A short update on the Sonos situation

by Volker Weber


A few weeks ago I explained that I talked to a Sonos manager to clear up any misunderstanding. I offered my friendship, sent in a long list of things I would need and be interested in, and then I waited. As I said, I wasn't going to be mad, if Sonos took their ball and moved on.

Time passes. Crickets.

On Monday I decided to go back into beta mode. I have been running Sonos betas continously for many years. It's not much fun since I have to update the system and multiple controllers every week or so, but it was worth it. I dropped out of beta earlier this year since I had serious network issues and Support suggested to downgrade from beta back to release to resolve. It turned out to be a tough problem but we solved it.

Long story short, I asked to go back into beta mode. That was extremely easy. Support handed me over to Beta Support, which connected me with Beta Coordination, which then sent me a short questionaire to capture some essential data. I was supposed to be provisioned today and be operational mid next week.

Then lightning struck.

I got an email from the manager mentioned above. He had blocked me from going into beta. He does not actually run beta, but here I am. Cannot contribute anything back to Sonos anymore. But that is only Sonos' loss. You can't fight the enemy inside. The big question is why is this train wreck happening? This could all be so easy. My current assessment is that somebody like me isn't supposed to exist. Fear sets in, and fear is the path to the dark side.


As you know, I believe in collaboration and you have done me proud. My network is thousands of people and you have come forward with more information about what Sonos is doing within 24 hours than what Sonos has told me in a year. This is working well and it remains my only option now that I am cut off from any development.

A word of warning: do not use email. If you want to share information with me, only use Signal, iMessage or Whatsapp, in that order. I am +49-176-24799915 on all of them. This way the information stays safe, and there will not be any leaks which could potentially damage Sonos. As far as I am concerned, my NDA is written with blood.


Let's hope that you'll get back on the wagon. As I have stated in my various comments on vowe.net I'm a big Sonos fan (for almost 10 years now). What bothers me more and more is the fact that the Music service integration isn't making the progress I was hoping for: Better Apple Music integration by e.g. allowing me to modify my existing Apple Music Playlists via the Sonos UI. In addition there seems to be some weird limitations regarding number of playlists and/or number of total songs in all playlists combined which prevents me from creating any new playlists.
Long story short: Once Apple will enter the stage end of this year/early next year with their HomePod that will (in my case) put a lot of pressure on the non-living room Sonos components (i.e. the Play:1s in the house). I will not hesitate to replace them with Apple gear. I'm more than confident that the HomePod will produce excellent sound.
So please Sonos, get your act together by adressing some of the most pressing issues such as Amazon Alexa/Apple Music integration.
I suggest you put Volker back in the loop because his (subtle) signals to his audience will steer many of us (me anyways) into a certain direction.

Markus Dierker, 2017-07-07

If they treat you like this, who created lots of business for them ( if I just recall, how much only I have spent because of your advice and Thomas Lang perfect job), I am worried how they will treat Thomas Lang in the future. But I do not have to understand what is going on in the management heads.

Wolfram Votteler, 2017-07-07

It's not a Sonos problem. It's only a single person who does not understand.

Volker Weber, 2017-07-07

Kudos to you to control your anger, because I think that this would make me angry.

Frank Quednau, 2017-07-07

Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2017-07-07

Move on, Volker. This is American management style. "We have nothing to share at this time." (Translated: everything is decided. But we fear you don't like it and yell at us, so we won't tell you just now.) This "manager" will be the first to call you when he needs you help, and he will pretend not to recall how he treated you.

For you, if I may give some advice, perhaps you want to stop spending your precious resources and time on company that sees you as the enemy (yes, the company, cause the manager represents it). Enjoy the product, that's it.

For myself, this is usually the time where I start looking for alternatives that don't treat customers as cowards or enemies. There are plenty of them. It's like not going the route of jailbreaks to address deficiencies the manufacturer does not mind to care of. Just move on.

BTW. Did the guy a reason for blocking you?

Peter Daum, 2017-07-07

Ridiculous. And sad.

Lars Berntrop-Bos, 2017-07-07

Peter, I am a journalist and cannot know anything before he says so.

Volker Weber, 2017-07-07

Looking at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-us-content-does-work-germany-michael-bernau it seems to me that Volker is both, an exception to that observation and the biggest provider of facts about Sonos. He's providing exactly that value to Sonos in Germany which Bernau/Netpress wants to sell to American companies.

Volker's writing convinced me of Sonos and I convinced a few others, but that's just a small 5 digit number of Euros revenue. Looks like that's peanuts for Sonos nowadays.

Benjamin Bock, 2017-07-07

If you're interested in "soaring", you manage one way.
If you're interested in "not crashing", you manage a different way.
Vowe represents potentially great lift or great drag.
"Soaring" managers seek great lift and risk the potential drag, "not crashing" managers are put off by great drag above all things.

Craig Wiseman, 2017-07-07

I know you said you don´t do Beats or BOSE. Maybe its time now. BOSE is doing some great things. Bose 300 and the Bose Soundlink Revolve speakers are great.

palmi Lord, 2017-07-07

I would not have Sonos without you promoting it. As is, I have 2 play 5's, 2 Play 1's and a sound bar.

I really liked getting your updates and reviews of Sonos products. I regret that you will be less well informed.

David Bailey, 2017-07-07

I bought Sonos because of your writings. I am very happy with Sonos products. But the stuff you are writing today adds a sour taste to it.

Johannes Matzke, 2017-07-07

Palmi, I am only interested in the best. The only interesting challenger is Apple HomePod. We will see how that performs when it ships.

