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Up until now, Sonos users have had to use the company’s own mobile or desktop app to access most music services. Sonos executives have talked in the past in general terms about potentially giving services direct access to its speakers. But a recent job posting for the position of a software test engineer spells clear plans to open up. It reads, in part:
“Sonos users want to control their Sonos systems with their favorite music service apps. Help make that a pervasive reality by designing and testing simple and elegant APIs to play and control your music on Sonos, allowing third party music services to easily integrate their apps with Sonos.”
Sonos has done a few experiments with third-party support in the past. The company integrated support for its speakers into QQ’s messaging app in China in 2013, and last year allowed Google to add direct playback to its app when the company brought its Google Play Music service to Sonos.
However, an open API would make it possible for any Sonos partner to add the same functionality to their apps, potentially allowing consumers to relay playback of their music and podcasts from apps like Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and other services. It’s unclear when Sonos is going to make this API available to its partners; I’ve asked the company for more details, but have yet to hear back.
Sonos is facing increased competition from other speaker manufacturers, some of which have teamed up with powerful partners. At CES, Denon, LG and Sony announced that they will support Google Cast for audio, which uses Google’s Chromecast technology to enable the same kind of third-party app playback that Sonos is now looking to launch.
However, so far, none of these competitors have been able to steal Sonos’ thunder. Sonos CEO John MacFarlane said at Gigaom’s Structure Connect conference last fall that the company expected to generate a billion dollars in revenue in 2014.
Here’s a video of MacFarlane’s talk at Structure Connect: