Sonos launched its first in-house music streaming offering: Sonos Radio, a digital streaming radio service that includes both existing radio stations from TuneIn and iHeartRadio, as well as its own original programming through three new products, including two ad-free offers and one ad-supported option.
Sonos original streaming options include Sonos Sound System; a single ad-free station hosted by Sonos itself, which will broadcast “new and known” music, as well as snippets of artist stories about their music, as well as hours hosted by selected artists themselves. Sonos says it’s about mixing crowd-pleasing songs with the occasional song you might have missed, with the goal of creating a unique flow that will have wide appeal.
There are also artist stations, which also do not have advertising, and which are handpicked by artists and feature a selection of songs they like or which inspired them. The first of those stations, which kicks off with the launch of Sonos Radio, is “In the Absence Thereof…” by Thom Yorke, with more to follow in the “weeks to come” including stations by Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes , David Byrne and many others.
The final component of the original Sonos streaming content is Sonos Stations, which includes over 30 dedicated genre stations. These are also free, but ad-supported, so you’ll hear the occasional promotional message throughout the stream, much like with Spotify’s free tier.
To date, Sonos has acted strictly as an integrator for third-party services, leveraging the platform layer to provide multi-room streaming in-house through its Sonos speaker and audio equipment products. This is his first foray into the service business, so it’s a big change. I asked if these signals are shifting more to streaming, especially through a potential premium paid offering with on-demand content, which would more directly compete with some of its bigger partners, including Apple, Google and Spotify, and the director of the Sonos product marketing, Ryan Richards. do not close the door to this possibility.
“It’s about listening back, it’s about discovery,” he said. “There are also many active listening options available, and what we really focus on is providing the best possible radio service to our customers. In the future, we’ll see how that changes, but that’s what we’re focusing on now. “
At launch, the global radio option supported by iHeartRadio and TuneIn will be available worldwide, but original Sonos Radio products will only be available in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland and Australia , with the company planning to expand availability in the future. Its internal offerings are fueled by an agreement with Napster to use their streaming catalog, and Richards told me that this arrangement also limits the availability of the services. However, Sonos is working on signing additional streaming license partners for an extended geographic footprint and catalog size.
New features in Sonos Radio will not be compatible with voice control through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa on Sonos hardware that supports this at launch, although Richards says the company is considering adding it as a future update. feature day. Sonos also acquired a startup that built its own smart voice assistant last November, which could potentially result in another internal offering to reduce its reliance on partners at some point in the future.
To access it, anyone with a Sonos system should see the new offering in their Sonos app through a software update available today.