Sonos today unveiled software innovations including voice control and partner app integrations that make it easier than ever for listeners to navigate, discover and share music in their homes. The company also demonstrated how partners are building new connected home experiences on the Sonos platform, further bolstering its leadership in multi-room home audio.
“With the unprecedented growth in streaming, music has become abundant and immediate,” said Sonos Chief Executive Officer John MacFarlane. “Together with a growing ecosystem of partners, we’re making sure Sonos owners can easily play the music they love out loud in every room in the home, and intuitively control that experience using our app, our partners’ apps, touch and voice.”
Alexa, Turn It Up!
Sonos owners with an Alexa-enabled device such as an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot will soon be able to use Amazon’s popular Alexa service to control their Sonos sound system, the companies announced. The software integration – collaboratively built from the ground up using the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) SDK – taps into both Sonos’ and Alexa’s existing music capabilities, so owners don’t have to learn additional commands or key words. Simply ask Alexa to play your music from Amazon Music, Spotify and more and it will flow to any group of Sonos speakers in the home. By integrating Alexa into their Sonos sound systems, owners can use their voice to play, pause, skip, control volume and more.
“Our Amazon customers love listening to music. With Echo and Alexa, we combined that love of music with the ease of hands-free voice control, and today, music is one of the most-used features on Alexa-enabled devices,” said Mike George, vice president, Amazon. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Sonos to combine the magic of Alexa with an incredible way to listen to music in every room in the home.”
“Our mission is to fill every home with music,” said Sonos President Patrick Spence. “We don’t care what you listen to, how you get to it, or in what room – we just want it to be effortless, quick and epic. Alexa on Sonos will be all that, and fun too.”
These new voice capabilities will be delivered in a software update that will work with new and previously purchased Sonos and Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire TV. The companies will begin rolling out the experience through an invite-only beta test later this year, with general availability in 2017.
I Want My Spotify
Sonos also announced a Spotify Connect integration with additional functionality that will make it the only whole-home sound system that can be fully controlled directly from the feature-rich Spotify app, including play controls and easy access to grouping and ungrouping of rooms. Spotify will be the first music streaming service that allows Spotify Premium listeners to have full control of the music all over their homes outside the Sonos app.
This inherently social listening experience also makes it possible for everyone in the home to control a listening session with both the Spotify and Sonos apps, which stay linked with one another. Friends coming over? They can connect to your WiFi and use their own Spotify app to instantly play music to your Sonos speakers without downloading the Sonos app. And as you can control your Sonos system when you’re away from your home WiFi, you can now have music playing for you as soon as you come home.
“Fifty percent of all Sonos households use Spotify,” said Sonos Vice President of Software Antoine Leblond. “By tightly integrating the Spotify experience with the Sonos system, we’ve created an easier way for Sonos owners to get music out of their phones and playing all around their homes.”
“We’re excited to partner with Sonos and enhance the at-home listening experience,” said Gustav Söderström, chief product officer at Spotify. “Spotify listeners can now seamlessly transition their listening throughout the day from their headphones, to the car, to their computers or to their Sonos system at home, with complete control of all their favourite Spotify features, directly from the Spotify app.”
This free software update will be available in October as part of the Sonos public beta programme.