The awe and pain of Apple Music integration

  • 31 December 2016
  • 27 replies
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At first it was amazing, now not so much.

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27 replies

Outside of items not included in the Sonos API, the vast majority of feature implementaion is the responsibility of the music service themselves, so in all likelihood your complaint is better aimed towards Apple than Sonos. Though it is hard to say, because your statement is quite vague. Is there a particular feature set you are missing?
Sorry, my post went up before it was completed. The SONOS experience does not provide an interface for Like, Unlike, or Love ie no way of improving the music experience. It feels as if there is no learning when using SONOS through Apple Music. The UX is incomplete and much less rewarding than Apple Music through IOS or itunes. I also don't want to blame Apple for SONOS implementation and or API integration. If SONOS wants to retain users they need to make the experience seamless. Yes the sound is great, yes the room to room experience is great, but the daily user experience is sub par when it comes to music selection.
So if you don't think Apple's integration is complete, why aren't you telling this to Apple? They're the ones who did the majority of the development against Sonos' published API, just like all the other service providers. I'll never understand Apple fanboyz...
1) The Sonos API fully supports like/dislike functions. Therefore the implementation of these are wholly up to Apple.

2) You may not like blaming Apple, not many Apple fans do. But alas, they are indeed to blame. Sorry to ruin your day. :(

3) If you want the experience seemless, then good news: Sonos has enabled Direct Control from native third party apps. This means you could control Sonos directly from the Apple Music app. However ( I'm sure you saw this coming), implementation of this is also up to Apple, because Sonos doesn't develop the Apple Music app.
good news: Sonos has enabled Direct Control from native third party apps. This means you could control Sonos directly from the Apple Music app.
Still something I do not fully understand about this statement - is this enabling of direct control part of the Sonos controller version in which the Spotify direct control was released? Because it seems to me that Sonos did a lot of work to enable Spotify direct control, so unless this were to be the case - that there is also now a generic Direct Control capability bundled into that release - something similar would be needed for Apple music direct control?
good news: Sonos has enabled Direct Control from native third party apps. This means you could control Sonos directly from the Apple Music app.
Still something I do not fully understand about this statement - is this enabling of direct control part of the Sonos controller version in which the Spotify direct control was released? Because it seems to me that Sonos did a lot of work to enable Spotify direct control, so unless this were to be the case - that there is also now a generic Direct Control capability bundled into that release - something similar would be needed for Apple music direct control?


All the work done with Spotify ceates a generic interface for all to use. No sane company would do all that work for a custom one-off. This is not 1970s Big Iron Software Engineering, there is most certainly a generic API. Sonos has also stated they wish to allow all services to use Direct Control via the native app. They wouldn't say that without an API to do it.

Think of it like your first apartment. You need pots, pans, dishes, towels, basic tools, etc. Every place you move to after that, you may need a few items, but you never need to rebuy the stuff you already have. So the API is the stuff, Spotify is the first apartment, and all the other services are every place after that.

Now would Apple need to do some work on their end? Well yes. How much? That depends on how robust and complete the API is. I imagine it is pretty mature, considering the current Music Partners API is what allows Sonos to easily and seamlessly add dozens of music services whereas their competitors only have a few.
That depends on how robust and complete the API is. I imagine it is pretty mature, considering the current Music Partners API is what allows Sonos to easily and seamlessly add dozens of music services whereas their competitors only have a few.
I get what you are saying, but if you recall - and if I remember right - the Apple Music integration into the Sonos controller was done by Sonos via a controller release and not by Apple via the Music Partners API which was used by folks like Calm Radio. Apple therefore seemed to get special treatment then even though a mature Music Partners API had been around for some time before Apple Music was launched.

Which is why I am still not sure whose court this Direct Control ball is in. And why no one from Sonos is clarifying things by commenting here.
Sonos is never going to speak about whose court the ball is in. It's not professional to point fingers, even if the finger is pointing the right way.

As I understand it, the Music Partners API was expanded for Apple Music, which is why there needed to be a concurrent firmware release. Similar to the release with Spotify and the new apartment, moving to a much bigger apartment like Apple may require a little more "stuff", and no matter how little stuff is needed, you still have to make a trip to the home goods store. 😃
Also to add, there are a lot of logistical elements at work which have nothing to with the API. Adding several million Apple Music users without crashing the AWS servers is a bit different from adding 100 Deadheads to Live Phish. Hence the extra work seen with Apple and Spotify.
Hence the extra work seen with Apple and Spotify.
Right, so in this case it might not be just something to be followed up now with Apple to get the Direct Control feature, but a joint effort by Sonos and Apple; and my expectation of a Sonos comment was not for seeing how the finger is pointing, but on when the Apple Direct Control is expected to be delivered under the circumstances.
It's always a joint effort, though the impetus in both cases is on the service provider, not Sonos. They own the content access, and in the case of the Direct Control, they own the app. Sonos can't make unilateral changes to either.

As to when its happening? C'mon Kumar, you've been here long enough to know the answer to that. 😉
Great dialogue-- none of it really matters. It's all up to the consumer. Figure it out or people move on. I am not pro Apple or anti SONOS. Like them both-- just want an experience that's not behind the market or or that matter my expectations. Who wants to hear about API's-- my wallet doesn't care. I have the same nonsense happening with AUDI and Carplay. Both end up sucking if they don't deliver what's promised.
Great dialogue-- none of it really matters. It's all up to the consumer. Figure it out or people move on. I am not pro Apple or anti SONOS. Like them both-- just want an experience that's not behind the market or or that matter my expectations. Who wants to hear about API's-- my wallet doesn't care. I have the same nonsense happening with AUDI and Carplay. Both end up sucking if they don't deliver what's promised.

