DRM Issues

  • 7 August 2018
  • 8 replies
  • 446 views

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I have had a SONOS system since 2012. Problems along the way, for sure, but NOTHING like this latest one with "Encoding" errors galore lately. I've contacted Sonos support over the years with a few bugs and glitches surrounding my music library, my components too close to each other, wiring my bridge into my router . . . all of which were frustrating, to say the least. I'll admit my patience has run short with SONOS at times but I haven't had any issues for a couple of years . . . . . . . . until now. I've been getting the same "Unable to play (whatever song it randomly decides it can't play) because of an encoding issue of some sort; even though I'm listening to the very song it says it cannot play. The message disappears, the song usually plays in its entirety; but, there have been times when Sonos will start dropping songs in the middle of a playlist or a particular song . . . playlists and songs I've had for years. If I try and play the playlists for any real length of time, missing these ridiculous messages on my phone (used as my controller) sometimes, the system will start dropping songs which is when I finally discover a series of these messages have been popping up and I just missed them.

I'll admit I have little patience with problems like these as I am NOT a computer guru. All I want to do is listen to the music I've purchased either on CD's I've had for years and years OR the new music I've been buying on I-Tunes. I've called SONOS support and actually got to talk to someone after being on hold for the average 30 to 35 minutes. They no longer return calls as they once did when I first bought this system. NOW, if you want to talk to a live person . . . that is the standard wait time because they care so much about my time (or so they say). Yeah, right.

This last go'round ended up with the tech support person I spoke to telling me because of DRM restrictions, I need to "fix" the issues with my music by contacting I-Tunes/Apple. I was told this is MY problem and offered nothing more than links to obtuse sites that prompt me to sit in front of my computer and search for the songs they claim aren't encoded correctly. Yeah right. I have hundreds of songs and I simply don't feel this is MY responsibility. SONOS was sold to me as a system that worked in tandem with I-TUNES and it is my opinion that that is EXACTLY what it should do. If it doesn't any longer because of some sort of temper tantrum between the two companies, that is/should be on THEM. As a consumer, I find this situation completely unacceptable and is what one could label a "scam" to hold my music hostage, music I've purchased in good faith. Further, this isn't exclusive to songs pre-2009. I've encountered this nonsense with songs I've purchased through I-Tunes in the last couple of years. I refuse to pay ransom for music I've purchased. I've read claim after claim on these threads that it requires this fix or that, all of which would take exorbitant amounts of time for anyone to tediously go through song after song and decide whether or not it requires some sort of "fix" that would challenge even the most experienced computer guru. As I said, this is happening with music I've purchased just in the last couple of years as well as the CD's I had for years when I purchased this system.

If it were just a matter of seeing some idiotic message scroll across the screen on my smartphone and the music was all able to still play without issue . . . I could handle that. But, for heaven's sake, to have my playback interrupted and songs dropped because of some sort of "p-ing" match between two companies who have both profited from my purchases, THEN there's an issue.

Anyone with any information on any sort of class action lawsuit either pending or past, names and addresses of attorneys, or advice on how to get these two companies to do the right thing would be greatly appreciated.

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8 replies

I think your encoding issue is with Apple... maybe start with this link

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201616

Just google Apple and DRM removal and you will find lots about the subject and how to easily address it. A single one-off iTunes Match subscription was the way I chose to deal with mine, but there are many different ways to resolve DRM issues.
wiring my bridge into my router
Until confirmed otherwise, suspect that the Bridge power supply is failing leading to connectivity issues. The 'encoding errors' message can arise due to a simple loss of data.

If the Bridge 'wall wart' can be tested, it should put out a steady 5.1V or more. Anything less and it's come to the end of its days.
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I've contacted Apple, wasting yet more valuable time on the phone, sitting in front of my computer screen for hours. The "encoding" errors, this ransom (and that's all this is) both Apple and Sonos suggest I pay to listen to music I've paid for to listen to on a system I purchased that was supposed to work in tandem with each other borders on fraud in advertising it as such. It was NEVER suggested or required that I own an Apple device to store my music. Whatever "issues" SONOS and Apple have had for years should NOT be the responsibility of the consumer to "fix". Paying someone to "unlock" my music, as it was described by the last correspondence I had with SONOS is wrong and completely unacceptable!

SONOS has checked my system out and everything is up-to-date and perfect working order . . . THAT was the only valuable bit of information I received from SONOS after waiting for them to pick up the phone after placing me on hold for 35 minutes and then spending another half hour with them for them to "check" things out for me by remote.

