Playlist limitations

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I am posting this after reviewing a lot of forum exchanges about the playlist limitations. 

I recently upgraded my home with four new Amps, replacing the Connect amps (though one is still in line).  It was my understanding that these new Amps were more powerful and robust, faster processors and so forth using the S2 app.


I get that Sonos and other companies are pushing people to streaming or serving to the masses who stream instead of using their own music (if they even own any). But I’ve been in the radio business all my life. I have 15,000 songs and just shy of 1,000 playlists. Some people have asked on the Sonos forums; “Why do you need so many playlists?” 

My response is; What does it matter to them? The fact is, I curate my playlists in ways that satisfy my tastes. For example, genres are broken into various categories such as AM Pop (Top 40 for your purposes), Classic Rock, XM, FM Pop, CHR and so forth as well as by eras (e.g. “1970-1975”), ratings (e.g. On top of the just named playlist, I might have 3-5*, 4-5, and 5*, so it might read “AM Pop, 1970-1975, 4-5*).   I might combine genres, eras, tempo, ratings etc., as well.  I have my music categorized further by “peak chart position on Billboard” so that’s even further ways of making playlists.  So let’s just allow that THIS user (me) has a lot of playlists.


The problem with Sonos app is that it has these limitations, (this was what I received back from Sonos support):

Maximum of 40k tracks per playlist (iTunes limitation)
Maximum of 40k tracks total imported to Sonos
Maximum of 1,000 playlists imported to Sonos

With this said, if there are more than 40 thousand songs in playlists, Sonos won't show any other playlist after this has been fully occupied. In this case, I can imagine that your playlists are more than 40K and that would be the reason of the remaining playlists to not show.

So if I have a song like “Beatles - Hey Jude” and it appears in 100 playlists, that counts against the total track count.  So this limit of 40k per playlist is not really an issue (except that one playlist would already meet the maximum number of tracks imported to Sonos.  Also, I’m not sure this support reply (which was escalated to this person, meaning it was a higher-up tech person) is correct. I read it was 65,000 tracks. 

Regardless, are there plans to allow for more to allow a user like myself to fully use his library of music and playlists?  I respect that Plex is there, for example, so I don’t have that limitation. That’s great, but what I like about the 177 playlists Sonos has populated under “Music Library / Imported Playlists” on my phone app, is they list the playlists vertically like;






and so on.  So if I want to go directly to a playlist such as “Rolling Stones Top 40 hits”, I can hit the “R” letter and go right to the R’s.  With Plex app on the phone, I have to scroll through and it’s a much more arduous task. Also, they list them with a set of album covers (four squares/albums to a playlist) so getting down to the R’s can take an exceptionally long time.

If Sonos has upped their game to allow hi-res file playback now (which I have many of), can they not fine-tune their performance to allow loading of tracks in such a way that it can work?  For example, just show the name of playlists as you do now but only populate the playlist when it’s selected?  Or somehow tag a song that is in one playlist and tie it to any other playlist so it doesn’t have to load again?  Surely there must be a way around this? 

This is not a question, it is a request or comment that there are users who have invested a LOT of money into Sonos and we’re still saddled with a lack of performance that Sonos should provide.  I’ve already been through a number of units, devices (e.g. docks, bridge, Connects, etc.) - the first go-round with the number of units was $3-4,000.  Now with five new Amp’s and another $3500, I still can only see 177 of my 934 playlists????  Seriously???  And I was forced off the docks (using multiple iPods to do my music) because of the change in support, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have my music play my playlists.

Sonos should not rely on Plex to provide the necessary tool to get users like me the performance we need.  Bravo for Sonos for at least having Plex there - so for that I am thankful.  But really, just like vinyl has roared back, there are a LOT more people with their own music who want a system/platform that can do what we need it to do and could care less about streaming.  I don’t want Apple music because they downgrade my Lossless files, and charge a monthly fee. Why would I pay $10-15 a month for music I already own??  Same with Amazon, Spotify, Tidal etc. (though at least all Hi-Res has some value).

If someone reading this knows how to maximize the system to get what I need, I’d love to hear about it. It could be that I’m not fully maximizing Sonos, but when a tech support person sends the limitations of the product, I don’t have any reason to think he’s wrong.

So Sonos, your product is great, but you can do better.  I’m hoping for a new, improved app, Amp or something that can handle the music I own and cherish - and have worked REALLY hard to curate and enjoy.


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But really, just like vinyl has roared back, there are a LOT more people with their own music who want a system/platform that can do what we need it to do and could care less about streaming. 


Unfortunately for you, this is simply not true.  The amount of local music streamed on Sonos is less than 10% and decreasing year by year.  

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I’m not sure you understand my point.  Vinyl has roared back. Certainly not to deafening levels that will ever show it to be a prominent choice among the masses.  What do you mean “the amount of local music streamed on Sonos is less than 10% and decreasing by year?”  Do you mean the music users own such as myself, versus streaming?

This plays into the marketplace and I won’t debate that.  What I am saying is, I own my own music. I have spent ages curating it and would never sit through streaming. Have you consumed an Amazon playlist lately?  Puke.  And it’s the same songs over and over, live cuts of hits, re-done versions that suck compared to the original, even by the same band, songs I’ve never heard in my life, etc.  I respect that you can make your own playlists on these services, but all I’m saying here in the forum is that you would think that Sonos could figure out how to provide me with the ability to “stream” my own music so to speak?  With Plex that you can add to Sonos, I can use all my playlists, so why not Sonos?  I get the “bandwidth” and whatever they’re doing to serve “Alexa” “Google” and so forth.  And bravo for allowing hi-res files to play.  Shoot, I’d like to see the data on those files that users actually play.  I’d be shocked if it was a lot, though things like Tidal serve that crowd. I’ve purchased a lot of hi-res music off but I listen to those in an entirely different environment.

