify simultaneously using Alexa.

Setup: One Sonos account, 2 users (lets call them A and 😎 with individual Amazon accounts and separate Spotify accounts.

Room A has a Sonos One linked with Alexa from Amazon account A, which in turn is linked with Spotify account A.

Room B has the same setup, except that it is linked with B’s Amazon and Spotify accounts. Rooms A and B are separate rooms in the Sonos app.

Issue: When I’m in room A and say “Alexa, play music” it (correctly) starts playing only in room A, but when I then go to room B and say “Alexa, play music” the music (correctly) starts playing in room B, but the music in room A stops at the same time.

I’ve tried adding “... in room A/B” to the verbal command, but that doesn’t work. Would Alexa groups allow for this to work? Would I have to add both devices to the same amazon alexa account in that case?

Any help in resolving this would be greatly appreciated!
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It sounds like it might be best to get a closer look at the groups you have made. I'm wondering if there's an Alexa device that's not in the group or duplicate groups where that "Alexa, play some music.," isn't triggering a grouping command. That command should be sent if the Alexa device you ask is set up as the input of a group of Sonos preferred speakers, and if none of those speakers are currently playing anything else.

If that's the case, and it's not happening, I'd suggest that you contact the support team directly so that they can take a closer look at what's happening.
Thanks for the quick response. For some reason my setup fails when I get to your last step of “Alexa, Play some music”. When I do this. The group is not automatically grouped and instead music only plays on the individual speaker I had asked for when everything was ungrouped. What’s strange is that Alexa confirms the group was requested. In other words, if I state “Alexa, Play some music” from one of the dots in the group Alex responds “Playing station through Sonos”, or if I make the request from another Dot by stating “Alexa, Play music downstairs”, Alexa responds “Playing station on Downstairs”. So it seems like Alexa is getting the command properly, but for some reason the re-grouping never happens and the play back just uses the most recent individual speaker I requested.

Any other things I can try? Thanks again for the help.
Possibly a bug, perhaps? Maybe the Staff here will have a look at your Diagnostic to see what it reveals. Hope you get it sorted soon.?
Thanks for the quick response. For some reason my setup fails when I get to your last step of “Alexa, Play some music”. When I do this. The group is not automatically grouped and instead music only plays on the individual speaker I had asked for when everything was ungrouped. What’s strange is that Alexa confirms the group was requested. In other words, if I state “Alexa, Play some music” from one of the dots in the group Alex responds “Playing station through Sonos”, or if I make the request from another Dot by stating “Alexa, Play music downstairs”, Alexa responds “Playing station on Downstairs”. So it seems like Alexa is getting the command properly, but for some reason the re-grouping never happens and the play back just uses the most recent individual speaker I requested.

Any other things I can try? Thanks again for the help.
alwaysworkin,

I have an Alex Group called LOUNGE.
It has two Sonos Rooms 'preferred' called “Family Room” (stereo pair Play: 5’s) & “Fireplace” (stereo pair Play: 1’s)
The Group is 'Enabled” by an echo dot called “Echo Dot Back Room

With all speakers ungrouped, here is what happens (speaking to the Echo dot)...

“Alexa, play some music” ... the two Sonos rooms group together automatically and play some random playlist.
Alexa, stop” ... the music stops playing.
“Alexa, play some Music on the Family Room” ... the Family Room (Play: 5’s only) breaks away from the group and plays some different' random playlist.
“Alexa, stop” ... the music stops playing.
“Alexa, play some music” ... the two Sonos rooms group together again automatically and they all play some random playlist.

So it seems okay here, is there anything else that I can perhaps try to assist you?