Sonos wants to become the hub of digital music

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Sonos, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based maker of digital music players wants to become the hub of digital music inside your home. Bolstered by the success of its partnerships with services such as Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio and Spotify, the company now apparently wants to launch an API that would allow any music service to integrate with the Sonos platform. Earlier today, I stumbled upon a page for Sonos Labs that hints of these grand ambitions.

This seems to be a bigger shift for the company and a smart one. In its first incarnation, the company was laser focused on developing wifi-enabled hardware. However, as the consumption patterns changed from buying music to subscribing to music, Sonos adapted to a connected experience. In a post (Why the future of hardware is services) earlier this year I wrote that for hardware to have attention in our busy lives, it needs to be able to have services on top of the dumb hardware.

To me, services are a way for hardware owners to increase engagement with their gadgets. When I first got Sonos, I listened to my own library of music. Then I signed up for Internet radio stations, and lately, I’ve been testing Spotify’s streaming service. Result? It’s now playing in the background, pretty much all the time.

Just as on the social web, engagement drives usage and this usage can then be monetized. Apple’s monetization is coming in the form of the increased use of its payment system, which results in a 30 percent cut of the total sales. On a Kindle, the more books you read, the more you buy, and the more money Amazon makes on the sales of these e-books.

I think in our device-infested and attention-deprived lives, services — if built well — foster constant and ongoing engagement.

So what kinds of services would I like to see coming to the Sonos via this API? Access to Turntable.fm on the Sonos with ability to create a room via my iPad would definitely be nice.

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