Sonos Version 6.4 Now in Public Beta


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Today we’re starting a new Sonos public beta and many of you will be getting a look at what’s coming next or reading about it. We’ve made a change that’s going to help you listen to more music in your home, but it’s a change nonetheless and it might take a little getting used to.

First, the beta details. Sign up at beta.sonos.com. As usual, it’s PC, Mac and Android - no iOS. It’s OK to talk publicly about this beta (version 6.4) only, everything else is still under wraps.

Now the biggest change (and what we wanted to share with you):

Tap any song once and it starts playing. Start with any song from an album or playlist and Sonos will continue to play whatever comes next, replacing your queue automatically. Listen to the whole playlist by tapping ‘Play All,’ or hit ‘Shuffle’ and mix it up.

You can still build your own track order and queues by tapping *** next to any song. Choose ‘Play Next’ or ‘Play Later.’ and build a playlist. Once you’ve changed what’s in a queue, Sonos will ask you before wiping out your hard work. If you make a queue you like, save it and it will be faster than ever to jump back in later.

Before now, this part of Sonos hadn’t changed in about ten years. But we’ve heard from many people who want a faster, easier experience that keeps music playing effortlessly throughout their homes. We spent months researching, observing how people use Sonos, and trying different options.

We’ve also been watching a growing trend. Streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play make it easy to get music playing with a tap and keep it going. Great music curation + streaming means it only takes a few seconds to find a playlist you’ll love and play it on your phone, why not at home? We wanted the Sonos experience to be similar. Fewer taps, more music.

It was important that we didn’t remove anything, so everything you could do before you can still do now. It’s just a little different, and we know that takes time to get used to. If you’re interested, join the public beta at beta.sonos.com and give it a spin.

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290 replies

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The only thing I'm missing is the ability to add one song to the end of the queue and play it immediately in one step. I don't mind if it's buried under the ... menu, but this is one function that I used regularly and will miss. Sometimes while I'm building a queue, I want to listen to a song as I add it. That function definitely helped me make sure that the song I'm adding is the one I want, especially in cases where there might be multiple versions of a song available.

Please bring back this functionality!!!
You can 'play next' or simply 'add to end of queue' using a long press on a track or by selecting the elipsis (...) and then go to queue itself and play the track without replacing the queue, but these things are not a single step as Mike rightly says. However there are lots of other benefits in the beta. I try to look for a glass that is 'half full', rather than it being 'half empty'.

I like the few improvements, but it is poor that they also removed longstanding facilities, needlessly IMO. This doesn't make me a glass half empty person.

The general aim of the upgrade seems to getting the music pumping with reduced clicks. The opposite happens where the queue is exhausted, but you want to retain the current contents of the queue.

You now need to:
* long press
* "Add to End of Queue"
* open the queue
* scroll down to find the new entry
* do it very carefully, so that you don't accidentally start something else playing
* tap on the 1st track of the new entry

I really hate this, as this is my new routine for almost everything that I play. There is no other way around this if you want to retain the day's queue.

It could be avoided in either of two ways:

1. adding a third button to the "Queue Has Been Edited" confirmation dialogue box. This third button would add the track or album to the bottom of the queue, and where the queue is populated, but currently idle, it would start playing from the new item(s) immediately

2. Or add a new configuration option to the vanishingly few already available. Something affecting the interaction between the Play button and the Queue, ie. Replace|Destroy the queue, versus Add to the queue and start playing from this new item(s) if the queue is currently idle.

Maybe the reason that these options weren't implemented is because they add complexity? However I think that they deluding themselves if they think that the new behaviours themselves are intuitive.

What is intuitive about "Play" also selecting the remainder of items in the album or playlist, where-as the other options in that menu, such as Play Next etc, just select the one track?

How is it it intuitive that if I place a checkbox alongside just one track in an album, and then press Play, it queues and plays multiple tracks?

