Sonos goes bankrupt! What then?


Badge
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.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

37 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +26
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.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
You know what? Life's too short to worry about what ifs!

You might get run over by a bus or hit by a meteorite on the way home, doesn't stop you going out.

Buy your Sonos system and don't worry about it.

OR, give me the money in the safe and secure knowledge I'll spend most of it on Booze, drugs and women - what's left over I'll waste!
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. :?
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.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
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.
Userlevel 2
Badge +1
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.
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.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
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 2
Badge
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.
First, Sonos does not consider itself to be a manufacturer of "throwaway" products. Their very first units, the ZP100 and ZP80 are still fully compatible and functional with current Sonos units, and they are over 10 years old. They go out of their way to maintain this compatibility, even to point of what some see as a detriment to future functionality.

Second, you can expect the units to continue working as today if Sonos suddenly goes bankrupt, however eventually the infrastructure will change and compatibility with services will start to dwindle due to new technologies and standards. But that goes for any and all internet technology.
Badge
Internet. I think that is the key word here. This is why in five years the majority of the components will be outdated. That's why I mentioned throw away technology. I was NOT slagging Sonos in any way. It's just the field they play in.

I was mostly concerned about the system automatically stopping if the company went bankrupt. I've had clients lose their pension at age 60 when their top 500 company went bankrupt. This is a legitimate question.
I was mostly concerned about the system automatically stopping if the company went bankrupt. This is a legitimate question.

But, I would have thought, a technological impossibility??


I was mostly concerned about the system automatically stopping if the company went bankrupt. I've had clients lose their pension at age 60 when their top 500 company went bankrupt. This is a legitimate question.


I's a legitimate question, but the answer is obvious; sooner or later the system won't fully function. If you are worried about it happening, then modern technology is not for you.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
On a more serious note - if Sonos goes bankrupt, your local music library / everything on your iDevices / Androids will still be playing. Problems will be lack of links with 3rd party streaming services. I do think, however, you could enter internet radio stations direct ip addresses and listen to those.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
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.
Badge
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.

This is the most likely result if the unthinkable happens!

On the what IF scenario, here's a question for you. The Sonos system is run via an app. If you use the app to run the TV or play music off of your computer or phone is Sonos's servers in the middle of that process? Does their servers go through some type of verification stage to allow the app to run? No verification, no running app?
This is the most likely result if the unthinkable happens!

On the what IF scenario, here's a question for you. The Sonos system is run via an app. If you use the app to run the TV or play music off of your computer or phone is Sonos's servers in the middle of that process? Does their servers go through some type of verification stage to allow the app to run? No verification, no running app?


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/
Badge

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.
The same worries follow through for everything you buy/use on a daily basis... your car, cell phone provider, electric company, Internet provider, your TV or fridge manufacturer, etc. Did you worry about any of that when you purchased? If a company goes bankrupt, there is a general a long line of proceedings held before it comes close to shutting down. You don't have to worry about that. Buy your gear.


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.


Well, looks like you got me. You are right. You should not waste any money on Sonos on the oft chance that a company which is the market leader, had well over a billion dollars in sales last year, and has doubled its growth each year for the last 6 years will go bankrupt. Do not buy it, the risk is just not worth it. Instead, go buy a radio. But not one with tubes, because all the tube manufacturers are out of business.

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.
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.
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.
Badge
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.
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.