Hands on: Spotify for Sonos review
29th Sep 2010 | 11:12
Two streaming giants collide to make beautiful music
According to Sonos, Spotify integration is the number one thing users of its devices have requested of late, so its arrival will be welcomed by many audiophiles.
Spotify for Sonos is set to launch at the end of September and TechRadar has had a play with a beta version of the service and are mightily impressed with the whole thing.
In some ways Spotify has managed to take the ethos of what Sonos brought to the music-streaming industry: give punters what they want and make it simple.
Those new to Sonos will find setup an effortless procedure. Our Sonos ZonePlayer S5 was an absolute breeze to get hooked up to the music stored on our PC. The machine does the hard work for you, finding your music collection and indexing it for the device – although this takes time, it is worth the wait.
All of our music (through iTunes) was streamed effortlessly, no matter the codec, and most of the album artwork appeared first time on the controller.
Setting Spotify up was just as much of a cinch. The setup may differ slightly as this was a beta version of the service, but all that was needed was a click flick to More Music on the S3200 controller, an update and there was the Spotify app staring right at us.
Like Spotify on the iPhone, this service will only work on the Sonos if you have the premium account – it's Spotify's business model and it is sticking to it.
To access the premium account you need to pay £9.99 a month. But for that you get unlimited music and the ability to add albums to a PMP and listen to them 'offline'.
It's a model which seems to be working and one which is catching on, with the likes of We7 offering up a similar service.
If you already have a premium account and are using a Sonos system, then this app is a no-brainer to have and even if you have neither, they work so well together it may just push you to purchasing.
The thing that hits you first about the Spotify on Sonos application is its simplicity. It takes all the information from the desktop version of Spotify and offers it up in a plain list format.
So, if you have a load of playlists you have created or procured from your friends these will be listed, as will any tracks that you have starred. You can add additional playlists to the desktop version of Spotify and these will appear on your Sonos unit once you have refreshed.
The main crux of the app is its brilliant search mechanism. The search can be done in three ways: artist, album or track.
Once you have chosen which way to search then you just start typing in what you want to listen to and it will appear in super-quick time.
The search does try to second guess what you want, so each time you type a different letter a whole new list of bands/tracks/albums will appear.
This is brilliant as it means you could search Spotify's stupidly large archive – according to Spotify it will take you 34 years to listen to all the tracks back to back and it adds 10,000 new songs a day – without actually knowing what you want to listen to.
When an album is playing it will show you the cover of the album on the controller, alongside information on what track is playing, the artist's name and the album's name.
You can't really dig that much further into things, other than seeing all the tracks on the album you are listening to and all the other albums available from that artist.
The Spotify radio app is also currently missing from the service.
It would also be good if you could search for content by genre as well as the other options, but these are small niggles when it comes to how well Spotify works on a Sonos.
Spotify on Sonos opens up both the service and the machine more than ever before – this is the first time Spotify has been available away from the PC.
The ability to mine Spotify's complete archive for 320Kbps seamless streaming around your home courtesy of Sonos will entice new users like never before.
Yes, it does mean that you will have to pay a £9.99 a month for a Spotify subscription, but those who already own Sonos should definitely consider the purchase.
The Spotify on Sonos service has a UK release date of 'end of September' and will also be available through the iPhone and iPad versions of the Sonos app and on all Sonos devices.