How is it intuitive that if I add a single track to an empty queue, and then add another, the queue is protected (aka "edited"), but if I add a whole album, or a bunch of tracks via the new Play behaviour, to an empty queue, the queue is not protected?
The Queue concept is one of the best features for me and I have zero interest in a "play from here" feature. Unfortunately, it is very hard to ignore the beta's "play from here" because it is so aggressive. I can understand that early digital players wanted to emulate LP's, cassettes, and CD's because "play from here" was the custom and the physical reality, particularly for LP's and cassettes. CD players and changers allowed some level of "programming", but it was arduous. Since I am more of a single track oriented, rather than whole album person, the Queue worked well for me, it was liberating. The SONOS system set me free because I could easily build my arbitrary Queue (call it an "instant playlist" if you like) without needing to deal with the delays associated with swapping physical media, waiting for cassettes to slew, or CD changers to swap a disc. I spent many hours building custom tapes to accomplish this. I can clearly recall my initial experience with a borrowed iPod. Once I bumped into "play from here" and a few other "features", I simply handed the iPod back to its owner and never returned.

For those familiar with RPN calculators, while this concept is a frustrating enigma for many, it is intuitive to me. If you want to giggle while watching someone struggle with technology, watch me attempt to use a four function calculator. Practically at every other operation I expect to be able to pull something from the (non existent) "stack".

I can live with the beta PC controller because I can drag and drop single tracks on the Queue. On the Android I must use the three dots and either "Play Next" or "Add to End of Queue", then go to the Queue and manually select the track. This is a lot of work to simply "start playing this one track now".

I think that there should be a "classic" or "modern" flag somewhere. "Classic" retains the original user Queue philosophy.
I agree with Chris' disappointment.

From my POV it is a cardinal sin for the UI to allow me to accidentally interrupt whatever is currently playing.

This used to be possible only when the queue was showing on screen. A previous update improved upon that situation by having the queue folded away by default, out of harms way.

The new change has now introduced this exposure into the browsing experience (!), and has made it hair triggered.

And for what? .. To save some people one further click to start playing their selection. I really dislike the change. It is like someone has recalled my car, and I find that they moved the brake into the middle of the steering wheel, so that they can sell more cars to amputees.

The other thing which irks me is that Sonos was initially so keen to deliver simplicity, that they went too far (IMO), and didn't implement configuration options.

Now they seem to have lost this focus, and the UI actions are becoming overloaded. Play Next works differently when the queue is exhausted, to how it works when the queue is active. ... Three times now I have accidentally caused queued and completed items to be replayed; another thing which does my head in.

Play Now works differently in a search list, than it does in all other situations. I understand Ratty's and Ken's point, but it is confusing IMO. An accidental tap when scrolling in a search list is a mood killer, whereas you are protected elsewhere.

Rather than overloading menu actions it would be better if it sought further instruction in situations where there were choices. Maybe a pop-up a question saying "This Track Only or ALL From Here"? for Play Next in a non-search list situation. That would be better than Sonos making modal assumptions about what I want to play, and whether I am OK to interrupt something.
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Its not just that I'm using the mobile controller and fat fingering. Its just instinctively clicking on a song and I'm not always using my Sonos when I'm thinking about what I'm doing (I have been just clicking on the song for years now in search to bring up menu - I don't just stop doing overnight). I myself can teach myself to try and stop clicking on a song. However, visitors to my house I can't train like that. They are going to click on the song and stop the music - will happen and will happen a lot with the clicking interrupting the currently playing queue. I can't be alone in this with anyone else who has multiple users interacting with their Sonos. If it was just us owners then we could probably just "deal with it". The new methods for the Sonos controller are there to make it easy for a single user to interact and quickly play what is on their mind. In a multiuser environment with multiple people adding songs to a queue it is a very different situation.

I am not against the changes as some think. I know Sonos is trying to make it as easy as possible for people to quickly play the music they want and the new way is the way most people have learned to play on their mobile device with other apps (and will help sell more speakers with that familiarity - however flawed I think the method is). Its just a matter of some tweaks to not at the same time reduce usability for queue users. Refinement isn't there YET.
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Just installed the beta and here are some initial opinions:

1) The loading of the cover art seems extra slow and sluggish following the update. Cover art loading has always been sluggish in Sonos but this update seems to have made things worse. Other apps are great visually with much quicker loading of cover art. This is an area that really needs to be improved in the Sonos app. Sometimes the cover art fails to load, other times it loads and then subsequently disappears.

