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Sonos App just doesn't cut it - Why can't we use other apps?


I just want to be able to use the Spotify app and play music on my Sonos system. Is that too much too ask? Spotify's app is great. Sonos speaker system is great. They are a natural combo. An easier/better integration between these two great things would simply make life better. What needs to be done to make this happen? Let's get to work.

I hope I'm not missing something here... I'm fairly new to sonos, but I haven't found a way to play anything on sonos without going through the sonos app (let me know if I'm wrong on this). The more I use Spotify away from home the more I get frustrated with the Sonos app. So why is it setup this way? What's the functional, technical or business reasoning behind this annoyance? Anyone with insight please share.

(Soapbox spiel - just a heads up)
Personally, I think sonos would be a much more attractive system if it had an open format and could be used with any application. I certainly didn't buy my first speakers because I heard the app was awesome. I didn't even know there was an app. I wanted good speakers, for multiple rooms, that could work together or separately, were easy to set up and could be rearranged if needed. Boom - Sonos is perfect. My dumbass obviously didn't consider the whole app thing. I assumed that anything played on my cpu, iPad, or phone via my wifi could be thrown onto the Sonos system similar how I use my bose blue tooth speaker. I wasn't much interested in learning how to use another new app.

I could imagine that sonos's strategy with the app was to consolidate and therefore simplify. Simplicity is a big selling point and sonos delivers on setup and install. But it aint working on the app and I don't think can. For one, learning new stuff is hard. It's much simpler to continue using the apps you like and just adjust the volume for your new sonos system. And second, consolidation will probably always result in an inferior product compared to the original app. For the most part, I assume, apps being consolidated into sonos are not created specifically for it, so concessions and compromises have to be made for each in order to get any sort of integration. The apps we've grown to love and use in and out of the home just won't be as good through the sonos app.

You could say having to connect sonos speakers to spotify through the sonos app is kind of like having having two really nice cars - say a Tesla model S and an Escalade - but you can't fully enjoy either. You can only drive them remotely from a 2008 Honda Odyssey. Don't get me wrong, the Odyssey is pretty nice. It's dependable and utilitarian. But hell, there are two really nice cars in your driveway that are way more fun to drive. And even worse, you've already paid for them. You can see the escalade. You can even get in it and mess with the buttons, but if you want to take it for a spin it's back to the Odyssey you go.

So in conclusion, using the current Sonos and spotify combo is like driving a 2008 Honda Odyssey after buying a Tesla Model S and Cadillac Escalade. Sooner than later, the Odyssey gets ditched in order to fully enjoy one of the nicer rides. I hope sonos doesn't let their app drag them down and limit their potential. Some decision makers may see potential future revenue streams being created via consolidation of services through the app, but from my use of the product - that dog won't hunt. Sonos is the speaker system, let more people hear it and let somebody else handle the apps.

Cheers!
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Best answer by Ryan S 23 February 2019, 20:59

It may be worth saying in this 2+-year-old thread that Spotify Connect is available on Sonos and you can use the Spotify app to play directly on Sonos. The same sort of direct control is also available from Google Play Music (on Android), iHeartRadio, Deezer, and a few others. On top of that, you can also use AirPlay2 with just about any app from iOS to the Sonos One, Beam, Amp, Play:5 gen2, and Playbase.
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32 replies

Sonos worked with Google so that you can stream direct from Google Play Music app. Spotify have never been willing to do so. Your entire post is directed to the wrong company.
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Sonos worked with Google so that you can stream direct from Google Play Music app. Spotify have never been willing to do so. Your entire post is directed to the wrong company.

I've seen this said elsewhere in another thread. Maybe from you. Out of interest, where does the evidence come from that Sonos have been willing to work with companies other than Google to integrate a cast button into their apps? I haven't seen it stated by Sonos.

My guess (and it is just a complete guess) had been that the Google Play Music integration was an experiment perhaps paid for by Google which benefited them as a learning exercise prior to Google Cast.
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Sonos worked with Google so that you can stream direct from Google Play Music app. Spotify have never been willing to do so. Your entire post is directed to the wrong company.
Huh? Spotify even created an API for speaker creators.
Huh? Spotify even created an API for speaker creators.