And you’re right, I might be in that less than 10% who could give a shit about streaming.  But if you sell me equipment and tout what it can do, it sure would be nice if you could deliver on it (Sonos).  But I still think it’s a great product and I enjoy it a lot. And as I said, at least Plex is there to get me what I need. I just wish Sonos could do it because I like their layout better.

My fear is that one day, just like not support docks for iPods and so forth, the day will come when I won’t be able to enjoy my own music through their platform and that would be a damn shame. And I’d be upset - especially after investing thousands and thousands into their equipment.  

I was equating the vinyl analogy to people who prefer their own music to streaming. I wasn’t arguing the merits - or even data - supporting streaming.  I get that it’s huge.  Look, I’ve been in the radio business for my entire life, programming at the highest level, creating two massive online music research platforms for radio and record labels to get feedback from their listeners.  Behavior is constantly changing and products need to shift and adapt to stay in front of those or they’ll become irrelevant.  No debate here.  All I’m saying is that I use my own music and wish Sonos would give me a platform on their end (not Plex) so I could use it more conveniently.  

I digress. Thank you for your reply.

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I agree with this point. I have to use a work around to get my local iTunes library to play because of my playlists. With over 40K tracks, I’d have to hunt and peck to find what I’m looking for otherwise which takes some time using the Sonos app. Playlists would allow me to continue playing the music I currently have on my NAS without having to use workarounds. 

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Do you use Plex app within Sonos?  That should give you the playlists you need.  I spent months finally figuring out how to import iTunes playlists into Plex (not via Sonos, but with the Plex standalone web app) and used Synology NAS.

What I mean is Sonos knows exactly how much people stream music they actually own and store locally on a PC or NAS (aka local music).   It's less than 10% of all Sonos usage and is decreasing every year.

SONOS stores the music library index and Playlists in RAM and this is a finite resource.

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Once again, I'm not arguing the valid point you make on streaming. They are staying in front of (or trying to keep pace) with that obvious point. 

All I'm saying is that there are those of us who also spend our valuable money on their equipment and should be afforded the same respect as those who stream. I've already had to dump earlier investments in their equipment.  That's fine. Windows evolves.  Support eventually ends for a platform - but I could still use XP if I wanted, assuming the risks it carries. 

If they don't care about the dwindling 10%, then only make it a streaming product and quit taking my money for equipment and software that will eventually be just that - streaming only.  

And my initial post was really just a comment on wishing they would allow more than 177 playlists out of my 934 or so.  (And that's just my usage. It would vary greatly with someone else's personal music library. 

But again, Sonos is a great product and they do allow me to use the Plex app as a way to get around their lack of capability. But what happens if Plex goes away?  In one quick move, my investment in equipment and all I did to get my setup going would be ruined. 

it's a beautiful product that's amazing. If your figures are correct, then a good 90% are streaming and enjoying it. Good for them. 

But like those who still own vinyl (or are discovering it for the first time - or rediscovering it), or someone like me who has curated a great personal music library, organized and beautifully set up, I just hope and wish Sonos would stay cool for those of us who appreciate owning their own music and using it as they want versus paying a monthly fee indefinitely to stream.  And I realize these services offer free ad supported versions (or as Prime members get with that).  

Simply put, I like the playlist layout and usability of Sonos’s app as I said versus Plex on-board Sonos. That's all. 
And I do love Sonos or I wouldn't invest in it again.

And one final point was that Sonos support had told me that with the new S2 app, combined with the newest Amp, the playlist limitation would be a thing of the past. And that hi-res playback was available finally as well.  That isn't the case (at least for playlists) as I have discovered after getting all the new amps set up.  



It’s all about resources and ROI.  Sonos has a limited number developer hours to spend, and they seem to be concentrating on the 90% and increasing market rather than the 10% and decreasing.  In addition, those of the 10% who have playlists over the limit are by definition less than the 10% which is already a scant minority.

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My playlists aren’t over the limit as their stated limit is 1,000. Mine total about 934.  That said, it’s the repetition of songs in each playlists where the problem occurs which maxes out their other stated limits.  If “Beatles - Hey Jude” is in 100 playlists, that counts as 100 songs instead of just the one song in 100 playlists.  My thought is that there should be a way to count the song once, even if it occurs in multiple playlists.  That’s obviously a major hurdle or they would have addressed it years ago.  This was an issue long before streaming blew up in the marketplace, back when the 90/10 was the other way around.

I appreciate the 90/10 comment.  I get it.  I was making a comment only in being one user who bought more equipment under the hope that the much more powerful equipment - which can now handle hi-resolution files - could also handle more songs as it relates to playlists. The fact is, nothing changed. The current limitations are the same as they were long before streaming. So even with more powerful processors and years of research and development, they’ve still not addressed this.  And I concur with you that they likely won’t given the 90/10 point you make.  

For purists like me who love Sonos and what it can do, it’s just a darn shame that they haven’t been able to address that as well as focusing on the streaming world, along with Alexa type of capabilities.

Hey, Sonos is a beautiful product. Works great.  And they have given users a workable solution (Plex) but Sonos - in its native form (Library/Imported Playlists) - is nicer than Plex.

Thank you again for your input.

If “Beatles - Hey Jude” is in 100 playlists, that counts as 100 songs instead of just the one song in 100 playlists.  My thought is that there should be a way to count the song once, even if it occurs in multiple playlists.

But, but there must be 100 somethings that will take up space.

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I get that.  But code can do amazing things.  Like you said, they’re focused on other things.