Sonos no longer works if I block their metric tracking DNS

  • 8 November 2020
  • 9 replies
  • 1032 views

I could use some clarity on what Sonos are doing in regard to gathering metrics and stats on what I use my system for.

Firstly my problem - For some weird reason my Spotify account became completely unlinked from Sonos so nothing would play through my speakers. I went into the app and re-added the account but still, nothing would play.

The symptoms are the Spotify system would sit on “connecting” when I asked it to play through the SONOS, eventually timing out, or, the SONOS app would attempt to play a song and throw an error about the connection to Spotify being “lost”.

I run a “PiHole” DNS sinkhole on my home network to prevent unncessicary connections from my IoT devices “phoning home” to send my usage data to various providers (Samsung, Philips Hue, Amazon, Sonos etc).

I have not been prompted, asked, warned or given any consent for this data to be collected, gathered or sent back to any vendor simply to be able to use their products. Fairly sure there are opt-in laws in Europe about this behaivour under GDPR.

I see no real reason why this should be mandatory simply to allow a set of speakers to play songs from a service I subscribe to.

Now, what I have found is fairly clear to me. My PiHole sinks any connection to msmetrics.ws.sonos.com via “gravity”. 

When PiHole sinks this connection, my Sonos is effectively bricked. Nothing on my home network will work through the speakers, nothing connects and it simply sits there for a bit then times out. Sometimes I get the message “Unable to play <song>. The connection to Spotify was lost”.

 

I can see the DNS request being blocked by the PiHole.

 

Now the bit that bothers me - as soon as I add that address to the whitelist, my entire system kicks into life and everything works. This doesn’t just bother me, this really annoys me. 

I seem to now be in a position where I’m unable to use the speaker system that I’ve spent a good couple of thousand pounds on if I’m unwilling to allow the transmission of usage and tracking data back to SONOS that I haven’t consented to.

If I want to simply play tunes on a speaker, using a service that I pay a regular subscription for, I’m expected to allow SONOS to effectively spy on my usage of said system, or not use it at all?

Would someone from SONOS care to comment please?

I’d very much like a solution where I can block (opt-out) of my data being collected and transmitted to SONOS without it turning my speakers into bricks.

If this isn’t resolved to my satisfaction I’ll just beome another angry voice complaining to the ICO about this clear breach of GDPR.


9 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +13

Hi @D1m3b4g, welcome to the Sonos Community, and thanks for bringing this up. Sonos is a wireless device dependent on your network and to enjoy the most out of it. Having that to control like a VPN connection may cause problems just like what you have and since turning it off or adding it to the whitelist, allows you to reconnects to your system that means it’s the Pi-Hole causing it. You can check the Sonos, Inc. TERMS OF USE and Sonos, Inc. Privacy Statement. Also, you can always opt-out of Additional Usage Data collection by logging in to your Sonos app for iOS or Android. Do it in just a couple of clicks. To opt-out please follow the instructions below.

Using the Sonos app for iOS or Android:

  1. Select the “Settings” tab
  2. Open “Data & Privacy” and look for the Additional Usage Data option
  3. In the IOS app, disable/slide off the “Turn usage sharing on”. In Android, untick the box that reads “Turn usage data sharing on”

Using the Sonos app on a Mac:

  1. From the menubar at the top of your screen click “Sonos” then “Preferences”
  2. On the left side of the window, click “Additional Usage Data”
  3. Untick the box that reads “Turn usage data sharing on”

Using the Sonos app on a PC:

  1. From the menubar at the top of the application window click “Manage” then “Settings”
  2. On the left side of the window, click “Additional Usage Data”
  3. Untick the box that reads “Turn usage data sharing on”

You may change your preferences at any time following the same steps.

