Unable to play song ‘song’ - the song is not encoded correctly. Issue since 15.2


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Since the 15.2 release there is quite a few songs that display this error when trying to play them.  These seem to be mainly songs that are not lossless.  They were purchased over time from Apple Music.  They will still play if I use the Apple Music app, but they will no longer play from Sonos app.  I suspect some lossy codex broke with latest release. Occurs with all my Sonos products.

Is this a known issue? 

Corry P 1 year ago

Hi @The Etron 

Thank you for reporting the issue with TuneIn Podcasts - we were able to replicate the problem and are now investigating.

 

For everyone else, please note that there are multiple reasons for the “not encoded correctly” error occurring:

  • Apple Music used to (years ago) provide music tracks with Digital Rights Management (DRM), which results in Sonos being unable to play them. Re-downloading those specific tracks would be the only way to fix this. Other sources may have done the same.
  • Failed WiFi transmissions can also cause this error. Our support team can identify if/where this is happening and assist.
  • Actual errors in the files themselves can also cause this error - if this is the case, the same files will produce the error each time, and probably at the same point. Again, replacing the files will be the only way to resolve. Most likely to be seen with Music Library rather than with music services.

I recommend each of you get in touch with our technical support team who have tools at their disposal that will allow them to give you advice specific to your Sonos system and what it reports.

I hope this helps.

Edit: I should add that if there were an issue with our software rather than encoding/transmission issues, we would also need to you get in touch to have the issue documented and investigated.

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Did you submit a diagnostic, and call in to Sonos support? There is certainly more than one possible reason for this, but either way, it may be helpful to provide Sonos additional hard data to look at. 

Not yet. I’ve only just started trying to look into it. I will do this and open a support ticket or whatever they have.

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After emailing the CEO, I was contacted by an L3 Engineer.   He said it started with 15.2 but is telling me that it’s a network issue and it a problem with the group I initially started with.  Of course, it’s not a zone grouping issue and it’s not a network issue - I have a solid Orbi network that hasn’t been changed in years and I have a Sonos Boost.  I think they have no idea how to fix the issue.  Seriously, I may order the Nakamichi Dragon and find another way to listen to my music in different rooms. 

Any talk of networks is BS. I’m a network engineer and my home network is all Ubiquiti hardware with most Sonos devices hardwired. I’ve got a range of Sonos, old and new. The workaround of adding an older non-airplay Sonos into the group works 100% consistently for me (in my case it’s an old connect). There is no way it can be network. I have literally tested everything in depth on my network. Music source is Apple Music btw.

After emailing the CEO, I was contacted by an L3 Engineer.   He said it started with 15.2 but is telling me that it’s a network issue and it a problem with the group I initially started with.  Of course, it’s not a zone grouping issue and it’s not a network issue - I have a solid Orbi network that hasn’t been changed in years and I have a Sonos Boost.  I think they have no idea how to fix the issue.  Seriously, I may order the Nakamichi Dragon and find another way to listen to my music in different rooms. 

It’s just remarkable that Sonos has let this go on for so long.

 

Their support has been almost worthless since the off-shored it… How they don’t know about this problem when you call them is astounding… or would be, if Sonos had kept their support on-shore with people who actually used their products.

I have the same problem with YouTube music. The whole system is hardwired so it seems ridiculous it is a network issue. I'm guessing they can't reproduce it.

Same problem here. Works fine on some Sonos apparatus , but not on others , so definitely a Sonos problem, rather than Apple or Wi-Fi. But seems to be taking months to resolve. 

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I continue to get this error on Apple Music and YouTube Music.

 

it happens on single speakers, paired speakers and multi speaker TV setups.

 

it happens on all 15 of my speakers.

 

it is ongoing for a couple months with no fix happening.  

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Here’s the latest I recd from Sonos:

”The issue discovered with 15.2 is an Apple issue. It's something they put in a temporary fix for in late March, and have a permanent fix planned later this year. Again, this issue is a very specific issue that effects uploaded tracks, and always effects those same tracks.”

