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 8 months 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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The fact that Wi-Fi interference keeps being mentioned by support after this long of a thread of people seeing the same issue is frustrating. For me, this happens on the exact same songs, every single time. Others work perfectly fine. It’s 100% reproducible in my case.

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Hi @spaceman_spiff 

I refer you to my earlier post:

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.

My reply immediately before yours was in reference to @alfonsoluis’ report of seeing the encoding error with Amazon Music, therefore the most likely (but, technically, not only) explanation in that particular case is interference. In your case (looking at your even earlier posts), the most likely explanation is Digital Rights Management encrypting the contents of your older music files (for which, Sonos does not have the decryption key).

This thread relates to Apple Music/iTunes downloads in spirit, but technically it’s title shows it to be about the error message itself, so whether Amazon Music and TuneIn Podcasts are off-topic or not isn’t easy to say, but it is making the thread a little confusing, to be sure. So, please don’t be frustrated - I am not gaslighting you, I am just giving the best-chance-of-being-correct advice to particular people based on what they report. For you, the error would indeed be 100% reproduceable, and nothing to do with interference.

I hope this helps.

As a professional studio in Nashville I purchased an Arc, Sub and 2 ERA 300s for an Atmos playback system in a client room. The Sonos App will not play 25% of the library ‘encode error’ . Tried on several devices but the exact same songs won’t play. Since the ARC doesn’t do bluetooth the system was frustrating and many complaints. Fortunately I was in 14 day return period so back to Best Buy. Returned 3k worth of gear. The same issue happens on my Move with the Sonos app same songs but I can bluetooth in fine. Until Sonos can fix this there are lots of Nashville studios opting for other manufacturers like Bose etc. I love the sound of the ERA 300s but no, a single 300 does not deliver an immersive experience. Apple AirPod Max phones better immersively. If Sonos fixes this I may reconsider but will probably bought another system since they can’t seem to do so.

 

Hi @spaceman_spiff 

I refer you to my earlier post:

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.

My reply immediately before yours was in reference to @alfonsoluis’ report of seeing the encoding error with Amazon Music, therefore the most likely (but, technically, not only) explanation in that particular case is interference. In your case (looking at your even earlier posts), the most likely explanation is Digital Rights Management encrypting the contents of your older music files (for which, Sonos does not have the decryption key).

This thread relates to Apple Music/iTunes downloads in spirit, but technically it’s title shows it to be about the error message itself, so whether Amazon Music and TuneIn Podcasts are off-topic or not isn’t easy to say, but it is making the thread a little confusing, to be sure. So, please don’t be frustrated - I am not gaslighting you, I am just giving the best-chance-of-being-correct advice to particular people based on what they report. For you, the error would indeed be 100% reproduceable, and nothing to do with interference.

I hope this helps.

 

I appreciate this post! Has anyone found a easy process to identify and convert songs that are DRM in bulk?

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There is a definite issue on #spotify and sonos. Songs skipping.. going silent. Songs not encoded properly. I have been following this topic on various threads. Seems like the problems from other streaming service is less than Spotify.

#youtubemusic has terrible functionality integration with sonos app. Spotify has best integration functionality.

So leaving Spotify for #ytmusic comes at a cost of functionality.

None are taking accountability. Trying to deflect on the user's network. It's not the local WiFi network.

Taking my Play:3 out of retirement resolved the issue of Apple Music and playlists getting error messages and not playing. I now start everything I play from Apple Music on my Play:3 (hardwired to my router) then group in other speakers. 
 

This should be a priority for Sonos to resolve on newer speakers. 

This is a simple problem to diagnose, same as the rest of the thread. Older speakers without Airplay work fine, and AirPlay enabled speakers can be “tricked” into playing songs it wouldn’t before once it’s paired with the other. Can’t believe this is still an issue.

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was gonna buy 2 x new move - but this problem is driving me mad - seems if its an existing sonos playlist (large one) and even when started from non airplay sonos - skips ‘encode’ incorrectly’ tracks - so re do yr entire playlists then? ffs - this is really not good

I have upgraded just about all my speakers, but until SONOS resolves this issue, I am holding onto at least one or two previous generation speakers and starting all Apple playlists and AppleMatch music on the older speakers and grouping in the newer ones to it. It’s a little annoying, but it’s been working fine for me. I just keep the older speaker tucked away and muted. 

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Taking my Play:3 out of retirement resolved the issue of Apple Music and playlists getting error messages and not playing. I now start everything I play from Apple Music on my Play:3 (hardwired to my router) then group in other speakers. 
 

This should be a priority for Sonos to resolve on newer speakers. 

This is exactly right and how I have been avoiding the issue for months, well since the sonos app update broke everything. I can reproduce this error on newer speakers day after day with umpteen songs that now get skipped. It’s not interference, DRM, wifi issues or anything else other than the clunky, ill coded S2 app that’s at fault. Without streaming music providers Sonos have almost nobody to sell their speakers to, so I am truly appalled that they seek to blame all streaming services, without which their products have no purpose!  

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The recent update seemed to improve the streaming consistency 

I thought the problem had been resolved and removed the older Play 3. Went to play Amerca’s Greats Hits History, and it skipped the first song and gave the encoding error message. I plugged the old Play 3 back in, had that play the album as the lead and grouped the other speakers and it played fine. THE PROBLEM STILL EXISTS. 

Still exists

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FWIW, my Sonos devices are connected via wired ethernet (including disabling wifi on the devices) and the encoding error still occurs. I can confirm this is NOT a networking problem as there were no issues last year with the exact same playlists on the exact same network that no longer play.