If only it was just "an API for speaker creators". Spotify Connect requires (required? Is it even around anymore?) licensing and exclusivity deals, something Sonos, with their pledge to remain service neutral, is (was) not willing to do. Google requires no such stipulations. So once again, the onus is on Spotify.
I find that having to switch between multiple, dissimilar apps for all the services I use, as required by Chromecast, is far more annoying. Greatly prefer the seamless integration of all services in the beautifully designed Sonos app.

But I'm not tied to a single provider, especially one with an unsustainable business model like Spotify, and have no use for all the social media features that have nothing to do with music.

When I use GPM, it's never via the GPM app, which isn't as reliable as the Sonos app.
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I can see the argument for both sonos app and native apps.
Old time users with big pockets are happily entrenched, probably with NAS collection as well.
However new younger users want the latest thing and the app to go with it. Sonos will need to keep the new young users coming as they are likely to buy more sonos stuff in the future.
So why not offer chromecast to sonos for these users from native apps.
Surely you must agree bbc iplayer radio app is far far better than sonos tune-in experience.
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Surely you must agree bbc iplayer radio app is far far better than sonos tune-in experience.


Only for non-live stations where I agree that the TuneIn solution for podcast/catch-up is less than ideal (being polite). however, that is more down to BBC/TuneIn issues
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Surely you must agree bbc iplayer radio app is far far better than sonos tune-in experience.


Only for non-live stations where I agree that the TuneIn solution for podcast/catch-up is less than ideal (being polite). however, that is more down to BBC/TuneIn issues


I've just started trying out the bbc ipayer app recently, and I have to say I agree with Paulw123. Non-live broadcasts are certainly superior in the bbc app but I also think It's great having detailed program schedules and programme information (provided in the bbc app) even when listening live.

However I do also see the value of the Sonos app. I think the simplicity of being able to control the system from a single interface is very compelling, especially when you have non-techie people using the system. I suspect Sonos are reluctant to support Chromecast because it would mean less services choosing to integrate into the Sonos app.

But I wonder if Sonos could somehow impose a constraint where cast functionality is only available to those services which also support the Sonos controller.
I agree with the original post.

The Sonos app can never keep up with the many apps its trying to replace. Spotify continuously updates their app to add new features. Pandora does. Apple does.

You can't expect Sonos to keep up with all changes for all apps.

However, that is exactly why it should allow direct casting from those apps. And Chromecast audio support is an easy way to achieve this.

Plus, it would add support for many other apps, such as YouTube, with one simple move.

Please Sonos, add Chromecast support.

It would make Sonos an easier sell for anyone who's worried about "lock in", because so many apps can cast audio, that it's no longer a reason to worry.

D.
Chromecast Audio support will not add YouTube support, because even though Google owns both, they will not allow YouTube to play on an audio only WiFi streamer. They want your eyes on the ads, and since Sonos and Chromecast Audio stream directly to the device, bypassing the phone/tablet, they don't support YouTube and likely never will.
You're probably right about YouTube.

Still, adding Chromecast support would allow us to use many great apps, like the Spotify app, with Sonos directly.
You can cast you tube to Chromecast audio by casting the screen of your device via the chromecast app. Not ideal as it ties up your mobile device but it does work.
Sonos looks nice, but I think I prefer chromecast audio. Especially for the price!
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If you are going to buy equal quality to play1, powered speakers to fit a chromecast audio to, there isn't much cost difference in it, and sonos is easier to use, just press pause button and music resumes.
If you already have hifi kit available with aux line-in, then GCA a no brainer.
I have both which is messy. Just waiting to be able to cast to sonos as well, grouping individual speakers would be enough.
Totally agree. I'm ready to purchase new speakers for this very reason. We should be able to listen to music using Sonos with iTunes as the music library. What's the use otherwise?
Totally agree. I'm ready to purchase new speakers for this very reason. We should be able to listen to music using Sonos with iTunes as the music library. What's the use otherwise?

Who said you can't use iTunes as the library? You most certainly can. It will even import your iTunes playlists:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/261/kw/adding%20itunes%20library
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Who said you can't use iTunes as the library? You most certainly can. It will even import your iTunes playlists:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/261/kw/adding%20itunes%20library

Up to a point. Sonos will only index a MAXIMUM of 65,000 songs. It may be less depending on how much space is taken by tags. I have over 90,000 songs and I use tags extensively and so get an error message which states "There is not enough room to update your music library. Please remove unused queues or saved playlists and try again." This means that Sonos cannot access all the songs on my playlists.

