Sonos goes bankrupt! What then?


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I'm looking at the possibility of setting up a Sonos surround system upstairs and downstairs as well as Play:5's for music in different areas of the house. This is a lot of money. My concern these days with technology is that it seems to have a shelf life of max 5 years and then it is considered throw away. You used to be able to buy a expensive set of speakers that would keep their quality sound for 20 years. To prove this, all you have to do is go to any high end stereo store that sells old high end systems. Amazing sound!

I'm in the financial industry and I've learned over the years that even the good companies don't always last. Their products though should still be usable. What I would like to know, if Sonos, for whatever reason, goes bankrupt. What is the implication for my system? I know that there would no longer be any updates for the software, but would the system still function as it did at the moment that Sonos no longer existed?

I tried searching this on these forums and I was quite surprised to not find an answer to this.

37 replies

Userlevel 1
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Not even Sonos is able to give a final answer to this hypothetical bankrupt scenario. No one can foreknow the future.


Of course they can: the Sonos App relies on the authentification on Sonos web servers. They go down, for whatever reason, the user will not able to set up an account and thus add hardware to it.
Should the account be already existing and the App logged in at least once, they maybe the user would have a chance to continue to use the hardware... (I never tried to see how long my Sonos App would work without live internet connection...
Of course we do not know what would happen if Sonos should go bankrupt: maybe a white knight would buy back the assets and maintain the infrastructure that allow people to log in and set up their hardware. Or maybe the buyer would knot care and buy only the patents and other valuable assets, without a second guess for the existing users.
So the reasonable thing to envisage when we buy Sonos, is that should things go wrong, we could end losing the ability to use the hardware.
As for the streaming service, I do not care too much as I listen only NAS shared music...
That being said, I am quit confident with Sonos, they have been in the business for quite a while and they offer good performance, reliable and affordable solution. So I am buying....
Back to the question: will I be able to use my Sonos speakers if by bad luck the company should go bankrupt?
Not even Sonos is able to give a final answer to this hypothetical bankrupt scenario. No one can foreknow the future.
Userlevel 1
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Question is not fully answered.
My jawbone 24UP is perfectly fine but I can’t set it up anymore because Jawbone went bankrupt and since we need to authentificate to a web server to finalize the setup, the hardware is now useless.
Nokia, Polaroïd, Lehman Brothers, Arthur Andersen... big names falling down are not unknown and just theoritical.
Back to the question: will I be able to use my Sonos speakers if by bad luck the company should go bankrupt?
To set up the speaker, we need to have a running app, with an account logged in. I guess that if no server to authentificate to, the setup of the Sonos system is impossible. Hardware is bricked.
For existing setup I guess we can run as long as we do not need to reinstall the Sonos app.
Userlevel 6
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What. You can do what you want using a Sonos connect or the Line in on a Play 5. Nothing closed about it. Seems easy to me, although the tough bit is spending the money 😃 I'm still dithering over another Play 5!
So you gave up on the industry leader to purchase from a company which is on its third (or is it fourth?) attempt at wireless multi-room audio, each incompatible with the next, and all spectacular failures? Well done!
He? I am not promoting anything here. I wish the Sonos speakers would be more open and flexible so I could more easily drive them with my existing HIFI system. They are great speakers and have some pretty neat software enhancements just a shame they are so closed.
Userlevel 6
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I sold my Sonos and went to Musicast. Buy some good quality speakers or even an active speaker set and drive them with the MC amp or pre amp. Yamaha is a save company and if for some reason their MC service is discontinued you still have your high quality speakers.
So you answered on a Sonos forum purely to promote a competitor :8
I sold my Sonos and went to Musicast. Buy some good quality speakers or even an active speaker set and drive them with the MC amp or pre amp. Yamaha is a save company and if for some reason their MC service is discontinued you still have your high quality speakers.
Userlevel 2
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Live WILD! Take a risk! Oh wait, you’d rather be cautious and careful? Perhaps a transistor radio and listen happily to am radio. Apologies, don’t really mean to offend you.
But just to reassure you, I was on the SONOS wagon almost from the start and still have an original Connect amp, two Connects, I gave my original Play 5 to my sister and it is still going strong. These are nearly 13 years old now. I also have 6 Play 1s, a Play 3, two Play 5 Gen2, and two bridges. I have never had a single problem or issue with ANY of them. Sorry, but I can’t rate them high enough. If they go under, who cares? They’ll still keep on working I’m sure.
Userlevel 7
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Lets say, God Forbid, it happened: Players would still play. Music services would still service. Apart from device-update, Sonos don't have a critical cloud component in order for its products to work. It would be harder to add a [used] device to an existing configuration (as its firmware might require an update to match the existing system), but that's it.

