Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Sonos gives radio a run with local, curated stations

Sonos users are getting a little bit more to listen to, as the multiroom pioneer adds hand-picked music stations, some with ads, and some without.

There’s no shortage of music options if you’re living in the Sonos system, and it’s unlikely you’d ever run out of something to listen to.

There are the favourites, of course, including Spotify, Apple Music, Google, Deezer, and yes even Tidal, but then there are quite a lot of others as well, catering to different type of sounds. Classical music, calm and meditation, and various international themed services as well. Plus you can always just run your own music from a hard drive or network drive.

You really have options with Sonos, and you’re about to get a pinch more, as Sonos gets into the music scene in a different way.

Sonos is already technically in the music scene as a speaker provider, found in the homes of millions of customers around the world, but now Sonos is going to do something a little different: it’s going to curate the content, as well.

Sonos Stations

Sonos is joining the world of music choices you have at your disposal, partnering with TuneIn Radio for some support, but also curating music with its own stations.

Sonos Stations are a little like stations on other services, but they’re built directly into your Sonos, providing a little over 30 stations for various genres of music and supported with ads in between. Think of it a little like Spotify Free, but for your Sonos system overall, with Sonos using ads to deal with the cost of paying for that music.

There’s no word on whether Sonos will eventually open Sonos Stations to a monthly payment to get around the ads, as this is an initial launch, however anything is possible, though we expect more stations in the near future.

Sonos Stations

However there will be a version of Sonos Stations that is ad-free, and it’s because Sonos is working with musicians to create a sort of artist take on the service. Specifically, it’s working with the likes of David Byrne, Thom York, and Brittany Howard to launch stations based on their likes and dislikes, with which you can listen to without the burden of ads, and these are just the start.

Alongside the Sonos Stations, the Sonos Radio section of a Sonos account will now include local and international radio stations, too, effectively bringing both types of radio to a Sonos account without needing extra setup. Sonos is employing iHeartRadio elsewhere around the world, and it’s possible Australia will see support for artist-based and genre stations from iHeartRadio in the near future.

Sonos Stations

There’s an element of music discovery to Sonos Stations that feels like one of the better reasons to use it, though one thing you can’t do is just add the songs you hear to your account.

Testing it this week with the New Orleans-based station “Fat City Gumbo”, we could search for the artist on the Sonos search system, but not add the track directly to any of the music accounts on our platform. That includes Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, so you may have to do a little more to add specific songs to your liked list if you fancy them.

However any Sonos user can try Sonos Stations now, with the service going live this week, available with an update of the app.

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