2) My initial thoughts are that I like the new playback options. It used to infuriate me that if I had been listening to say a playlist on shuffle and I went to an album with the intention of listening from start to finish (as the artist intended), a replace queue would start the album playing in shuffle mode. You would have to stop the music playing, go into the queue, turn off the shuffle and then tap the first track. Very long winded and cumbersome. This new update makes things a lot simpler. Just a simple tap of either "Play All" or "Shuffle" and you get what you want.

3) When in an album view there is a "..." icon in the very top right hand corner of the cover art for the old style options. I think this is a bit hidden away and I think it would be more logical to have this to the right of the "Play All" and "Shuffle All" button and in-line with the same icon next to each track. It would be a more consistent layout in my opinion.

Initial thoughts are that this is a good update, but I can understand why some people might not like it, as it's very different to what long time users of Sonos have got used to. I'm glad that we now have easier playback whilst still retaining the benefits of the queue.

I'm sure I'll have more views as I continue to use the new version.
The 'feature' of wiping out an entire queue based on clicking on one song of an artists catalog, is the worst thing Sonos has come up with. I have been using this system for 12 years and never have I been so frustrated. I hand the remote over to a friend who wants to look up ONE song to play and next thing you know, all my hard work of building the queue is immediately gone. Please FIX this Sonos!

For my own personal use of my Sonos system at home, I most likely would not need a padlock feature 'enabled' very often, maybe occasionally, but not all the time. Presumably, that would be the case for the majority of Sonos owners, who became real familiar with the new controller software and knew what they were doing themselves.

I think however, I would prefer a slightly more complex padlock system (behind the scenes), particularly for use with guests, like people at a house party, for example.

The reason I say that is, I would possibly want my party-goers to be UNABLE to do these things:

1. Unable to delete the whole queue.
2. Unable to delete a track (currently playing, or otherwise).
2. Unable to interrupt a playing track (So they cannot Play/Pause/Skip etc. nor use the Play-Now feature).
3. Unable to shuffle, nor replace the whole queue.
4. Unable to increase volume above a set limit (or maybe unable to alter/mute the volume).
5. Unable to tamper with the controller interface (i.e. delete albums, playlists, music services etc.) ...and unable to remove the controller software. (The latter is easily prevented in 'settings/general/restrictions' on any iOS device).
6. Unable to remove a queue lock, unless given the assigned password.

But... I would want my party-goers to be ABLE to do these things:

7. Able to perform a search across all Music Services and add a track, album or playlist to the queue, using either 'Play-Next' or 'Add to Queue' actions only.
8. Able to change the queue Play Order (but, if not allowed, the queue itself should become read only).

The list of 8 suggestions above, is not exhaustive, but just the things that quickly spring to mind and I probably need to think about some things in a little more depth. They are just off the top of my head.

It would be great to enable/disable all such things, with one simple click of a padlock icon within a queue.

So some kind of padlock for mainly 'guest' access, seems a reasonable idea to me, but despite my list above, it perhaps needs to be a 'real simple' feature from the end-users perspective... And of course the list of 'things' that such a padlock would perform, would need to be carefully chosen and acceptable in most guest-access type situations.
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Overall, I find the new behavior to be user unfriendly so far. The problem is that the behavior that occurs when you start a song playing depends upon state that is not immediately obvious to the user.

Have you modified your queue? Or haven't you? Do you remember? If you modified the queue, you get warned. If you haven't, it's gone.
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Problem is it is a polarizing issue. There were people like me who were happy old way. But those asking for play from now hat are happy now. For some reason Sonos won't allow personal choice where both groups could have been made happy (like as many had suggested a toggle in menu that the play option either played one song or from here).
I agree with you Buzz. The advantage of software is the ability to have random access to your preferred songs. Play from now reverts to a linear, hardware-driven model that is less flexible.
Sonos: please don't make the current functionality harder to use.

Cheers, Peter.
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It is better in your opinion. I would strongly disagree. I don't want play from now cluttering up my queue with songs I do not want
That's my view... I think it works just fine ...and i know Chris and others here, are saying things work differently elsewhere in the app... All I can say is that isn't true.