Compare this to, say, Amazon for example: Alexa is a silent black cylinder without a live cloud.
Userlevel 3
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I'm in the financial industry.......


Then you should be familiar with the Frank-Dodd based living will for banks...

No such thing exists for any consumer industry .. we will live in a fast moving world.
YouThe Home Pod launch makes this topic extremely relevant. I just started building out my sonos system, as much as I like it I'm now concerned about the longevity of sonos.

You could literally cut and paste the posts after the release of the original Airplay, add a '2', and you couldn't distinguish them from the posts of today. Sonos not only survived the imminent demise forecast back then, they went on to become the second largest speaker supplier in the world. Pay no attention to brand new posters shilling Apple products and predicting the doom of Sonos. Their track record for this kind of thing is not great at all.
The Home Pod launch makes this topic extremely relevant. I just started building out my sonos system, as much as I like it I'm now concerned about the longevity of sonos.
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So you are selling Sonos, the market leader, to buy a multi-room audio system from a company who is on their third version of a multi-room audio system after failing spectacularly with the last two?

Good purchasing strategy. Very logical. :?


Sonos don't release sales figures.

What we do get is information from retailers who sell Sonos product and we know that Sonos were the only people doing multi-room audio back when business was booming for Sonos, being the only fish in a small pond was very profitable.

Since wireless technology has become more commonplace and consumer demand for wireless multi-room audio has become more popular, other companies have come on-board which has eaten heavily into Sonos' profits. Amazon and Google are predicted almost universally to be the key players in multi-room audio over the next decade.

And that's why they have been letting staff go and is why people have concerns over the future of the company.


But as others have said, it won't disappear - if the owners decided to sell there are many businesses that would buy it - apple, google, amazon etc
Userlevel 2
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So you are selling Sonos, the market leader, to buy a multi-room audio system from a company who is on their third version of a multi-room audio system after failing spectacularly with the last two?

Good purchasing strategy. Very logical. :?


Sonos don't release sales figures.

What we do get is information from retailers who sell Sonos product and we know that Sonos were the only people doing multi-room audio back when business was booming for Sonos, being the only fish in a small pond was very profitable.

Since wireless technology has become more commonplace and consumer demand for wireless multi-room audio has become more popular, other companies have come on-board which has eaten heavily into Sonos' profits. Amazon and Google are predicted almost universally to be the key players in multi-room audio over the next decade.

And that's why they have been letting staff go and is why people have concerns over the future of the company.
Userlevel 2
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There is no way a brand as strong as Sonos just goes away. If they struggled to sell, a company like Apple would buy it.

Sonos already seems like a good match for Apple, anyway. High quality, easy to setup, and innovative.

Before I get flamed, this is not what I want to happen, I'm saying this is what could happen.
Userlevel 7
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The OP has an excellent point but SONOS lack of an official reply is sad and maybe telling.

This isn't really the sort of thread that we tend to give much of an "official reply" to because it's more of a thought experiment. If the company does wind up in this sort of situation, we'd do everything in our power to keep your systems playing for as long as possible. That might mean releasing a more open source update, or perhaps having another company step in. I can't speak to what would happen with any specifics, but in 15 years we continue to be pushing forward, and we're at a time now with an even better opportunity ahead than ever before.

If you've decided to look elsewhere, we wish you the best and hope you're happy where you land. There are a lot of really exciting plans over here and perhaps our paths will cross again.
So you are selling Sonos, the market leader, to buy a multi-room audio system from a company who is on their third version of a multi-room audio system after failing spectacularly with the last two?