So Sonos rolls out an upgrade that breaks Apple Music playlists and it’s an Apple problem?   The songs play fine in Apple Music from the Sonos app except if you play them from an Apple playlist in the Sonos app  

 

 

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You know where I don’t have a problem is playing music on my HomePod… so strange that Apple is the problem.

You know where I don’t have a problem is playing music on my HomePod… so strange that Apple is the problem.

The HomePod linked to your AppleID is not a 3rd Party device - it would play your Apple DRM protected tracks anyway, if indeed that is the issue that’s causing these error messages.

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I don’t even have a HomePod.  This is happening to me on YouTube as well so I don’t accept that this is an apple thing unless it has to do with iOS Sonos app

I've been having this issue for the last 2-3 weeks. I use YouTube music (either from my Android phone or Google home assistant). So the problem doesn't seem to be with Apple/iOS... 

I've been having this issue for the last 2-3 weeks. I use YouTube music (either from my Android phone or Google home assistant). So the problem doesn't seem to be with Apple/iOS... 

I ‘think’ there are perhaps also other reasons why the same error message shows aswell, such as occasions when the playing audio buffer empties and the device skips to the next track. So maybe try a different WiFi/SonosNet channel (depending on what your speaker is using) and see if that maybe resolves the issue.

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Here’s the answer from the Level 3 Engineee at Sonos, which means Apple has to figure this out. 

“Apple returns an invalid identifier for tracks that have been uploaded. It's part of the support for Atmos formatted music which was launched with 15.2. Before 15.2 the Sonos products weren't checking for this identifier, so the error didn't occur. Not all Sonos products can support Atmos, which is why not all Sonos products were affected.

Apple tags tracks in their catalog correctly, which is why you get a playback failure with the uploaded track your playlist is pointing to, but searching for the same track in the catalog plays fine.”

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… so then I tested something. When I tried to play the Beatles, let it be album through the Sonos app and the Apple Music app within the Sonos app. I will get the encoding error on most of the songs. I deleted the album from my Apple Music app, and re-added it. I then went to the Sonos app, opened up the Apple Music app within the Sonos app, and tried to play the songs on the album. They all play perfectly well. So it seems like there may have been some re-tagging by Apple that works well with Sonos when you add the music to your library now, but anything added before Sonos 15.2 doesn’t have updated tags. I don’t know if that’s the right terminology but my test seems to prove that deleting an album you had before 15.2 and re-adding it in Apple Music fixes the problem. There’s no way I’m going to do that for every single album and re-create every single playlist. 

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Happening to me as well. Apple Music playlist initiated from the Sonos App. I find numerous songs skipped for the reported “encoding error”. 
 

Sonos can’t figure this out and provide a fix? Disappointing. 
 

Edit: Starting the playlist from Apple Music and Airplaying to the Sonos speaker appears to overcome the problem- at least with the one song I’ve tried this far. I hope Sonos isn’t satisfied with this as a solution. 

I don’t quite understand the delete from your library and redownload fix. With iTunes Match in the Cloud, I rarely have these songs locally at all. Like on my iPhone, I have very few of the Beatles songs downloaded. Some of them play fine on Sonos from a playlist I created, but some have the encoding error. I can even start playing from the Sonos app on my Android phone or Mac or ChromeBook and have the same problem and none of them have these songs downloaded. Am I misunderstanding something?

I don’t quite understand the delete from your library and redownload fix. With iTunes Match in the Cloud, I rarely have these songs locally at all. Like on my iPhone, I have very few of the Beatles songs downloaded. Some of them play fine on Sonos from a playlist I created, but some have the encoding error. I can even start playing from the Sonos app on my Android phone or Mac or ChromeBook and have the same problem and none of them have these songs downloaded. Am I misunderstanding something?