I don't agree.

L... to the best of my memory the old 'play' context menu feature in v6.3 interrupted what was playing anyway ... So I don't see the reason why people are now complaining about the interruption effect that the 'Play Now' feature has on the queue. .... [snip] .... If anyone can direct me to where there are other inconsistencies involving a standalone song and it's default (play now) action is different then I will stand corrected (again)

The production version protects you against accidental interruption of what is currently playing. Both the tap, and long tap, actions brought up the the Play Now, Play Next, etc menu, where you can make your explicit choice.

This issue has been introduced by the beta changes.

If I have searched for an album or artist or genre etc, it is still OK, as a tap just opens the item, and a long tap displays the popup menu. When the album or whatever has been opened, the currently playing track is protected by the new "edited queue" confirmation dialog box.

But if I have searched for a song, the tap action is now a hair triggered mood destroyer, as it starts playing the track, interrupting whatever track was in progress. This is unwelcome in my opinion. It is also to some degree inconsistent and unexpected, as no other list item tap has this destructive effect. I realise that the "Playing this will replace the queue" confirmation dialog box is a by-product of the fact that all other taps are selecting track selections, but the result is that in other circumstances a tap against an listed item cannot break the mood. In those other situations you have to do this explicitly by selecting a menu item.

Maybe I am OTT, but I think that the answer to the question "how often is it OK for the UI to allow accidental interruption of the currently playing track (or the forward queue)?" is the same as the answer to "how often is OK to drop the baby on its head?".

Neither case is of course acceptable, so I think the current long-press, or the ellipsis, context menu option, available in the current beta, would solve things for Chris. That could mean removing the 'Play Now’ default tap-action entirely from a standalone song and switching the 'Play Now' option over to the current context menu. This is only a suggestion by the way.

I can't speak for Chris, but it sounds like an improvement to me.

Some users said they expected it [Play Next] to add the selected track to the end of the queue, instead of inserting it at the 'focus' within the queue, but I think the latter was a much better innovative idea, as the queue could then continue on afterwards.

The "'focus' of the queue" explains away nothing. It is like saying "the driver hit you because he was drunk". It explains away, and forgives nothing.

And I don't think that it was in innovative idea. I think that it is a bug, or an oversight at best.

It is ok that the UI visually rolls the queue back to the beginning, as the user may elect to replay it. But Play Next's insertion point should still be at the end of the currently playing, or last played, track IMO.

The UI shouldn't deliver surprises. ie. The queue is exhausted. ... I select an album and Play Next ... I hear it start playing ... I see it queued ... all good apparently .... but if I scroll down to the bottom of the album, I see that it is to be followed by all but the 1st track of the old queue. ... Surprise!
I don't agree about the Play Now feature inserting the track as just being an oversight or a bug... Before, in v6.3 the 'Play' context menu option (to the best of my memory) added the chosen track to the bottom of the existing queue, the queue stopped playing the track it was playing (if any) and began playing the chosen last track added. The entire (remaining) queue was effectively 'skipped' by the 'Play action, just to play the one newly added track. Then afterwards the music simply stopped.

The new 'Play Now' feature adds the track to below the current 'focus' of the queue and so in most cases it inserts the track into the existing queue and plays it and then the rest of the queue that follows it is then played... So effectively the music just keeps on playing to the end of the queue.


Ken, its a bug. If it was a feature, it would have inserted the new material at position 0, so that the subsequent queue replay included the whole queue, and didn't skip track #1. ... What kind of "feature" would that be?

I guess whatever happens with the ongoing development of this beta, its nigh on impossible to please all the people, all the time.

Now that it is becoming a mature piece of s/w, and growing into other customer sets, maybe they just have to start using the neglected Manage|Settings menu option a bit more heartily.

It is good that you are getting positive things from the changes. There are some changes in there that I like also. With just a few configuration settings, and a bug fix 🙂, we could all be as happy as you are. ... 1-Click on|off would do the trick, although maybe Amazon would have something to say about that.
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Toggling one click off in settings is good idea to solve Chris's issue though I myself would never toggle it. But sure, implementing a switch in settings would solve the problem for anyone who finds it a problem.
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Lots of passion in this thread and on this topic as well, thanks for your feedback everyone. The design team is hearing your feedback from here, and also from the beta feedback forms, so please make sure to keep sending that in, I'm sure you all are already.

