Browsing app for music

  • 20 July 2022
  • 7 replies

Hi there,


I've had my Beam for 6 months or so, love it, but when searching for music to play thru the app that I have in folders on my phone it doesn't have a search function for actual folders. I find there's no real organisation when my files show up also, it's not alphabetical or date order and I can never find stuff I want to play. The app just seems to randomly list my music, is Sonos going to add this feature or can I do something to make searching for music easier?


7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @DOaH73 

Welcome to the Sonos Community! 

I just looked into this on my own Android phone and was able to see On This Device results in a standard search from the app’s search page. When browsing, everything was in alphabetical order - artists, album name, song titles (though it seems some of my ID3 song title tags need to have the track numbers removed).

Sonos gets it’s list of available tracks on the phone, and their details, from the built-in Android music library function. It is my understanding that this completely ignores any folders used and organises the database by the ID3 tags built into the files. Thus, when browsing, you will only see the Song, Genre, Album, and Artist categories, with Podcasts and Playlists added.

I presume you have folders for organising your music into decades, or something similar? If so, the only way of searching this specifically would be to add these details somehow to the tags on the files. There are freeware applications available for doing this en-mass on your computer, and presumably apps for doing it on your phone too.

If, when browsing, your tracks seemingly have no organisation at all, perhaps they are missing the relevant tags? Did you rip the songs from CDs yourself? If they instead came from iTunes, for example, they should be fully tagged.

A caveat to all this would be if you have a particularly new model of Android phone, in which case there could be something we, Sonos, or the phone manufacturer, would need to address. Please provide details (including Android version) if this is the case. Thank you. We are aware of an issue whereby the Artist section (only) will not be sorted on Android 11 phones specifically.

I hope this helps.

Many thanks for your reply 🙂

I have a Poco X3 Pro phone running Android 12. I've got thousands of songs from various sources, rips, downloads etc so tagging them all wouldn't be an option. I've got and had many Bluetooth speakers, media streamers etc that have never had an issue showing up each folder I've organised my music genres/playlists into, Sonos is first time I've encountered such issue so hopefully it's a small feature that could be added in a future update.

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @DOaH73 

I know this doesn’t even occur to a lot of people, so I’ll just ask if you’ve tried rebooting your phone at all? Some phones even allow you to schedule a reboot regularly, which isn’t a bad idea. Also, do you have any other Android devices you could test? A small test folder with a few songs on it would be enough to demonstrate that the sorting issue might be limited to just your Poco.

If the reboot didn’t help, could you please browse the On This Device section in the Sonos app, take a few screenshots of what you are reporting, then submit a support diagnostic and reply here with the number given and the pictures? Thank you.

I won’t say it’s not an undertaking, but a few years ago (before I worked for Sonos) I personally used a free program called MediaMonkey to homogenise all my ID3 tags so that they all matched when they should (for example, I remember having to make a lot of “The Black Eyed Peas” tags into “Black Eyed Peas” tags).  I was also able to place my album art into the media files themselves, which helps devices of all types to show the art. It didn’t get done all in one go, or three, but didn’t take too long. This is purely a recounting of my own actions, and in no way is Sonos affiliated with MediaMonkey, nor can Sonos, or I, take responsibility for any third-party software you use. You get the idea. 😁

Another thought is that playing songs from your phone to Sonos will drain your phone’s battery more, and playback would be, in theory, less reliable than if Sonos accessed your music via a computer or NAS (Network Attached Storage) server on your local network. And, as a bonus, the Music Library can be browsed by file system folders. See our Add your music library to Sonos help page for more information, and instructions.

No need to reboot phone as all that is needed is another search option when you go to the music section of the Sonos app, when it asks you to browse files on this device every other media player/streamer/DAP I've ever used or owned has been able to give an option to browse folders, Sonos does not. It can't be hard to do as companies much smaller than Sonos have the option incorporated. 

Thankfully my phone has a huge battery and I don't think I should spend upwards of £200 for a NAS just to play music on the Beam when all my other devices (Naim streamer, Muso and Muso Qb speakers, Cambridge Audio Streamer, NAD streamer, Phillips TV, Onkyo music app) can all find the folders on my phone.

I had been looking into getting rid of all my Amazon Echo speakers and upgrading to an all Sonos set up with an Arc in the living room to replace the Beam but I'm having second thoughts now, I prefer to put songs in folders on my PC then transfer the folders to my phone to play from my numerous devices. It's what I've done for years with no issue, it's just disappointing that Sonos doesn't give me that option.


Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @DOaH73 

I’ll treat browsing by folder as a feature request and tag this thread so it will be seen by the relevant teams - perhaps I’m incorrect and it’s not Android that’s responsible..

However, when browsing Artist, Album, Song, or Genre sections, they should be in alphabetical order - that’s why I’m suggesting the reboot. As I said, the files on my phone are sorted properly.

A NAS can be as simple as a USB drive plugged into a router, or an SD card on a SBC, costing nowhere near £200, but I get your point - it should work from your phone. I was simply suggesting an alternative solution - one which would resolve every problem you listed.

Thanks Corry👍

Personally, I don’t want my phone/pad/computer involved in playing music. To me this is the prime benefit of the SONOS approach. When I’m writing programs the computer may stop, get bogged down, or I may need to reboot. With my music stored on a NAS drive, the music continues to play while the computer stumbles. The only music on my phone/pad/computer is whatever was packaged with the operating system.

Even if you want a copy of the music to be available on on a portable device, an occasional synchronization of libraries can deal with this. As did @Corry P , years ago I had a “talk” with my music library and fixed all of the metadata. I used a written stylesheet to remind me of exactly how I should deal with “Artist” and “The Artist” as well as incorporating a classical conductor or orchestra name in the metadata. There are numerous programs that can help with this task.