It’s not a delete / re-download. It’s a delete from your library and re-add to your library. And have fun doing that on all your albums. 

I don’t quite understand the delete from your library and redownload fix. With iTunes Match in the Cloud, I rarely have these songs locally at all. Like on my iPhone, I have very few of the Beatles songs downloaded. Some of them play fine on Sonos from a playlist I created, but some have the encoding error. I can even start playing from the Sonos app on my Android phone or Mac or ChromeBook and have the same problem and none of them have these songs downloaded. Am I misunderstanding something?

It’s not a delete / re-download. It’s a delete from your library and re-add to your library. And have fun doing that on all your albums. 

Got it. But if I delete the song from my library, aren’t I deleting the fact that I ever owned it and ripped it and then downloading it back down through the streaming subscription and thus don’t own it if I ever cancel that?

Got it. But if I delete the song from my library, aren’t I deleting the fact that I ever owned it and ripped it and then downloading it back down through the streaming subscription and thus don’t own it if I ever cancel that?

If you perhaps try it in iTunes Music with just one track only to begin with, you will see that you are removing the local copy and then replacing it with a DRM-free copy from the iCloud servers. Simply backup your local copy, if you are concerned.

Once you have tested the process with one track, you can go into delete all those tracks you have held in the iCloud as perhaps one huge batch and similarly remove/download the tracks in one fell swoop.

I recall doing this task some years ago, it was a case of leaving the PC running overnight etc. until all tracks had been replaced. Just to say I used an iTunes Match annual subscription - that was required all those years ago. See link: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204146 

I’m not too sure what the current position is these days, I suspect that add-on annual subscription is no longer needed🤔? …I haven’t used iTunes Match for a good many years.

Hope that assists.

Got it. But if I delete the song from my library, aren’t I deleting the fact that I ever owned it and ripped it and then downloading it back down through the streaming subscription and thus don’t own it if I ever cancel that?

If you perhaps try it in iTunes Music with just one track only to begin with, you will see that you are removing the local copy and then replacing it with a DRM-free copy from the iCloud servers. Simply backup your local copy, if you are concerned.

Once you have tested the process with one track, you can go into delete all those tracks you have held in the iCloud as perhaps one huge batch and similarly remove/download the tracks in one fell swoop.

I recall doing this task some years ago, it was a case of leaving the PC running overnight etc. until all tracks had been replaced. Just to say I used an iTunes Match annual subscription - that was required all those years ago. See link: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204146 

I’m not too sure what the current position is these days, I suspect that add-on annual subscription is no longer needed🤔? …I haven’t used iTunes Match for a good many years.

Hope that assists.

Good point. I think I still have that iTunes Match subscription and, if something goes wrong, I can always restore the “ownership” from my local backup copy like you suggested, I guess. 

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As I’ve posted above, I’ve been dealing with a Level 3 Supervisor at Sonos.  His latest comment:  

 

It's definitely an issue on Apple's end. Our content partner team has regularly meetings with major content partners. We track all of these cases that we get, and present that information to Apple. When they will fix it we can't say, because the fix isn't under our control.

Well, I have the same issue with Amazon Music. It happens randomly but I was able to capture the sonos app screen.

So I don't think this is an Apple issue.

I have a very stable wifi connection that I usually use for gaming. But this happens even when no one is using the network intensely. Even is that's the case, I think if you need to be very carefull with the type of network you use to be able to enjoy the experience that should be like a deal breaker for a lot of folks.

But the thing is that I am consdering returning my Era 300 because of this issue. Even if direct BT connection solves the issue, is not the same quality that directly with the app.

 

 

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Hi @alfonsoluis 

In all likelihood, you are seeing those errors due to Wi-Fi interference.

A read of our Reducing wireless interference page may help you track down the source of the issue, but I recommend you get in touch with our technical support team who have tools at their disposal that will allow them to give you advice specific to your Sonos system and what it reports, if it does not.

I hope this helps.

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