Is there anyway to stream Spotify without upgrading to a "premium" Spotify account?

  • 25 December 2013
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130 replies

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I'm new to sonos and the world of streaming.

It seems to me that, irrespective of the advantages of premium services, Sonos does not make clear:
a) that there are specific restrictions to using streaming services(such as Spotify, Deezer, etc) with Sonos
b) their financial relationship concerning these restrictions.

My guess is that this is a collegial decision between Spotify, Deezer, etc. and Sonos to "encourage" Sonos users to purchase premium services. And, for Sonos, this makes sense if Sonos is getting a piece of the action.

If this is the case, so be it, but a little transparency up front is the least that you owe a customer who spends good money for a high end stereo purchase (and, as a reposne to one of the prevoious posts, this is not clearly stated to any normal viewer of the Sonos website). If Sonos is making money on the equipment and the streaming services, then this should be clear. Otherwise, Sonos risks losing customer trust; the basis for a long-term franchise.

I want to be able to do what I do with my PC: listen to live concerts on YouTube, search artists by name and listen to their works. This function is severely compromised with the current Sonos set-up and I am afraid that this is, precisely, part of their business model.
Wow, that's a lot of assumptions. Here are some facts:


1) Requiring a premium account is on the service provider. Sonos has nothing to do with this provision. Services like Slacker and Pandora are available free, services like Spotify and Apple Music are not, whereas Google Play Music and others allow both.

2) As plainly stated by Sonos in their Music Partners program, any and all music services can sign up and integrate with Sonos at no cost. There is no "piece of the action" going on here, except the fact some music services want to encourage you to buy their premium subscription when used on a platform that does not facilitate in-app advertising.

3) YouTube is not available via Sonos or any other WiFi based multi-room streamer, including Google's own Chromecast Audio. This is because YouTube wants to sell advertising, and these devices allow you to stream even after the video device is turned off.
Userlevel 1
Thanks for your reply jgatie. I'd like to be wrong on this one!

I don't live in the US, so Pandora and Slacker on Sonos are not available and, when I downloaded Google Play Music, it tells me the subscription service only is available.

So, I come back to my original problem which is I would like to continue to be able to listen to live concerts (via You Tune because that's what I know) and listen to specific artists via streaming. If You Tube is not an option, is there another alternative for live concerts? Is there a free streaming service which gives one access to artists as opposed to pre-packaged playlists?

If the answer is yes, then thanks in advance for helping me out. I'm sure this will help others as well.
If the answer is yes, but you have to pay for it, then I would repeat that Sonos does not make this clear up front. Again, purchasing a high end system should not involve compromises that are discovered after the purchase.
If the answer is no, well, I shouldn't have bought a Sonos system.
Concert Vault, but it requires a fee ($3.99/month or $39.99/yr)

http://www.concertvault.com/support/sonos.html

And by the way, it is to be expected that music services are going to monetize at every opportunity going forward. The days of Napster are over, which is a good thing if we want good musicians to thrive and prosper.
Userlevel 1
Thank you jgatie.

So, to summarize, I can no longer listen to individual artist concerts or artists without paying a subscription. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is something that I did not have to do before I purchased a Sonos system. Again, the rules should be clear up front---and they are not!

As far as what is the best model for the music industry going forward, that is a different subject. As a musician and a music lover, I agree that the industry needs to be fair and encourage new acts. Whether or not You Tube and the dominant freemium business model are good for the health of the industry is a separate debate and I don't think anyone has all the answers at this point.

Any solution, though, should give the listener a choice. I, for one, am no longer sure that Sonos is only interested in selling me the best stereo equipment. Without at all wanting to seem antagonistic, are you affiliated with Sonos?
Sonos staff are clearly marked as such. Some of us are longstanding customers who've helped out on this board and its predecessor for a number of years.

As for the question of, say, Spotify support on Sonos, a search off support.sonos.com quickly leads one to https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1164 where it says "A Spotify Premium account is required to work on Sonos."

Frankly I don't know how anyone could imagine that a service which wants to stay in business long term is not going to monetise its operations. On network streamers such as Sonos that's either going to require the purchase of a paid subscription or the insertion of unwelcome audio adverts.
Why would one assume I am affiliated with Sonos? My replies were simply answering questions with facts. The one opinion I gave was on the music business in general, not Sonos. One can differ in opinion without having to be a corporate shill, and accusing people as such is a really lazy way to debate.
Userlevel 1
J Gatie, I went out of my way to be clear (and polite) by saying that I do not want to seem antagonistic. There is nothing wrong with representing a company’s interests so long as everyone is clear.

