|Traded as||NASDAQ: SONO|
Russell 2000 Index component
Number of locations
Number of employees
Sonos is a Santa Barbara, California-based developer and manufacturer of wireless home audio products, including smart speakers. The basic idea behind its products is Whole House Audio, i.e., to allow a household to play music from a variety of sources in multiple rooms simultaneously, so that different rooms may hear either the same music source in synch, or different music sources.
The company was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen, and Trung Mai, and is currently run by Patrick Spence.
Sonos has partnered with over 100 companies that offer music services, including Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, MOG, QQ Music, and Amazon Music. Sonos products work with the three major voice assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri, although the latter is currently only supported through Apple's Home app.. In 2019 Sonos acquired Snips SAS, a privacy-focused AI voice platform for connected devices with the goal to bring a music-specific assistant to its devices.
The company currently offers eight powered speakers: four smart speakers (Move, One, One SL, and Play:5), two soundbars (ARC and BEAM), a television sound system (PLAYBASE), and a subwoofer (Sub). It also offers the AMP to drive unpowered speaker pairs and the PORT to link a Sonos system to conventional audio equipment such as amplifiers and CD players. The company recently added its first portable rechargeable battery powered speaker (Move). A variety of previous products existed as well, current and discontinued products are detailed below.
|Model||Model Number||Released||Discontinued||Replaces||Launch price||S2 Compatible |
|ZonePlayer||ZP100||January 27, 2005||2008||$499||No|
|Loudspeaker||SP100||March 2005||$179 / pair||No|
|Charging Cradle||CC100||October 2005||2009||$39.99||N/A|
|Controller||CR100||January 27, 2005||2009||$399||No|
|Connect (Gen 1)[a]||ZP90||October 2008||ZonePlayer80||$349||No|
|Connect:Amp (Gen 1)[b]||ZP120||October 2008||ZP100||$499||No|
|Controller||CR200||July 2009||2012||Controller (CR100)||$399||No|
|Play:5 (Gen 1)[c]||November 2009||November 20, 2015||$499||No|
|Play:3||July 20, 2011||July 31, 2018||$299||Yes|
|Sub (Gen 1)||June 19, 2012||$699||Yes|
|Sub (Gen 2)||June 8, 2020||Sub (Gen 1)||$699||Yes|
|Playbar||February 12, 2013||June 8, 2020||$699||Yes|
|Connect (Gen 2)||March 2015||ZonePlayer90||$349||Yes|
|Connect:Amp (Gen 2)||March 2015||ZonePlayer120||$499||Yes|
|Play:1||October 14, 2013||October 24, 2017||$199||Yes|
|Play:5 (Gen 2)||November 20, 2015||June 8, 2020||ZonePlayer S5||$499||Yes|
|Playbase||April 4, 2017||August 6, 2020||$699||Yes|
|One (Gen 1)||October 24, 2017||Play:1||$199||Yes|
|Beam||July 17, 2018||$399||Yes|
|One (Gen 2)||March 2019||One (Gen 1)||$199||Yes|
|Amp||February 5, 2019||ZonePlayer120||$599||Yes|
|In-Ceiling||February 26, 2019||$599 / pair||N/A|
|In-Wall||February 26, 2019||$599 / pair||N/A|
|Outdoor||February 26, 2019||$799 / pair||N/A|
|SYMFONISK (Bookshelf)||004.646.17||August 1, 2019||$99||Yes|
|SYMFONISK (Table lamp)||003.575.61||August 1, 2019||$179||Yes|
|One SL||September 12, 2019||Play:1||$179||Yes|
|Port||September 12, 2019[d]||ZonePlayer90||$399||Yes|
|Move||September 24, 2019||$399||Yes|
|Arc||June 8, 2020||Playbar/Playbase||$799||Yes (required)|
|Sub (Gen 3)||June 8, 2020||Sub (Gen 2)||$699||Yes (required)|
|Five||June 8, 2020||Play:5 (Gen 2)||$499||Yes (required)|
Corporate, financial, and marketing history
During 2004, MacFarlane brought prototypes of the first Sonos products to several industry events, including the June 2004 "D2: All Things Digital" conference in Carlsbad, California (where Steve Jobs told MacFarlane that the Sonos controller's scroll wheel might violate Apple patents related to the iPod,) and the December 2004 Digital Music Summit.
In May 2005, Sonos announced that its initial product line would go on sale in the United Kingdom in the following month. The company has continued to broaden its international sales, for example to Japan in 2018.
