Question

Cannot save playlist issue


Recently, on my recommendation, my friend invested €1400 in Sonos equipement. He intended to use his android tablet (google nexus) as his controller but also to store his music library.  However because he cannot save playlists due to the "This queue contains only tracks from mobile devices. These tracks cannot be saved to Sonos playlists" issue he is now going to return the Sonos equipment as, in his eyes, it is not fit for purpose.  I understand that the issue revolves around the possibility of an error being generated if the list is not available, however the same is true if a PC or Storage system is not available.  Being able to let someone manage everything from a single table is a very attractive option to less technical users.

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39 replies

Userlevel 3
Some design choises are... strange.
Yes it's hard to see why users should not be given a choice - why a laptop but not a tablet?  Even so, it's a shame that someone would miss the Sonos experience for this reason.  A NAS is a better place to store your music for Sonos and a WD MyCloud (for example) is cheap and easy to set up. 
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
This is also based around the way we play tracks from a mobile device over the network. The tracks are far less reliable to be available than a computer or a NAS drive, or any track from a music service.

I'll pass on the feedback about how it's affecting your friend to the right people, but he'd really be best setting up a NAS as suggested if he's looking to play only local tracks. It's more reliable, doesn't rely on his mobile device being around, and also won't use nearly as much phone battery.
This is also based around the way we play tracks from a mobile device over the network. The tracks are far less reliable to be available than a computer or a NAS drive, or any track from a music service.

I'll pass on the feedback about how it's affecting your friend to the right people, but he'd really be best setting up a NAS as suggested if he's looking to play only local tracks. It's more reliable, doesn't rely on his mobile device being around, and also won't use nearly as much phone battery.

Jay-Z has come to the rescue, my friend seems to be ok with forking out €20 a month for a subscription service rather than buy more tech. 
Userlevel 2
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I agree. I want to use a tablet as my music server setup permanently (i.e non-mobile) and the Sonos app decides for me that it is a mobile device (despite the opposite being true) and therefore I can't save a playlist, or worse, move my iTunes.xml file containing all my previously created playlists onto the tablet. It just ignores the .xml. This is an illogical and arbitary decision by Sonos that needs to be remedied. I find it annoying after spending many thosuands on Sonos gear that I'm hit with this limitation. Why don't they make it clear up front the limitations before you outlay the $$$.

Why can't the app just ignore tracks that aren't available or give the option of changing a setting that tells the app that this device will not be mobile and just available as any desktop on the network. I'm lead to believe you can do all this on a laptop, which last time I checked was a mobile device. Not very consistent, if that is the case.

As an annoying, cumbersome work around I have found that if I go to iTunes on my desktop and export each individual playlist to a separate .m3u file i can then copy them to my tablet's Playlist folder and Sonos will find and use them while ignoring the .xml file in the same folder. This just doesn't make sense. C'mon Sonos, this needs to be fixed.
Since my previous post I have been doing some digging and I don't think a laptop and (truly) mobile device running Android or IoS are quite the same.  I'd like to see users given the choice, but I doubt it would be a completely trivial change for Sonos to make.
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It is a shame that if it is a real problem that Sonos won't take the time to explain the real issue so that we can understand what is going on.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
I agree. I want to use a tablet as my music server setup permanently (i.e non-mobile) and the Sonos app decides for me that it is a mobile device (despite the opposite being true) and therefore I can't save a playlist, or worse, move my iTunes.xml file containing all my previously created playlists onto the tablet. It just ignores the .xml. This is an illogical and arbitary decision by Sonos that needs to be remedied. I find it annoying after spending many thosuands on Sonos gear that I'm hit with this limitation. Why don't they make it clear up front the limitations before you outlay the $$$.

Why can't the app just ignore tracks that aren't available or give the option of changing a setting that tells the app that this device will not be mobile and just available as any desktop on the network. I'm lead to believe you can do all this on a laptop, which last time I checked was a mobile device. Not very consistent, if that is the case.

As an annoying, cumbersome work around I have found that if I go to iTunes on my desktop and export each individual playlist to a separate .m3u file i can then copy them to my tablet's Playlist folder and Sonos will find and use them while ignoring the .xml file in the same folder. This just doesn't make sense. C'mon Sonos, this needs to be fixed.

Hi Brett,

The XML file gets ignored because the Sonos software doesn't index the music on your phone the same way we do for a network share (computer or NAS drive).

When playing from a mobile device, the players constantly get an updated list of the music from the device itself, which only includes the music file types.

For tracks off of a network location, the players will connect to it, index the library and create a library file saved on the players, and when you browse it on your controllers that file is what gets displayed. The computer index will include any playlists in the correct format as well.

Many customers who have gone mobile only look into is using a music service which has drive storage, such as Google Play Music or Amazon Cloud Player. You'd be able to save your tracks there and play them from any mobile device, along with control them from any of your Sonos controllers. The playlists can be uploaded there too.
Userlevel 2
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I agree. I want to use a tablet as my music server setup permanently (i.e non-mobile) and the Sonos app decides for me that it is a mobile device (despite the opposite being true) and therefore I can't save a playlist, or worse, move my iTunes.xml file containing all my previously created playlists onto the tablet. It just ignores the .xml. This is an illogical and arbitary decision by Sonos that needs to be remedied. I find it annoying after spending many thosuands on Sonos gear that I'm hit with this limitation. Why don't they make it clear up front the limitations before you outlay the $$$.

Why can't the app just ignore tracks that aren't available or give the option of changing a setting that tells the app that this device will not be mobile and just available as any desktop on the network. I'm lead to believe you can do all this on a laptop, which last time I checked was a mobile device. Not very consistent, if that is the case.

