Multiple Libraries and Users

  • 3 November 2013
  • 38 replies
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There appear to be several questions in the forum related to multiple libraries and multiple user functionality for Sonos. Most are currently marked as answered through work arounds or explanations on why this functionality is not currently available. I would like to put forward this topic as an idea so it can be up voted and tracked.

Sonos is a brilliant system, however in homes with multiple listeners who wish to maintain separate music libraries and services there is no specific functionality. Viewing by folder is not an option for people who carefully manage their music library through valid metadata and other methods to ensure proper music organisation which is broken by folder based viewing.

If multiple libraries were added then then when browsing music 'Music Library' could be replaced by one or more named libraries (which in turn would collect potentially a number of shares).

Multiple users with separate music service accounts, libraries and permitted zones would be the ideal extension of this concept but for many users I think just multiple libraries would be a big step in the right direction. All of these ideas should be implemented in a way that doesn't change the existing system if you only have a single user/library so the complexity only affects those who want to use it.

A big part of making a system like Sonos a success in a household (and therefore encouraging more zones) is more people in the household taking advantage of the system. The current constraints make it much more difficult to convince others in the household to use the same system in their own rooms, causing fragmentation with other users getting independent systems.

Music services serve as a great means of tracking listening habits for building playlists and music selection, having these tied to a single account for a entire household also limits their value in this respect.

Would like to see if others in the community feel these features are also important to have and show Sonos if this demand exists.

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38 replies

I  agree! The lack of access for multiple users was a great surprise - and disappointment. Sonos will do itself a great injustice if it does not come up with a fix for this, not to mention the  purchasers who assumed this functionality.

 I resorted to purchasing a non Sonos Bluetooth speaker for others in my household as a work around - a compromise while workable, was not ideal.

You listening Sonos?
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I agree with all of the above. I purchased a play:5 and a play:1 and presumed they would work with multiple user accounts (myself & my husband have very different taste) seen as Sonos is one of the leading wireless systems on the market- I now feel totally ripped off & disappointed! The system is designed for multiple rooms in a single person household. This is not stated clearly enough when purchased. People are spending a lot of money on Sonos products thinking they are going to be great only to find they cannot use them as they will only link to one person's music accounts! Sonos- please sort this out!!!
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I agree with this idea. As well as the points raised about multiple users/family members, it would also be useful for people who maintain multiple music libraries for different file types/formats.

I myself have a FLAC and MP3 collection. If I have the same album in both formats, adding both folder locations into the Sonos library leads to duplicate entries.

As such, being able to have separate libraries under a single user would be very useful.
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I was very surprised to find this limitation with the Sonos system. A multi zoned network music system with only a single user? I suppose its just another example of the bizarre Sonos experience.

I was thinking of adding two more zones to my network but this will not happen unless I can accomodate multiple users.
I'd like to know where, in the Sonos promotional material, this is all explained. If it's there, I never saw it, and I dropped more than $700 on a Sonos setup on the assumption that my wife and I could keep our music libraries separate. The system -- admirable in many ways -- is useless to us. I do realize I could be missing something, but it doesn't seem as though I am.
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This is a duplicate of another, more popular idea thread. https://ask.sonos.com/sonos/topics/support_multiple_spotify_accounts f you have not already done so, please add your support & upvote the other thread.
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This is a duplicate of another, more popular idea thread. https://ask.sonos.com/sonos/topics/support_multiple_spotify_accounts f you have not already done so, please add your support & upvote the other thread.
While I haven't read all replies on that thread it seems to be more oriented towards multiple music service accounts (e.g., Spotify) rather than multiple libraries. From the response to that thread it looks like a lot more people may be using streaming services than local libraries. My feeling is it would be ideal to see a general 'user' based approach in which essentially all settings (libraries, streaming services, favourites, playlists etc) can be specific to a given user. In any event I have joined the other thread also since it looks like having a great chance of succeeding.
To salvage the money spent, I bought a Bridge (to go with the Connect I had) and pretended that the system in my wife's work area was in another apartment . . . then I set up the other system in such as way that it ignored the other.  So now we both have our own libraries. The only thing we can't do is play from one library onto the other system. But that's not a serious drawback. I do wish that Sonos could find a way to be very upfront about this. They regard it (shared libraries) as a feature, not a bug. OK, fine. But tell it like it is, and then explain how to mess with the system to create the effect of independent libraries. How hard would that be? It would have saved me a couple of hours searching for just the right search terms.
This is one of the top two items on my "Sonos wishlist." (Support for sort tags is the other.) My girlfriend and I have separate iTunes libraries, and we would like to keep them that way. Ideally, Sonos would provide an easy way on each controller to choose (and change) which library is being browsed and searched. It would also be possible to browse and search multiple libraries at once, as it is now, if that is what the user wanted.
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I agree!  I would love to see this feature added. I have a very large (250GB) music collection that is way too hard to look through as one library.  I have it grouped into Folders by Genre (kind of) and would like to add each of these as its own library.  I know the folder view allows some of this, but then you lose all the other Library functionality. 
Agreed. Did a lot of reading up on Sonos before buying it for my family for Christmas, but never perceived that I could not add multiple music libraries. This is not good news.
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Just to clarify, you can add multiple libraries, they just all show up in one big library in Sonos.  I think you should be able to have multiple libraries that should up in your Sonos, and you can should be able to choose to have libraries (i.e. music files) consolidated with an existing library or to create an new library. 
Just to clarify, you can add multiple libraries, they just all show up in one big library in Sonos.  I think you should be able to have multiple libraries that should up in your Sonos, and you can should be able to choose to have libraries (i.e. music files) consolidated with an existing library or to create an new library. 
Thanks for that info. I can live with the consolidated accounts
I agree with all the above comments.  If Sonos wants to stay the leader in this market  they need to work hard to keep advancing the software.  Multi-user capability with separate libraries is a must.  I just bought a system and I am very disappointed that this capability does not exist.  This limitation should be documented in the literature which it is not.  Maybe Bose is taking notes on all of this.  I hope Sonos can make these improvements soon.
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Just bought my first Sonos products (Z90 and Play:1) and I feel already this is a great solution. Will add two more Z90 to my house.