Just let us know if you need anything. We and the community are always here to help.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

I haven’t found a way around allowing that connection. Sonos related blocks are added from these Pi-Hole lists:

 


Exact match found in exact whitelist msmetrics.ws.sonos.com Exact matches for msmetrics.ws.sonos.com found in: -

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/hosts - https://v.firebog.net/hosts/static/w3kbl.txt - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/anudeepND/blacklist/master/adservers.txt

 


Looking for just Sonos:

 Match found in exact whitelist   msmetrics.ws.sonos.com Match found in https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/hosts:   msmetrics.ws.sonos.com    click.email.sonos.com  Match found in https://v.firebog.net/hosts/static/w3kbl.txt:   msmetrics.ws.sonos.com  Match found in https://raw.githubusercontent.com/anudeepND/blacklist/master/adservers.txt:   msmetrics.ws.sonos.com  Match found in https://v.firebog.net/hosts/Prigent-Malware.txt:   yoursonosbeam.com  Match found in https://v.firebog.net/hosts/Prigent-Phishing.txt:   yoursonosbeam.com 

 

I haven’t had to unblock any but the metrics one.

Wow, this reinforces my reluctance to buy another Sonos product; reluctance that began with the mandatory account login and mandatory software/firmware updates.

I just wanted a quality, wireless speaker system. Not a data collection and listening device providing one more way for companies to mine my family for data trends.

I don't need to see your codebase to know that a dns sinkhole does not have to result in this sort of software behavior.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Try something other than Spotify - the ws.sonos.com endpoint is actually Spotify’s SMAPI endpoint (which is curiously hosted on Sonos’ domain) so your ire may be misdirected: could be entirely Spotify’s issue.

Userlevel 1
Badge +3

I am using openwrt software in my router with the additional package adblock installed. Works very similar as the pihole. What adblock does is to simply block any dns request in the router to blacklisted servers. Openwrt gives complete insight in all open connections to internet nodes/servers and either the firewall or the adblock can be used to manage those connections. 

I’ve added the connections to the metrics and update server addresses  from sonos to adblock’s blacklist  to stop it from updating my sonos environment to avoid losing the use of my 3 CR100’s and as others mentioned , stopping the metrics feed to sonos ( and other manufacturers) . The connections to the metrics server address keep appearing even after having opted out of the feedback in the sonos app.

I have no problems using the sonos nodes  this way( Play 5’s, old connects and Play1). Im not using spotify though and the firmware is quite old, as are my apps. Bottom line, I have frozen my setup quite a while now to be able to use the CR100’s and am happy the way the system is as it is. I certainly will have second thoughts about Sonos when doing a technology refresh of my music environment at home. I really would like to be able to use it for at least a decade without running the risk of a bricked item due to a software update rendering ‘old’ hardware useless.

 I really would like to be able to use it for at least a decade without running the risk of a bricked item due to a  software update rendering ‘old’ hardware useless.

Better stick with Sonos then, given their excellent record on that score, with all speakers, ZP80s, ZP100s etc still working well over 15 years after the earliest were launched.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Every electronic toy I bought back in 2006 is an orphan aside from my Sonos gear that is still supported for at least critical updates.

Most didn’t make it two years before the updates stopped and support changed to telling me I needed to upgrade rather then how to deal with my issue.

 

Userlevel 2

Using AdGuard since yesterday.

Same strange behaviour; devices disappearing and reappearing.

Unable to group devices, some services not working.

 

Disabling the privacy opt-in does not fix this.

Adding *.sonos.com to my whitelist does fix it.

Userlevel 2

 I really would like to be able to use it for at least a decade without running the risk of a bricked item due to a  software update rendering ‘old’ hardware useless.

Better stick with Sonos then, given their excellent record on that score, with all speakers, ZP80s, ZP100s etc still working well over 15 years after the earliest were launched.

Off-topic discussion, but still:

Not all devices are still working; 3 of my favorite waterproof controllers where bricked a few years ago.

Expanding my great environment is becoming harder since newer devices cannot be used with the V1 controller, which I do need to use because I am a long-time Sonos user with a mixed environment.

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