Thank you Ratty for clarifying the Sonos staff policy. Where I disagree, again, is on how someone who purchases a new Sonos system is expected to know that freemium streaming services (as I have described them) are not available.

You say streaming services need to monetize their efforts. Absolutely! A lot of highly paid people at streaming services have determined that freemium is/was the best model to monetize music (don’t get mad at me, get mad at Spotify, Deezer, etc…).

When I bought a stereo system from Sonos, I assumed I was buying a piece of hardware which would let me listen to music the way I typically listen to music on my PC. I am not the only one to express their surprise (some posts used the word “shock”) that this is not the case.

Now, if Sonos wants to monetize their business by selling both hardware and receiving money from subscription based services, that is fine. But this has consequences for their customers and should be made clear.. And what is so bad about letting Sonos users choose if they want to listen to ads or pay for premium subscription?

And the argument that this is in plain sight for everyone to see is not quite right. How many buyers are going to look through the customer help section before purchasing? Buyers look at the Products section which is supposed to provide specifications, features and benefits.

To summarize, I bought a product that I sincerely want to be a great product. To be great, you have to have the confidence of your customers. And it seems obvious that Sonos needs to do a better job of avoiding nasty surprises for new customers.
When I bought a stereo system from Sonos, I assumed I was buying a piece of hardware which would let me listen to music the way I typically listen to music on my PC.
The key difference is that on your PC the online service controls your entire user experience. Ads can be flashed before your eyeballs, and so forth. The business model for hardware streamers is quite different.

Now, if Sonos wants to monetize their business by selling both hardware and receiving money from subscription based services, that is fine.

If I were you I would cease making such allegations right now. There has not, to my knowledge, ever been any evidence of such kick-back arrangements.

How many buyers are going to look through the customer help section before purchasing?

Well, apart it being sheer common sense that There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, a sensible buyer will at least verify which subscription levels are supported.

And it seems obvious that Sonos needs to do a better job of avoiding nasty surprises for new customers.

I have to say, after 8+ years on these boards, that although the issue comes up from time to time it's definitely not one of the key issues for new customers. Besides, the money-back guarantee which Sonos offers covers those customers who purchased based on a false assumption.
We shall now put an end to your baseless and irresponsible allegations; allegations which I already countered earlier in the thread:

http://musicpartners.sonos.com/?q=node/21


ATTRACT THE MOST AVID MUSIC FANS IN THE WORLD.

Music lovers are the heart and soul of Sonos. We’re a company created by music lovers, for music lovers. At Sonos, our vision is to fill every home with music. The Sonos Wireless HiFi System delivers passionate music lovers access to fresh, new music from music and radio services worldwide. Getting connected to Sonos just got easier, with Sonos Labs.

Who can play: Any music service, anywhere in the world.
In a nutshell: It’s easy to integrate using the Sonos Music API – and it’s free!
How it works: Do it all online, in 3 easy steps:

Register as a Sonos Music Partner.
Access the Sonos Music API, Technical Documentation & Tools Suite.
Develop & Submit to Sonos for Review.



There it is in plain English: Any music service in the world can become a Sonos Music Partner "- and it's free!"
Besides, Spotify hasn't made dime one yet, it would be pretty silly of them to start dividing up their already unprofitable subscription fees. 😉
Userlevel 7
Badge +21


So, to summarize, I can no longer listen to individual artist concerts or artists without paying a subscription. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is something that I did not have to do before I purchased a Sonos system.



Actually you can still do all of that. You just can't do it through Sonos.
So, once again this argument boils down to "I wanted to buy PC speakers and didn't bother checking if that's what Sonos make. Now I know they don't make PC speakers I'm looking to blame anyone I can for my own lack of research."