However multiple libraries would make the system not great but perfect!
I'd love two have the ability to split the music collection into:
My music: Classical
My music: Popular
My music: demo stuff (since I'm in music bussiness I have a lot of unfinished material to listen to)
My wifes music (not so well organized)
My kids music

A lot of libraries but it would make browsing a lot easier.
I just want to weigh in on this. I completely support the need for multiple libraries. I have the same situation as User753348. I have a FLAC drive and an MP3 collection. I want to be able to browse each separately without using only Folders. Sonos, PLEASE!!!!!
I totally agree. Wether it is multi-users or single users with different (Flac / MP3) Libraries. The same goes here. My wife and me have diffrent tastes. Furthermore, my doughter (7 years) all has a completely different taste. I personally (if I see myself as a single user) would like to split my librarier in an newer and older taste of music. Sometimes I still like to listen to the music I used to when I was youn(ger). But I don't want this music to be in my current library.

Since (in my opinion) it's only a software thing it's dissapointing that a premium brand as Sonos doesn't take this opportunity and profiles itself as such!

My wife want's to go back to a CD-collection again ..... Sonos help me!!
I completely agree.

I'm now at the point where I've had to completely remove my music library from the Sonos system so my wife can use it.

It's been the only real sticking point I have with Sonos: the way it allows me to view and select music from the library sucks.

This seems like a major flaw, Sonos. The hardware: stunning. The setup and on-boarding: excellent. The integration with music services: flawless. The navigation of multiple music libraries... TERRIBLE.

Please please please fix. (Also, I'd be delighted to come and work on the UX for you if you're looking for someone to help.)
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It's been the only real sticking point I have with Sonos: the way it allows me to view and select music from the library sucks.
Have you looked into using the "Folders" option to browse your multiple music libraries? It makes it just like using Windows Explorer/OS X Finder to browse the music files/folders.

I have two different folders added to my Sonos system - one with my iTunes library, and another with a growing number of FLAC files. There are duplicates between them (not many, but a few), so to make sure I listen to the version I want, I use the Folders option to select which library I want, then browse through the folders to get to the album I want. This also allows each person to organize their music as they see fit (some people want all albums in one folder, others want albums as a subfolder of the artist, etc.).
Thanks @MikeV, I'll look at that.
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Thanks for this thread. Never even realised the 'Folders' option. Anyway, it's a make do till multiple user support comes thru, and hopefully it will.
The "Folders" option is a terrible workaround - and it is a workaround. You can't search the sub-folders by Genre etc, so you can't take advantage of the meta-data that we spend so much time applying to make our music collection attractive and manageable.

As more family members are ripping music and expecting to be able to utilize the household Sonos system, it becomes more un-usable for me, and harder for them to engage with since everyone is presented with music that they have no interest in.

This system needs the ability to create multiple music libraries.
I couldn't agree more with this topic. It is also something I overlooked when researching Sonos. I seriously considered returning my Sonos but am hoping they will add this function soon. When they do I will look to expand my systems but until this features I will not be fully comfortable relying on it as my wife and I have very different tastes in music and in fact have different language so in a combined alum and track search, it would be a mess.

I had a thought as a workaround tho. I have not tried it so it is only a thought but what if we try create a streaming service to account for the second library. My idea would be to create an apple music account. I haven't looked fully into it but if Sonos treats this as a streaming service I think that will allow my wife to play her music on Sonos through that and I will do it through the regular Library. This is a workaround again but might be work looking into.
I couldn't agree more with this topic. It is also something I overlooked when researching Sonos. I seriously considered returning my Sonos but am hoping they will add this function soon. When they do I will look to expand my systems but until this features I will not be fully comfortable relying on it as my wife and I have very different tastes in music and in fact have different language so in a combined alum and track search, it would be a mess.

I had a thought as a workaround tho. I have not tried it so it is only a thought but what if we try create a streaming service to account for the second library. My idea would be to create an apple music account. I haven't looked fully into it but if Sonos treats this as a streaming service I think that will allow my wife to play her music on Sonos through that and I will do it through the regular Library. This is a workaround again but might be work looking into.


Sonos treats every account on music services as a separate "library". You could, in fact, get a family account on Apple Music, add both your wife's and your information as separate accounts, load your personal libraries to iCloud, and have them appear as separate libraries/accounts on Sonos. You can also assign a default Apple Music account to each controller, so your phone will default to "Mr. Jennings1 Apple Music" and hers to "Mrs. Jennings1 Apple Music". Amazon Music and Google Play Music also have similar cloud functions.

Indeed, it would be helpful if Sonos could extend this multiple account/library facility to the local music library, but I assume there are index/hardware limitations to this.
Hi Jgatie,

Thanks so much for the reply. Glad to hear that through these streaming services we can achieve some sort of multi users. Hope they release an update soon with this functionality within the music library system itself.