As an annoying, cumbersome work around I have found that if I go to iTunes on my desktop and export each individual playlist to a separate .m3u file i can then copy them to my tablet's Playlist folder and Sonos will find and use them while ignoring the .xml file in the same folder. This just doesn't make sense. C'mon Sonos, this needs to be fixed.

Thanks Ryan. Are you saying there is something inherent in Android/iOS or the tablets that is the reason for this different behaviour? or is it purely a programming choice in the Sonos app?
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
I agree. I want to use a tablet as my music server setup permanently (i.e non-mobile) and the Sonos app decides for me that it is a mobile device (despite the opposite being true) and therefore I can't save a playlist, or worse, move my iTunes.xml file containing all my previously created playlists onto the tablet. It just ignores the .xml. This is an illogical and arbitary decision by Sonos that needs to be remedied. I find it annoying after spending many thosuands on Sonos gear that I'm hit with this limitation. Why don't they make it clear up front the limitations before you outlay the $$$.

Why can't the app just ignore tracks that aren't available or give the option of changing a setting that tells the app that this device will not be mobile and just available as any desktop on the network. I'm lead to believe you can do all this on a laptop, which last time I checked was a mobile device. Not very consistent, if that is the case.

As an annoying, cumbersome work around I have found that if I go to iTunes on my desktop and export each individual playlist to a separate .m3u file i can then copy them to my tablet's Playlist folder and Sonos will find and use them while ignoring the .xml file in the same folder. This just doesn't make sense. C'mon Sonos, this needs to be fixed.

It does come down to an interface decision for tracks playing from a single mobile device. There are a lot of potential reasons that the mobile stream might not be available. To prevent confusion and playback problems, saving the tracks as a Sonos Playlist isn't available.

Mobile playback needs the device to be on, connected to the network, and to have good connection at all times. There are many cases where the device has left the home, the battery wore out, or just dropped wireless for a time. 

Sonos Playlists can be made up from any combination of tracks from different music services, local computer or NAS drive libraries and adding tracks from local mobile devices adds another level of complexity to the mix.

I'll make sure to pass on your interest for using mobile only tracks to the design team though.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
Thats an interesting contribution concept.

So my question for a (healthy) compromise would be:

Can the Sonos controller cache like two songs (assuming the mobile device has enough available space) to prevent sudden disruption, and give the user playlist option to override 'default behavior' with lets say 'local/custom config'?

Just thinking out loud here.
What is a NAS drive? Sorry, I'm a techno-dummie
Hi April.  It stands for "Network Attached Storage" drive.  It is a hard disk wired to your router via Ethernet and can be used to store your music (It's a bit more than just a hard disk, but that will do for our purposes here.)  It is kept always switched on so your music is always available to Sonos.
Awesome! Is here something that works best with apple? Or is airport express a solution?
Hi April.  I don't think you mean Airport Express, but probably Airport Time Capsule.  A Time Capsule would be a possibility, but personally (as a non-Apple enthusiast) I'd go for something like a Western Digital MyCloud Personal Storage NAS drive, and save yourself some money.  You could store your iTunes music on it just as you would on a computer.

Although I think a NAS is the best solution for making your digital music collection available to Sonos, you can just store your music on your computer.  But that computer must be switched on and on your network to work with Sonos.  A NAS can do other things too, like run automatic backups of your network.
Thanks! As I said, I'm a total techno dummy! Thanks for the explanations!
Sorry Ryan but the explanation/justification doesn't satisfy. If a user forgets their device or allows the battery to die it's the users fault. In that Sonos precludes saving queues from mobile devices, that's Sonos' fault. Sonos will now never know how many units are not because of this limitation. My own situation is that I do not have a computer where my Sonos is installed and only have access to mobile devices to operate Sonos. I am sure this is a far more common situation than the one contemplated by Sonos which the mobile device limitation intended to prevent. The mobile device limitation sounds like something right out of the DMV.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
Can you not save playlists on your mobile device? If not it seems like a major omission by your music service.
You cannot use the songs from your mobile device to create a playlist on the Sonos Controller App ON your mobile device. Agreed - major omission.
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
Can you use a web based cloud for storage rather than your mobile device? All my music is on my desktop PC, but a couple of years ago when Google Play Music was added as a possible source I uploaded all my music to google. So now I can play my music through Google on my Sonos kit.
I'll give it a try. Thanks.
"This queue contains only tracks from mobile devices. These tracks cannot be saved to Sonos playlists"

Sad to say we`ll probably have to return our recently bought Sonos Play 3 (wanted to upgrade it to Play 5 to get "more sound" in the livingroom, if the system was user friendly), due to not beeing allowed to create our own playlists with our own music, old or new. Irritating non-control over what goes where an how, is impossible to accept as a consumer.

Also: The feeling i get is that you might get "pressured" into a situation where you HAVE to have a premium account to get an okay experience with this system (in our case we have Tidal Basic through our cablecompany..and Basic does not work with Sonos).

Unless anyone have a brilliant idea what we should do to fix this, so that we from our mobile devices (Samsung Galaxy S5) can have a playlist of the music we want to listen to, when we want to listen to it, we have to find another option for playing music in our livingroom. It really is strange that Sonos does not allow the simplest and most basic way to play a personal edited playlist.
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A terrible work around I found was to copy the music to a pc, create a Playlist in wmp, copy the Playlist to my mobile, and the Playlist can be found inside the sonos app, under :on this mobile device/play lists. Not nice but worked.
Load your music to a free Google Play Music account and you can make all the playlists you want. Playing from the phone wastes bandwidth, and causes errors when the phone isn't there.
vstoras,

Another option is to perhaps buy a cheap ’second hand' NAS box and plug that into your router and store your music on there and then create your playlists from those files instead, within your managed library.

The Sonos controller will very quickly sync your library too, regularly, on a set schedule as you continue to add tracks to it.