I agree with the original poster, if you just want to stream from Spotify etc and have moderate sized collectin then Sonos has some merits however if just want to wirelessly use your existing set up then Sonos seems to have many limitations.

I'm really disappointed in this speaker. I was expecting to just be able to play my music wirelessly. Instead I had to download an app, only to discover that my music collection is too big as there's an upper limit of 65,000 tracks. Consequently my iTunes playlists will not play on the app.
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Who said you can't use iTunes as the library? You most certainly can. It will even import your iTunes playlists:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/261/kw/adding%20itunes%20library

Up to a point. Sonos will only index a MAXIMUM of 65,000 songs. It may be less depending on how much space is taken by tags. I have over 90,000 songs and I use tags extensively and so get an error message which states "There is not enough room to update your music library. Please remove unused queues or saved playlists and try again." This means that Sonos cannot access all the songs on my playlists.

I agree with the original poster, if you just want to stream from Spotify etc and have moderate sized collectin then Sonos has some merits however if just want to wirelessly use your existing set up then Sonos seems to have many limitations.

I'm really disappointed in this speaker. I was expecting to just be able to play my music wirelessly. Instead I had to download an app, only to discover that my music collection is too big as there's an upper limit of 65,000 tracks. Consequently my iTunes playlists will not play on the app.


I've not tried but I believe that you can play your iTunes playlist even if that music hasn't been indexed - As long as it is pointing to a file location that Sonos can access
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Thanks Stuart. I believe that is correct. The Sonos system can play a song which hasn't been indexed as long as it lives in a directory that Sonos has permissions to access. If the song is not in a folder shared with Sonos, but the permissions are right, Sonos can play that track from an imported playlist.

Do you know how to give access to a directory but to stop Sonos from trying to catalogue (if that's the right word) each track. At the moment I get the error message "There is not enough room to update your music library. Please remove unused queues or saved playlists and try again."
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Just don't try to index it?
Or split into folders each with fewer than 65,000 tracks and only index 1
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Thanks again Stuart. I have some playlists with many thousands of songs on and - if I understand how Sonos works - I would have to make sure that every track on each playlist was indexed in order to play it. Is that correct?
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Well you'd need to index the playlist but you don't have to index the music files. Caveat - I don't use Playlists at all but this is how it works.
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OK. Thanks again. To be honest I'm thinking of getting rid of the Sonos and going with BOSE soundlink as all I really want to do is play my existing set up and not learn a new app which clearly does not easily achieve what I can already do.
I had some trouble initially with Spotify having trouble to connect to my PLAY:1 unless I first did it through the Sonos app. If I succesfull managed to get Spotify to controll my music and volume etc. it often worked slow and if I wanted to switch from the Sonos app to control it through the Spotify app, it often didn't work seamlessly. The music would stop and I had to try to reconnect from Spotify a bunch of times before I succeeded.
Since I earlier had been able to control my friends Sonos without having the Sonos App myself, I decided to try something that had struck me.
I removed Sonos-access from my spotify account and also removed Spotify from the Sonos App.

Now I can use the Spotify App to control my Sonos, and it works way better and faster than before. I have no idea why or how it works, but now it's as user friendly as my chromecasts.

It's actually sad that Sonos have chosen to lock their users to their own app and force people to create a Sonos account.
A membership with them should be optional and they should focus the app on enhanced and advanced features of their products.
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It's actually sad that Sonos have chosen to lock their users to their own app and force people to create a Sonos account.
A membership with them should be optional and they should focus the app on enhanced and advanced features of their products.


This mis-understands the situation I believe. The app simply controls the device (It doesn't process any audio)... allowing someone else's app to control the device... well that requires the people who write that app to build the connection... and Sonos has indeed provided the means for them to do so.

I'm open to being corrected on the specifics, but I understand that Sonos has created an API to allow audio service providers to integrate with Sonos devices. It is up to the providers to build this, not Sonos. And many of them are... under their own requirements that they have for their own reasons... (Sonos doesn't control if you need a "premium" account for Spotify use as an example...Spotify does). Sonos provides the API that provides a way for content to be delivered by web-based services and consumed by their playback devices.

As well, Sonos is working to provide API functionality for home automation tools and is working with Amazon to bring their products into the voice controlled environment. While Sonos is a controlled environment by nature of being a wifi whole home audio solution that requires its own controllable infrastructure, Sonos is actively working with partners to enable the use of the Sonos products on their platforms...