This is ridiculous! Completely despicable!
SONOS has checked my system out and everything is up-to-date and perfect working order . . .
If the Bridge power supply was dying then the system may well look okay. Until sometimes it doesn't. Connectivity symptoms are intermittent.

As an experiment, set the Bridge aside and wire a player in its place. If that works fine then you could potentially dispense with the Bridge altogether and run in 'Standard' setup.
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Hello, Dawn. I have had the DRM issue myself. I wholly agree, in my opinion, it is a ridiculous notion that music I have purchased should be restricted in that I am unable to listen to it on my own speakers. That being said, regardless of where your music comes from, Sonos is not the force imposing any restriction on it. This protection exists because Apple have implemented it. They did not consult, advise, coerce or motivate us into doing anything. Our authority where this is concerned is precisely nil. Whichever WiFi speaker company you had opted for would have seen your music listening experience suffer the same fate. As has been stated, where DRM is concerned, I fear your grievances lie with Apple.

They have intended your purchases not to be shared, redistributed, or exposed to any third-parties. Sadly, in our case, this includes the Sonos system; a third-party. In order to circumvent any issue with DRM, you need to use their Match program which, yes, involves paying a fee.

That being said, if DRM were the extent of the problem, it would neither be intermittent nor allow your tracks to be played at all. This isn't a case of "we will decide when you are infringing on the DRM agreement"- you either would or wouldn't be. That is to say, the music would not play at all. I am slightly perplexed- did the technician not remark on the fact that the issue is not consistent?

Is it perhaps possible that, having added a playlist, the error occurred and played a different song?
Or are you absolutely sure the track still played- even though an error message suggested otherwise?

I don't wish to waste your time any more than you feel it has already been- but if this is the case and we are to help you, we do need to take some further measures.
Please follow Ratty's advice, he may be onto something.

However, if my assessment was correct and it is in fact skipping the tracks altogether, the previous advice withstands: We are left with little alternative but to play by Apple's rules.

Please do let me know should you have any further questions.
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Any update, Dawn_3?
Dear Dawn_3 et al: I understand you're frustrations. Edward R is right, however, the fault is Apple's not Sonos. So, first do the iTunes Match thing. It isn't that much, and it will solve many but (in my experience not all) of your problems, tho. Not all songs are matched; some come back still protected. If you want to play a protected song, you can do that from your Mac (and perhaps other devices) by using AirPlay if you have a PLAY1 (the current version of the 1) or a current Sonos 5 speaker (or Beam too, I think). Those can play directly to sonos, but you have to control it from the Mac; the Sonos app won't even see the item. This later "feature" may be a Sonos decision since they read off the xml index to iTunes, which includes ALL your music; they have evidently decided to tell the controller not to register "protected" songs. It IS irritating. i'm going to have to sit down for a couple of hours and redownload all my songs, and many won't work (I've already lost a few). But that seems to be the complete picture as of Feb 2018. Sonos folks are not as helpful as they used to be, even tho they won't reply to fora and insist that we call and set up an appointment. I have a life; I have a job; I don't buy things for the pleasure of talking to technicians. I get that. And their manuals/FAQs need to be WAY more complete! Especially in the troubleshooting sections.
Dear Dawn_3 et al: I understand your frustrations. Edward R is right, however, the fault is Apple's not Sonos. So, first do the iTunes Match thing. It isn't that much, and it will solve many but (in my experience not all) of your problems, tho. Not all songs are matched; some come back still protected. If you want to play a protected song, you can do that from your Mac (and perhaps other devices) by using AirPlay if you have a PLAY1 (the current version of the 1) or a current Sonos 5 speaker (or Beam too, I think). Those can play directly from AirPlay, but you have to control it from the Mac; the Sonos app won't even see the item. This later "feature" may be a Sonos decision since they read off the xml index to iTunes, which includes ALL your music; they have evidently decided to tell the controller not to register "protected" songs. It IS irritating. i'm going to have to sit down for a couple of hours and redownload all my songs, and many won't work (I've already lost a few). But that seems to be the complete picture as of Feb 2018. Sonos folks are not as helpful as they used to be, even tho they won't reply to fora and insist that we call and set up an appointment. I have a life; I have a job; I don't buy things for the pleasure of talking to technicians. I get that. And their manuals/FAQs need to be WAY more complete! Especially in the troubleshooting sections.