As an example, a holiday playlist that is based off of iTunes Match songs that has worked on Sonos for as long as I can remember (since at least 2019 when I purchased the Sonos port to replace my Sonos Connect where it worked for years before). Now the same Sonos port can’t play the playlist displaying the ‘song is not encoded correctly’ error.


Maybe DRM is the issue on iTunes Match files? DRM is mentioned above, however this should be a pretty straightforward scenario for Sonos to diagnose - what changed that caused DRM’d files to no longer be playable that used to play on the exact same hardware?

A change on Apple’s server that feeds your Sonos the music data?

All of a sudden this week , the Radio Station (Talk Radio) started sending error messages Music not encoded properly. Unable to listen to the radio. Radio station is WSB 95 in Atlanta, 97.5. What happened? 

Have you rebooted both your speaker and router? What service are you using to reach this station? 

I would recommend that you submit a system diagnostic within 10 minutes of experiencing this problem, and call Sonos Support to discuss it.

There may be information included in the diagnostic that will help Sonos pinpoint the issue and help you find a solution.

When you speak directly to the phone folks, they have tools at their disposal that will allow them to give you advice specific to your network and Sonos system.

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A change on Apple’s server that feeds your Sonos the music data?

I thought the problem had been resolved and removed the older Play 3. Went to play Amerca’s Greats Hits History, and it skipped the first song and gave the encoding error message. I plugged the old Play 3 back in, had that play the album as the lead and grouped the other speakers and it played fine. THE PROBLEM STILL EXISTS. 

 

Thanks @Airgetlam for the reply! It is always possible something changed on Apple’s side. 

I tested @CambridgeZach’s method and can confirm the following:
1. On a Gen 1 Beam Soundbar, playing the holiday playlist fails with the encoding error. Same on my Sonos port, Arc, beam gen 1, and current gen amp.
2. On a Play:1 A200, playing the holiday playlist plays without error.
3. Group the A200 with the Beam Soundbar prior to starting playback, the playlist plays without error.

Next, I tested removing the A200 partway into playing the song.

Here is the setup: Group the A200 with the Beam Soundbar prior to playing, start the first song (starts playing on both devices), remove the A200, then test the scenario.

A- Perform setup, then let the track finish playing (tested with a 3min 31s song) - it completes without error. Subsequent tracks play successfully (listened to the next 10 songs or so).

B- Perform setup, then skip to next song - playback fails with the encoding error as well as subsequent tracks.

C- Perform setup, then advance the playback slider (same behavior whether it is 3s or 1min+) - playback fails to resume with the encoding error.

D- Perform setup, then hit pause, wait 5s, hit play. Playback continues and subsequent songs play as well. Same multi-song test as above, tested another 5 or so.
 

I verified that scenario A,B,C, and D with an A200 being in the group with the Gen 1 Soundbar resulted in successful playback/navigation without any issues.

 

Tagging @Corry P here as FYI; perhaps it is as simple as a specific encoding is requested when an A200 is in a room group? Certain user interactions cause the stream to be restarted, and when that happens without the A200 in the group an encoding is requested that is not available/invalid from Apple Music for that song?

The music I am listening to in this playlist comes from content that was uploaded as part of iTunes Match and is not available in the Apple Music Store.

Build is 75145120.

At least I have a workaround for the holidays. It was driving my family nuts that every time I left the house with my phone airplay would disconnect and the holiday music would stop.


I’ll update to the latest version and go through the process of running all these scenarios within 10 minutes and then submitting diagnostics and following up with support to share that detail in addition to the above repro.

Thanks!

Thanks @torsion13 for documenting the issue. 

Frustrating this still hasn’t been fixed, I remember speaking to CS nearly a year ago about the encoding issues. 

For me it’s all purchased music, if I get something from Apple Music via the subscription it always plays fine, if I bought a track from the iTunes store it’s unplayable, and this is consistent.

A track only becomes playable if it transitions from a purchase only to being available via the subscription, in which case it’ll start to work.

Not sure exactly how to fix this as it’s clearly not just a Sonos issue, as my car can’t play purchased tracks either.

OK, so I am having the same issues as everyone. I have like 100 Grateful Dead concerts in my itunes match library that do not play on my ERA100’s. This is INSANE. 

 

In order to do that stupid work around involving starting playback on a non-Airplay speaker then grouping in my ERA100’s, what older gen speaker can I get to do this?

 

Thanks so much! I’m such a novice to this and my heart sunk when I could not access my Itunes Match library. 

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You need either a Play1 or Play 3 if you can indeed pick one up second hand. I’ve noticed they seem to be getting rarer and pricier too!! Can’t think why Sonos?! 

Thanks so much for your response Gbiker. It’s really wild I may have to do this. I was so excited to develop this entire new sound system, only to be kicked below the belt. 

 

I found a refurbished Play 1 for $180. 

 

Do you have experience doing what I’m looking to do?

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Hope it provides a solution for your music listening Washufisi. Glad to help. Just wish Sonos were! I’ve invested well over £5k on speakers and this situation is so annoying and all they want to do is blame everyone else. To add insult to injury my 30 month old Roam died the other day having got stuck in sleep mode for no reason. Totally shot. Wont be buying any more Sonos stuff that’s for sure! 

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Sorry forgot to say that the solution works for me. Start playback on the old Play 1 then add in the air play speakers using the S2app. Turn the volume off on the Play1 if you don't need to listen to it. 

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