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Sonos wants to launch an API for third-party apps

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Sonos is getting ready to open up its speakers and let music services integrate Sonos support into their own mobile apps, according to a job offer posted by the company earlier this month.

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.┬áIt’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:


6 Responses to “Sonos wants to launch an API for third-party apps”

  1. Jasonserpent

    what we need is home automation.
    I want to walk in to my house and get a notification on my phone to see if the song i have in my headphones are to be played on my sonos.

  2. silverghozt

    This cannot come fast enough. Why limit Sonos to what their engineers have the time to develop? Secondly, it’s infuriating that one cannot use the free Spotify service through Sonos. That’s a major flag for those researching streaming speakers. Beware. If Sonos can implement an api into their app, I hope that free users can use Spotify through Sonos again.

  3. Sonos creating an api so other control/automation services can control their product…. Great idea. Will make their systems much more flexible and give them a lot more finish on high end systems.

    Sonos creating an API so you can play music directly out of the pandora app without having to open the sonos app… No. Horrible idea. Top 10 bad ideas of all time. If thats your plan stop that plan.

    • melandnick

      why is it a ‘horrible idea’ ? Whats the problem ? Native apps have far more features than than Sonos’ own integration for music services and always will so this is surely the best way.

      If they stick with their ‘walled garden’ approach then they’ll be left in the dust by all the new competition (Denon, LG, Sony…) that have direct support via Google Cast for Audio, Spotify Connect, whatever else comes next.

    • A Sonos Customer

      Hard not to concur. It’s really quite a challenge to assure 5.1 sound from the playbar, even when you’re willing to replace everything (and for DTS from a streamed source,. it’s like you have to fight their software).

      Even if you are willing to couple the TV and Playbar purchase to assure maximum compatibility, you have to do far too much research to see which TVs consistently allow 5.1 sound out the optical cable. Sonos isn’t responsible for what TVs do, but if they are going to limit their Playbar inputs, they should streamline the process by telling you which TVs are the best choices.