Good purchasing strategy. Very logical. :?
This hysteria is totally misplaced. The new CEO commented that (a) the company was profitable, and (b) the number of 'new homes' with Sonos was up 20% year-on-year for the holiday period. They're the market leader in their space and, even if they were to falter, there'd be plenty of suitors.

SONOS sales dropping
They don't divulge sales figures so you simply cannot know, but based on the above +20% comment this has to be incorrect.

I am currently selling my SONOS system on eBay and moved to MusicCast by Yamaha.
So why exactly are you here? Is this yet another negative post on behalf of a competitor?
Userlevel 1
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My phone was 600. If I get 5 years out of it I'll be thrilled. My laptop was 1500. I think I'll get 5 years out of that but probably not much more. My Sonos install was 1600 (2x5's, 4x1's). I think I'll get 5 years out of it which is cool. If I had purchased a Play 5 G1 five years ago, I'd probably be replacing it with the G2 today. I think the company will be around for a while, but who knows. What I do know is that TODAY it is the best multi-room music system you can buy. Anything else you buy, you are hoping will improve and someday be as good as Sonos is right now. That would drive me crazy using that second-rate system everyday knowing it was a compromise purchased on a hope that it will get better.
The problem with this discussion is that it worries about Sonos going bankrupt while assuming the various streaming services can be depended on to always be there. I expect the opposite is true and you should be more concerned that the streaming service you have come to rely on is much more likely to fail. Streaming services are not profitable at this point in time and besides having all of the same infrastructure concerns as the Sonos backend servers do they also have to contend with licensing issues and other volatile factors. With a streaming service you can lose access to your favorite music at any time due to expiring license agreements or service failures and if they go belly up all together how are you going to recover the hundreds of hours spent building playlists on their proprietary platform with no way to export that work to another provider? I think all things considered the risk of a Sonos bankruptcy is pretty low on the list of things that can screw with your music system.
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The OP has an excellent point but SONOS lack of an official reply is sad and maybe telling. With the CEO stepping down, competition growing and SONOS sales dropping, this is a very legitimate concern. It's a simple request. Will my streaming services continue to work until the units physically fail? If SONOS simply linked to the servers of the streaming companies directly then there would be no need for concern. But it seems they use intermediary servers for some streaming services.

To the OP - ignore the fan boys who don't want to face reality. I didn't buy a Squeezebox system because of sales issues and it saved me big time. I am currently selling my SONOS system on eBay and moved to MusicCast by Yamaha. Anyone want two Connect Amps, three Connects, a bridge a Play5 and Play 3 please go to eBay. My sales end in 7 days.
I think that it's unlikely that Sonos will go under but, as you say, you never know. If you just use connects and route them via conventional audio hardware, then the Sonos element becomes almost 'throw away' - and can be replaced by any other suitable streamer. You won't get all the benefits of the Sonos kit, but it does minimise the (tiny, IMHO) risk to your investment.
The likelihood is that if Sonos were to declare bankruptcy, someone would probably buy Sonos' assets, infrastructure, intellectual property, and whatnot, then continue to provide service for at least a known period of time as a condition of the sale. Depending on who were to purchase it, they might end up integrating Sonos products or technology into another product line, and thus they would continue providing service.
Quite. Service quality may even improve beyond what a standalone Sonos can provide today; if one can speculate, that should not be excluded.

The other point is that it will take a long time for NAS driven music play to degrade.

Finally, adopting a Connect/Connect Amp route reduces the investment risks, if one wants to see the buy as an investment.

Sonos uses Amazon Web Services for its streaming architecture and routing/server infrastructure. I don't see Amazon going out of business too soon. ;)

https://aws.amazon.com/solutions/case-studies/sonos/


I would definitely agree. This service though is based on Sonos continuing to pay Amazon. How long would Amazon continue without being paid? Not very long.


Jgatie was talking about online streaming services, locally stored music does not require internet access to function. You can prove this by disconnecting your router from the internet and then playing some local files.

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