BTW not wanting to be antagonistic is not the same as not being antagonistic, "it's just banter mate, don't take it seriously!"
Badge +1
A special thanks is due for JGatie and Ratty and other tireless supporters of the Sonos User Community. These good people never cut corners when sharing their experience and when answering questions from the public at large. Your patience, diligence and service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Userlevel 1
Apparently, I'm far from being he only customer who feels that it was not at all clear why sponsorized streaming from Spotify etc does not work on the Sonos system.
In addition, the company has a very strange way of fielding customer criticism. This was an opportunity to make me a loyal customer by convincing me with some semblance of a rational discussion. Instead, the responses have been condescending and defensive. Good luck. i have better things to spend my time on.
Apparently, I'm far from being he only customer who feels that it was not at all clear why sponsorized streaming from Spotify etc does not work on the Sonos system.
It's perfectly clear: Spotify (or any other service) sets its own policies and simply doesn't allow it.

In addition, the company has a very strange way of fielding customer criticism. This was an opportunity to make me a loyal customer by convincing me with some semblance of a rational discussion. Instead, the responses have been condescending and defensive.

But your criticism should be aimed at Spotify, which is the point which we've been attempting to stress. Sonos has no say in the matter.

As for communication mechanisms, this board is but one. The responses you've received here have been offered by experienced users who've been around long enough to appreciate how these things work. You're perfectly free to contact Sonos Support privately, whether via the main support page or by PM to anyone marked as Sonos staff.
Apparently, I'm far from being he only customer who feels that it was not at all clear why sponsorized streaming from Spotify etc does not work on the Sonos system.
In addition, the company has a very strange way of fielding customer criticism. This was an opportunity to make me a loyal customer by convincing me with some semblance of a rational discussion. Instead, the responses have been condescending and defensive. Good luck. i have better things to spend my time on.


Take a look at your responses. After kindly being told three easily proven facts about music services on Sonos, you proceeded to imply I was a hired shill for the company, and that my statement about the Sonos Music Partners program being free was a lie. We aren't the ones with communication problems, friend.
The truth is that they advertise this in such a way that the fact of sonos not letting you stream the music out of spotify free account is hiding, it's is obvious that it is false advertisement so that you rush and buy the product. I bought sonos about 3 years ago thinking that it was the best thing of the world but it has just been a speaker sitting in my home office since its funtionalities are very limited. I would assume that this is because they don't want to share the revenue with other companies and other companies won't share revenue with sonos either. Just get use to people or simply return the equipment.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Advertise in such a way ... does salotify advertise that it's connect service requires premium. I mean they don't make any money giving you free service and then invest in all the bells and whistles.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Advertise in such a way ... does spotify advertise that it's connect service requires premium. I mean they don't make any money giving you free service and then invest in all the bells and whistles.

Just because someone is ants something for free is no justification to come bash Sonos on the requirements set forth the providers.

Spotify is in the business of generating revenue from those using its service no matter what the free users think that are entitled to.
That all sounds good and all that you want but, what good does it make to have a Bugatti engine in your garage without the rest of the car?
It is the same when having an okay system like Sonos but it's almost like if it is meant for the reach or upper middle class to use it to its fullest potential ...
If I was SONOS's general manager, every home in America would have a Sonos player at its reach.
That means 300 million people aprox.
Think about it.
That all sounds good and all that you want but, what good does it make to have a Bugatti engine in your garage without the rest of the car?
It is the same when having an okay system like Sonos but it's almost like if it is meant for the reach or upper middle class to use it to its fullest potential ...
If I was SONOS's general manager, every home (working class) in America would have a Sonos player at its reach.
That means 175 million people aprox.
Think about it.
Userlevel 1
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I have to be honest - I believe that Sonos is slightly misleading in this respect as well. I just bought and installed two play:1s, and I do love them, but it was jarring when I attempted to play the first Spotify song and received the prompt about upgrading to premium. Could I have dug deeper into Sonos's website and found this information, sure. But it'd be disingenuous to say Sonos is clear on this point in their primary marketing. Disappointing revelation is a fair statement.
Disappointing revelation is a fair statement.
As with all streaming services Spotify sets the policy, not Sonos. Googling instantly leads one to https://www.spotify.com/us/sonos/ where they set out their stall.
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Ratty - that's fair. However, what is in Sonos' control is how they advertise their relationship with Spotify on their website. The simple use of the word 'Premium' directly following Spotify on all web pages would be more accurate, and helpful to consumers. Is it missing intentionally? Who knows. But it certainly SHOULD be clearly identified, and one could argue it benefits Sonos not to...