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Apple Music’s Sonos Launch Is More Than Another Integration

Apple Music’s partnership with Sonos is a notable moment for streaming music.

Apple Music’s Sonos Launch Is More Than Another Integration
[Photo: courtesy of Sonos]

Starting December 15, Sonos smart speakers will let Apple Music users pipe even more music throughout their homes.

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Sonos, the Santa Barbara-based connected speaker company, has been diligently hammering out its Apple Music integration since the service debuted earlier this year.

While the mid-December launch is only really meaningful for a limited cross section of people–those who own Sonos speakers and also subscribe to Apple Music–it’s a notable moment for both companies, and for streaming music more broadly.

Apple, which was eager to launch its music streaming product but slower to forge integrations and data partnerships–potentially costing Drake a #1 hit–now has its service available on the most popular Wi-Fi speaker system on the market. Integrations with popular products like this can only help fuel the adoption of Apple Music, which came late to a crowded marketplace dominated by Spotify.

Sonos, meanwhile, makes its connected speakers that much more attractive to consumers, who can already use the system’s proprietary app to connect a wide array of music services, from Spotify and Deezer to SoundCloud and Bandcamp (and dozens of others).

Apple Music is still relatively young, but it already has more than 6.5 million paying subscribers. Apple also has the benefit of a massive install base of iOS and Mac users–most of whom have their credit cards connected to an iTunes account. However the numbers shake out, the symbolic importance of Apple Music is hard to miss: The age of the music download is giving way to the era of streaming, economic questions be damned.

This shift is good news for Sonos, which was wise enough to place its bet on wireless household listening in 2002, when the rubble of Napster was still smoldering, iTunes was barely a year old, and compact disc sales were just going into free fall. The timing of the Apple Music integration is also auspicious for Sonos, which just started shipping the newest version of its Play:5 smart speaker earlier this month.

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About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.

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