I think at the end of playing the queue, the 'focus' jumps to track position -1 and the queue is then ready to play again. So when 'PLAY NOW' is chosen, it inserts the new track at position -2 and begins playing.

This might just be down to end-user expectations? It is a good point though for further discussion.


I checked in on this and the consensus here is correct as to the cause of the "Play Now" behavior with exhausted queues. At the end of a Queue, the players switch back to the first song so that you can just hit "Play" on a controller or player to restart the queue. Because of the return to the first track, when you choose another song to "Play Now" or even an album or playlist they get added as the second track and beyond. But it builds a sort of playlist within the old playlist.

We know this can be a bit messy when you wind up waiting until after all tracks are done. The two features are working as intended, but in this case they could use a bit of fine tuning when working together. They'll be looking into it, but I can't say for sure if this will be changed at the moment.

The best ways around this would be to use "Add to Queue" and then start the latest added track you wanted. Otherwise, you could use pause on the last song instead of letting it finish, but that isn't exactly a good solution. With the new design, the Sonos Queue is generally more fluid and temporary than previously.

Yes a one-click off toggle in settings and the controller is fine - forces the > menu to always be used which is what the old version was (just that clicking action brought up that menu previously - which is hard habit to break instinctively)

One click has been tailored for the new method - just make an advanced setting option to turn off one click and I think all would be fine clicking on the > instead of the song name and pretty much is the same as old version then. No one would then accidentally click on song and get the pop up warning or have music stop.

Ryan can you pass that along (although I know they hate user definable options).


You got it, I'll pass it on for you. Generally definable options aren't the direction the team likes to go. Keeping everything on the same settings helps with a lot of facets, from troubleshooting to testing, along with making sure your friends with Sonos know how to use yours.
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Yea no need for passcode or anything. Just a lock to keep people from doing something unintentional. The lock just effect the election screens not manipulation of the queue screen itself. I guess delete queue should be disabled though on queue screen with lock on.
I just downloaded the new beta download, lost my room settings and nothing the beta download was suppose to do works. Was wondering what my next step is

Are you using an iOS device? There isn't a version of the Sonos beta controller for iOS devices. The new options and all your settings are available on Android, Mac, and Windows PCs.


So if you, because of pure excitement, installed the beta and lost the room settings, your just out of luck?? I only have iOS products. I'm not about to start up my MacBook every time I want to change something in settings, which happens quite often! What to do then? And please fix the general dropout problem with the new Play 5 gen 2.
Likely, I'll be using the desktop interface from here on. Android is simply too much "work" for me. I haven't yet seen the iOS interface, but I assume that it is similar.

Yes, I much prefer the desktop IF, too... It's a shame that Sonos screwed it up on android from 5.x, but nothing much that we can do about it... I dread them 'improving' the desktop version, though...
I just downloaded the new beta download, lost my room settings and nothing the beta download was suppose to do works. Was wondering what my next step is

Are you using an iOS device? There isn't a version of the Sonos beta controller for iOS devices. The new options and all your settings are available on Android, Mac, and Windows PCs.


So if you, because of pure excitement, installed the beta and lost the room settings, your just out of luck?? I only have iOS products. I'm not about to start up my MacBook every time I want to change something in settings, which happens quite often! What to do then?


Remove yourself from the beta program (can't believe we're back to this again so soon...), update the app and it will go back to the current release version.

And please fix the general dropout problem with the new Play 5 gen 2.


There isn't a "general dropout problem" with the new play:5, you have network issues, sort those out.
I just downloaded the new beta download, lost my room settings and nothing the beta download was suppose to do works. Was wondering what my next step is

Are you using an iOS device? There isn't a version of the Sonos beta controller for iOS devices. The new options and all your settings are available on Android, Mac, and Windows PCs.