David, I am very well informed since I stopped waiting for Sonos to tell me anything.

Johannes, this will be resolved enventually. I believe that other people are smart. They can learn. Or the investors who also read my site get tired of this. One way or the other, something will happen.

Volker Weber, 2017-07-07

Sonos doesn't even notice the bad vibe that's building up here. Maybe we are a small group but nevertheless. I'm sure each one of us has acted as a (small) influencer.
When does somebody wake up over there!?

Markus Dierker, 2017-07-07

Is there a little Donald T***p sitting inside Sonos?

Axel Koerv, 2017-07-07

Axel, please keep it civilized. Markus, no, not yet. But we can all learn and be better tomorrow.

Volker Weber, 2017-07-07

Axel, we - or better: you - are not a small group. What happened because of vowe's writing was at least in some weeks bigger than any other reseller in Germany.

I would call this inpressive. But not everyone seems to be impressed.

Thomas Lang, 2017-07-08

I hope "that specific Sonos manager" is reading vowe's blog!

If so, please note:
I was invited to Sonos by Volker about 10 years ago, when Thomas Meyer was marketing manager at Sonos (see: https://vowe.net/archives/014622.html).
I also got to know Thomas due to my High Music activities back in those days.

My first Sonos equipment was the typical "Sonos starter package" of those days" :2 connect, 1 connect amp, 1 soviet ipod.

In the meantime I added: 1 x Playbar, 1 x Sub, 1 x Play 5 (1.gen), 2 x Play 3, 3 x Play1, 1 x Play1 blue note, 1 x Play1tone white, 1 x Play1 tone black.
Collectors items: a pair of Sonos SP100 speakers, Sonos dock.
Additional Flexon stands.

I took part in several beta's and I am still part of the beta community.
I was looking after the agency introducing Playbar to German retailers in Northrhine- Westfalia. (At ESPRIT arena Düsseldorf).
And like vowe, nothing leaked to anybody prior to Sonos' official announcements.

All this because vowe found a great product and kept informing us.

It would be a shame, if Sonos would block him....

Re-think your decision Mr. Sonos Manager!

Kind regards
Heiko Müller

Heiko Müller, 2017-07-08

Would we have this discussion if he had any idea what is going on here?

Volker Weber, 2017-07-08


Heiko Müller, 2017-07-08

Volker's readers footprint extends beyond the German market and did spark my interest and buying pattern. A shame really as his tone of voice has always been with awe for their products. Man up Sonos and let him beta test with you.

Maikel Maes, 2017-07-10

I moved to Sonos from Squeezebox's products a few years ago, inspired by the positive reviews on here. I now have 2 x Connect Amps, 4 x Connects and 5 x Play 1s. I have also encouraged three of my friends to purchase. I'm UK based, so not just the German market.

Chris Lindley, 2017-07-10

Just to add:

Volker introduced me to Sonos in the early days of their Amp only design (I still have 4 of them - one on a shelf because it stopped working, but I can't get rid of it)...

Here's my current setup in 2 homes:

4 connect:amps (one not working, like I said)
5 Soundbars
9 Play:1
4 Play:3
3 Play:5 original
4 Play:5 new

Growing - a Soundbar and 2 Play:1s for my office in the boxes. I have 4 kids, 3 siblings, 11 nieces and nephews. 5 of the kids are 18+ and buying Sonos equipment because its what I recommend and what they see when they visit. Two of my siblings have a minimum of 8 Sonos pieces as part of their home circuses.

The genesis of all of this? Volker. And they're pissing me off, too. I don't get it. He's been my conduit to Sonos from the beginning. I have enough money and time to go somewhere else and he'll likely be the reason for me to do so.

I only wish I had someone like him to help me with our businesses.

Steven Fettig, 2017-07-10

We have 4 Play:1 and 1 Soundbar at home, because I followed Volker's recommendation to buy Sonos products.

Karsten Lehmann, 2017-07-11

I only have a playbar, a sub, 4 Play 1s, 2 Pkay 3s and 3 Play 5s for a total of 11 (plus a connect that's not in use anymore), so I can't compete with Steven. But my Sonos addiction was startet by Volker, too.

Stefan Tilkov, 2017-07-11

Let me through my little weight in here:

2 Soundbars
1 Sub
2 Play:3
2 Play:5
6 Play:1

I would have never spend so much money on tech without Volker’s recommendation and the outstanding service from Thomas Lang of https://www.ueberall-musik.de – so SONOS please get your act together.

Yves Luther, 2017-07-11

Same here, because of Volker I dove into Sonos, mostly purchases through Thomas:

1 Playbar
1 Sub
2 Play 1
2 Play 3
3 Play 5
1 Connect
1 Boost
1 Bridge

I now have a 2nd appartment and wonder what to do. I originally wanted to recycle older Sonos stuff there and buy newer for the 1st appartment, but now with so many more options and Alexa, I am wondering. Sono's attitude is also not helping.

Mariano Kamp, 2017-07-11

It is only because of your articles/reviews and comments that I dove into Sonos.

I appreciate your guidance even if some, at present, do not see its value to them.

Stephen Mooney , 2017-07-11

Thanks vowe for reviews & recommendations.

Currently @myhomeismysoundcastle:

2x Play 3
4x Play 1

Planned: 1 Playbar or Playbase, in 2017
Thinking about 2 more Play 1 and maybe 2 Play 5.

Stephan Perthes, 2017-07-11

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