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 11 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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When I spoke with escalated Sonos support last week, and we went through some testing scenarios where they could view diagnostics, they did acknowledge that there is apparently a problem with playing uploaded/matched songs from Apple Music to AirPlay-enabled Sonos speakers from within the Sonos app (this music plays fine on non-AirPlay Sonos speakers). I thought I had made this clear to the first Sonos support rep I spoke with; i.e., that this only happens on AirPlay-enabled speakers, but apparently that fact wasn’t noted. This new rep I spoke with last week did acknowledge this. So Sonos knows about it. Hopefully they are working on a fix. It’s possible that something Apple changed is causing this problem. If this turns out to be true, then it’s still on Sonos to handle it since the problem is with how this music doesn’t play on AirPlay-enabled Sonos speakers.

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Has this been solved? I’ve not experienced any problems since 2018 and since the latest Sonos app update I can no longer play music via Apple Music that was purchased via iTunes. This includes music purchased on iTunes long ago as well as within the last 30 days.

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I’m having the same problem. I’m an Apple Music subscriber, but also have lots of music in Apple Music that was uploaded/matched years ago via iTunes Match. Songs that were uploaded/matched no longer play on my AirPlay-enabled Sonos speakers (though they DO play on my older, non-Airplay Sonos speakers, like the Play:3). And when try to play the Apple Music version of the song, I still get the encoded error. 

I see in the forums that others have recently reported that same problem. So something has changed/broken, either on Apple’s side or Sonos’. It is rather frustrating

Userlevel 2

I’m having this same issue and it’s quite frustrating.  I have thousands of songs that are iTunes Matched.  I just invested thousands of dollars in a Sonos system for the house and it’s basically useless now.  Hope someone actually takes responsibility and addresses the issue soon.

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An update…. right after I sent the last post, I received an email from Sonos Support requesting a callback as this issue has been escalated. That’s happening on this Thursday. Hopefully this will help them make progress.

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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!

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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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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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Did they say this is a lossless issue? I have been having the same issue with my Apple Music library recently. Sonos skips half the songs in a playlist.  Thanks

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I’ve found a work-around YMMV.
The ‘not encoded’ error occurs when sending to any Airplay-enabled speakers. In my case this is all my speakers other than a stereo pair of PLAY:3s.
Context: I have a stereo pair of PLAY:3s, 1 Move, and 2 SYMFONISK Bookshelf speakers
    1    Ungroup all speakers (I left the stereo PLAY:3s in stereo config)
    2    Source of music: My Library (iTunes catalogue)
    3    Send the music to any of the Airplay-enabled speakers, encoding error occurs
    4    Send the music to the PLAY:3s - success
    5    Add in one of the Airplay-enabled speakers, now the music plays to that/those speakers as well
    6    Drop the PLAY:3s, music keeps playing to the Airplay-enabled speakers
    7    Stop all music
    8    Try to play that same album, direct to an Airplay-enabled speaker - works
    9    Try to play another ‘My Library’ album directly to Airplay-enabled speaker, fails, back to step 4

Here is a quick video showing steps 2-6:

 

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As I’ve noted, I can definitely confirm that the problem only occurs on AirPlay-enabled Sonos speakers. And if I start to play a problematic song to a Sonos group that includes both an AirPlay-enabled Sonos speaker and non-AirPlay Sonos speaker, the song does play on both. And if I ungroup them, the song continues to play on the AirPlay Sonos speaker. Interesting…. but not really a viable workaround.

The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get. Essentially, most of my Sonos speakers currently can’t play a substantial portion of the music in my Apple Music library (that which I uploaded/matched via iTunes Match years ago). That’s hundreds of songs. And this is a recent problem…. it wasn't this way prior to at few weeks ago. It’s on Sonos to fix this ASAP, regardless of whether it’s completely Sonos’ fault, or there’s something different in Apple Music that is causing this on Sonos. Either way, it’s Sonos’ issue to fix. There was a new release today (15.3), but that didn’t fix this problem. I plan to call support back to tomorrow to get an update.

I just called Sonos to report the same issue.  After being on hold for several minutes, the tech came back on to say that this is a known issue and that it is with Apple.   There are work arounds, he said, but they require dealing with each improperly encoded song - which would take hours for me as I have a large library.   Hopefully Apple or Sonos figure it out and quit blaming each other.  I’d like to get all of my music back!    I am just a listener, not a lyricist.   Not sure where that came from after my name!

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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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Glad I logged into this forum.  The teleophone support has been absolutely abysmal.  I am having the same problem(s) only I have NO airplay anything in my setup.  Just sonos speakers.   Furthermore most of my music is from CD rips and I have purched 0 music from Apple.  So the lossless element does not seem to be a factor… however, the erros are exactly consistent… “incorrectly encoded” and yes, the songs that I  know of, have been in my setup for 2+ years… but NOW they won’t play.  Furthermore they won’t even show up in Search after I do a music library update.   

I super miss the days when Sonos just worked.

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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I finally got confirmation from Sonos support that they acknowledge the issue and are working on it.  No dates or promises.

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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?

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.

 

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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.

This may or may not apply to other users, but we’ve managed a “work-around” by not using the Sonos App at all, and just playing our Apple Music from the Music App using the Airplay button. You can select the Sonos speaker using Airplay and it plays all our Apple Music, even the ones that Sonos refused to play.

I’m experiencing the same issue. Come on, Sonos…this has been going on for too long

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I’m in the same boat, but:

 

  • Only songs in Apple Music that are part of playlists I created have an issue (not all songs, some songs) - I don’t even get the “encoded” message anymore, but those songs are skipped (even though I can play them directly outside of the playlist)
  • If I go directly to those songs through the Sonos app (I’m not using Airplay), those songs play fine
  • When I stream from Airplay to a Sonos device, the entire Apple Music playlist plays fine
  • I called Sonos a month ago after sending diagnostics and was told it’s a cloud issue on their end and that they are working on it.  It’s been a month, and no change.
  • 15.4 came out today - I’m at the office, so I’ll see what happens later today
  • My work-around is to stream using Airplay and there’s no issue, but that’s not a fix - c’mon, Sonos!
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I’m on with Sonos now.  He tells me this is an Apple issue and they are aware.  I told him a month ago Sonos said it was a cloud issue on its end.  I also said that there cleave been similar issues with other music services through Sonos.  He just put me on hold to talk to another person.  So, they have no clue.  

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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.

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