So if you, because of pure excitement, installed the beta and lost the room settings, your just out of luck?? I only have iOS products. I'm not about to start up my MacBook every time I want to change something in settings, which happens quite often! What to do then?


Remove yourself from the beta program (can't believe we're back to this again so soon...), update the app and it will go back to the current release version.

And please fix the general dropout problem with the new Play 5 gen 2.


There isn't a "general dropout problem" with the new play:5, you have network issues, sort those out.


Haha, can't believe you don't know about the dropout issue that is actually there mate. Sonos admits this, soooo!! That's why I'm awaiting in excitement, cause it's annoying as heck when watching movies and listening to music 😉 My network connection is btw most excellent... unfortunately, I can't find the option to remove myself from the beta program. At least not on my MBP 😞
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I would like the padlock for my own use not just when guests around. I would find it very useful - I don't have any issue with queue being changeable from the queue screen when locked other Than disabling delete queuei. Anyone manipulating there is doing it on purpose.
I just downloaded the new beta download, lost my room settings and nothing the beta download was suppose to do works. Was wondering what my next step is

Are you using an iOS device? There isn't a version of the Sonos beta controller for iOS devices. The new options and all your settings are available on Android, Mac, and Windows PCs.


So if you, because of pure excitement, installed the beta and lost the room settings, your just out of luck?? I only have iOS products. I'm not about to start up my MacBook every time I want to change something in settings, which happens quite often! What to do then?


Remove yourself from the beta program (can't believe we're back to this again so soon...), update the app and it will go back to the current release version.

And please fix the general dropout problem with the new Play 5 gen 2.


There isn't a "general dropout problem" with the new play:5, you have network issues, sort those out.


Haha, can't believe you don't know about the dropout issue that is actually there mate. Sonos admits this, soooo!! That's why I'm awaiting in excitement, cause it's annoying as heck when watching movies and listening to music 😉 My network connection is btw most excellent... unfortunately, I can't find the option to remove myself from the beta program. At least not on my MBP :(


Got it 😉
Kg - I totally agree that there are many benefits. I'm just pointing out that one function is currently missing and shouldn't be hard to add, especially considering in the space of a few hours 3 (out of probably not many) have already raised it.

That's fair enough nicka99, my comments were not really aimed at any individual, I was just suggesting that all users could take a more balanced and fair approach and not predominantly state the things they don't like, but to also maybe highlight the things they do like in the new beta, so that the Sonos developers could get a greater understanding of what the majority of end-users really want.

I think it must help them, if we mention the good things and not just focus entirely on the negative aspects. I can see some benefits already in the new beta as I have mentioned in my post above, but I also can see Mike's point of view about no longer being able to play a single track easily, in one step.
Once customisation creeps into an app, it can eventually change things beyond recognition, the proof of that is evident in the Windows Operating system and many other Microsoft products.

I don't agree. Try switching media types, from music to video. Turn on your TV set, and open the menu. If yours is anything like mine, there are a myriad of options in there. I don't understand them all, but if I had a usability issue with some aspect of the TV I would be on top of the options in the associated menu branch.

Sonos have moved into a new mass market, and the customer sets have conflicting needs & priorities. So they now have the same challenges as a TV manufacturer. The technical representative of my TV set is more likely to be able to say "Yes we can address that, just adjust the xyz option in the menu". ... It is a level of customer service which Sonos can't offer. They make changes to the behaviours of the play menu, or the mute button, for some new customer set, and force the change on everyone regardless of whether it suits them.

However, I also like to side with Sonos in many respects, who clearly want their all-in-one controller to work in the exact same way on every single mobile and tablet, in every home. The idea being, a Sonos user can then go to anyones audio system, during a party for example, and it will operate the same way for all, just as if it were their own controller and they will immediately be able to take 'control' and play music, without having to think about it and without any adjustment to the software settings.

The cost of this tiny, tiny edge case of advantage, is that long term users are suddenly temporary strangers to their own equipment. I know that we can all learn to work around the changes, but it is galling when the change is sub-optimal for own use case, just because Sonos can't be bothered allowing configuration options.
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I haven't tried the beta yet, but I really think there should be a classic mode setting for people who don't like the iTunes style playback.