In brief: Smart speaker maker Sonos on Tuesday ventured outside the familiar confines of its hardware community for the first time with the launch of Sonos Radio, a free, ad-supported streaming radio service that is available exclusively to its customers. It's a little late to the party but there has arguably never been a better time to roll out a service like this.
Sonos Radio grants access to more than 60,000 radio stations from a variety of streaming partners as well as a healthy serving of curated, original programming.
There will also be ad-free, artist curated stations packed with tracks that inspire and influence. The first, launching today from Thom Yorke (of Radiohead fame), is called In the Absence Thereof. As he describes it:
“Here in a new form is that ever rolling compilation / office chart habit of mine of putting together what I have found recently that fascinates or moves me, what obsesses me, challenges me, opens new doors, reminds me of what I might have forgotten, is insanely complex or elegantly simple, violent, funny, messy, heavy or light. Whatever has hit me over the head basically. It may be new or old or just dug up again. With all this time we have behind doors I hope this provides a welcome connection and escape…and perhaps stops the walls closing in quite so quick.”
Additional artist curated stations from the likes of David Byrne, Brittany Howard and Third Man Records are set to debut in the coming weeks, we’re told.
Sonos is also putting out 30+ staff curated, ad-supported stations across a variety of genres. Early examples include Kids Rock, Country Outlaws, Concert Hall and Hip Hop Archive.
Worth noting is that global Internet stations will be available to customers worldwide but Sonos’ original content will be limited to listeners in the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK to start with. Support for additional countries will follow after launch, the company said.