Sure it matters. It may not matter to you, but it had better matter to the engineers and managers doing the implementation. Because if it doesn't, the features you want delivered are either impossible to achieve, or are riddled with bugs. I'm always amused when these threads turn technical and the consumer level poster comes in with a "it doesn't matter" dismissal of the technical aspects, but still demands his needs be met. It's like the patient breaking into a surgical team meeting and saying, "All this medical stuff doesn't matter, just fix my brain tumor!"

In addition, closing one's mind to the underlying technical aspects involved in these matters makes for poor purchasing decisions and a whole lot of disappointment. Even a cursory amount of knowledge would do a lot to temper unreasonable expectations and give a more realistic outlook on the process, thus relieving consumer disappointment and frustration. Sure the technical details can be intimidating, but (pun intended) it's not brain surgery.

More often than not, I do find this dismissal to be a lame excuse for some to be pissed off. If that is the case, I'm sorry for you. But that wont stop those of us who are technically inclined from trying to educate those who wish to learn, like my good friend Kumar. So I'm afraid that in a support forum for a highly technical product, you are stuck listening to some technical talk. Even more so in a sub-forum called Music, culture, and the industry.

As to when its happening? C'mon Kumar, you've been here long enough to know the answer to that. ;)

Yes, but this isn't like the thing about when the next generation play 1 will be launched for example; Sonos has been more forthcoming about its software plans in recent times.
I am actually quite happy using the existing built into Sonos integration of Apple Music and if Sonos/Apple found a way of adding the Like feature there to allow for improved customisation of music preferences, I would not be interested in the Direct Control feature at all.
Taking at face value what Sonos says - that staff reads all the posts - when can we expect either Direct Control for Apple Music, or the integration of the "Like" feature in the existing Sonos controller for Apple Music? An answer from Sonos Staff to this would be appreciated.
For me, and I suspect for many others, the Apple Music interfaces on the Sonos apps and the OS X application are much more limited in functionality and ease of use than what's available on the Apple Music IOS apps and on iTunes. I'm hopeful that Sonos and Apple can sort out the fact that both would benefit from a more satisfying streaming experience for their mutual customers. I dropped Spotify when Apple Music became available on Sonos, but it's now becoming advantage Spotify, at least for me.
For me, and I suspect for many others, the Apple Music interfaces on the Sonos apps and the OS X application are much more limited in functionality and ease of use than what's available on the Apple Music IOS apps and on iTunes. I'm hopeful that Sonos and Apple can sort out the fact that both would benefit from a more satisfying streaming experience for their mutual customers. I dropped Spotify when Apple Music became available on Sonos, but it's now becoming advantage Spotify, at least for me.

A reasonable and rational request. I can understand why many (or even most) users prefer the native app to the Sonos implementation, especially if you only use one service and use the native app away from home. Personally, I use many services, so the universal search is for me, but I see the other side's argument.

Luckily Sonos has created their new Direct Control service which makes it possible to control from native apps. They have expressed the wish to have every music service connect to Sonos in this way, hopefully Apple is among the first to sign up.
Bumping this for a response from Sonos Staff.
Pandora was right there with Spotify at the Aug 30th press conference, and did express interest.

Apple has been reassigning all of its network staff, won't be selling network devices anymore, put the kabosh on development of a Beats WiFi speaker (they must surely be embarrassed by the Beats line of crappy sounding speakers), and have started selling Sonos speakers in their stores. Hard to know what they will do, as they are far more about image than technical leadership, but the stars do seem to be aligning...
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My two cents - adding the ability to Like a song is NOT enough, being able to add songs to playlists from within the SONOS app is a must (similar to what can be done with Spotify).
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IMHO, the best options among the three major streaming services is Google Play. It's easily the most powerful in the Sonos App.
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Taking at face value what Sonos says - that staff reads all the posts - when can we expect either Direct Control for Apple Music, or the integration of the "Like" feature in the existing Sonos controller for Apple Music? An answer from Sonos Staff to this would be appreciated.

Hey guys, great discussion here. We read everything and pass feedback up to the right teams too. I can't shed much light here on either of the requests today. There isn't any official announcements that I can let you in on, though as you saw from the release back in August, we'd love to work with more music service partners in the future.

I know the question of "who do we need to talk to" get's asked a lot and when it comes to music services and Sonos it's always a "both" answer. For every integration we add or develop, there is a lot of work to be done on both ends. There isn't any one side that needs to do all the work, teams on both sides work together to develop new features. That means there's a lot of moving parts and different priorities.

Thanks for keeping the discussion friendly and please let us know if we can answer any questions for you. We're really happy with the work that's being done and where this part of music listening is heading.

Oh, and Happy New Year! (It's only a little over a week in, I can say that still, right?)
please let us know if we can answer any questions for you.
Yes; over a year ago, when Apple Music and Sonos coming together was announced with some fanfare, was the release of Direct Control for Apple Music a la Spotify referred to? When the release of Apple Music integration into the Sonos controller was announced?
Memory fails me, but I seem to remember reading of something to come on these lines in some official talk in the last 12 months, hence the follow up questions.
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I don't remember any official announcement around that release either. There's certainly been a lot of rumor around that request but I don't believe there's every been an official statement confirming that it's in the works, or planned.

We were certainly talking about direct control from native apps more than a year ago in regards to music services, but I don't think Apple Music was ever spelled out as one of them. Perhaps you read an article or blog somewhere that may have taken a few liberties and guesses or thought they were connecting the right dots. This last announcement in August was one of the first times (certainly in a while) Sonos pulled back the curtain a bit and let people know what we were working on well in advance of it coming out.
Fair enough, and thanks for that update Ryan.