In May 2012, Sonos opened the Sonos Studio in Los Angeles, a studio and art gallery in which art was exhibited along with Sonos' products for free, and featured events with artists like Beck, The Lonely Island, Solange and others, and released a video about its development. The Los Angeles location was closed in 2018; a London location remains open.
In December 2013, the company was estimated to have raised $118 million in venture funding, including a $25 million round; Its investors included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Redpoint Ventures and Elevation Partners.
In January 2015, Sonos was rebranded by Bruce Mau Design, with a new visual identity and improved logotype that was created over the span of four years, from 2011 to 2014. There have been other brand refreshes, including one in 2019.
In January 2017, MacFarlane announced via the company's blog that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO, and that he would be succeeded in this position by former COO Patrick Spence.
In August 2018, Sonos went public, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol SONO.
In November 2019, Sonos acquires Snips SAS, a privacy-focused AI voice platform for connected devices with the goal to bring a music-specific assistant to its devices.
In April 2020, Sonos revealed a new "sonic logo" composed by Philip Glass, featuring an ensemble of 21 musicians. The logo will be heard in the listening experience of Sonos Radio, an Internet radio streaming service that was unveiled by the company the same month.
In June 2020, Sonos announced plans to lay off 12% of its workforce, close its New York store and six of its offices, and cut its top executives' pay by 20% for three to six months, in response to the economic disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic.
Products announced by Sonos (excluding several smaller or less-important ones) have been:
- June 2004 - Sonos announced its first products—the Digital Music System consisting of two components, the ZonePlayer and the Controller (later renamed as the ZP100 and CR100, respectively) -- then expected to be available in fall 2004. The products were introduced at the January 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. They first shipped either on January 27, 2005, or March 2005.
- January 2006 - the unamplified ZonePlayer ZP80, with analog and digital input and output connections to link a user's Sonos system to their traditional amplifier.
- August 2008 - the ZonePlayer120 (ZP120, later CONNECT:AMP), replacing the ZP100, and the ZonePlayer90 (ZP90, later CONNECT), replacing the ZP80.
- October 2008 - a free Controller app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, reducing the need for Sonos' separate controllers. Controller apps were later released for other IOS devices and for Android.
- July 2009 - the CR200, a second handheld controller to replace the CR100, with a touch screen rather than the CR100's scroll wheel. Sales of the CR200 were discontinued in 2012. Existing CR200 controllers continue to operate, however there are reports of touchscreen failures which cannot be repaired.
- November 2009 - the ZonePlayer S5 (later PLAY:5), the first independent Sonos-connected amplified speaker.
- July 2011 - the PLAY:3, a second, smaller, amplified speaker in its Play lineup of smart speakers.
- May 2012 - the SUB wireless subwoofer.
- February 2013 - the PLAYBAR soundbar speaker.
- October 2013 - the PLAY:1, a third, compact, smart speaker.
- February 2015 - Sonos announced the limited edition Blue Note PLAY:1, a collaboration with Blue Note Records, which went on sale in March. There have been other similar Sonos releases, available for limited times, such as a Beastie Boys PLAY:5 and a series of Sonos Ones in five new colors developed by the Danish design firm HAY.
- September 2015 - A new ("2nd gen") PLAY:5 speaker was announced, and pre-orders began in October.
- March 2017 - the PLAYBASE, a soundbase to go under a television.
- October 2017 - the SONOS ONE, a small connected speaker with voice control. A key feature of whole house systems starting in 2017 was the adoption of Amazon's Alexa as a third-party voice controller.
- April 2018 - production of the PLAY:3 was discontinued, effective July 31.
- June 2018 - the Sonos Beam, a soundbar with voice control, was announced.
- August 2018 - An updated version of the Sonos Amp was unveiled, with a planned limited release in December.
- March 2019 - A second-generation Sonos One, with Bluetooth LE connectivity, a faster processor, and more memory.
- August 2019 - The first two products resulting from the IKEA-Sonos collaboration, called SYMFONISK, a small bookshelf speaker and a combination table-lamp/speaker, became available from IKEA.
- September 2019 - The introduction of the first battery operated Sonos speaker called Move. The speaker is portable and has the rating of IP56 making it humidity, heat, and cold resistant. It uses an indoor charging base and claims to play up to 10 hours on a full charge. Sonos also announced the One SL, a version of its One without voice control, replacing the Play:1, and the Port, an updated version of the Connect, to add Sonos functionality into an existing, wired stereo system.
History of outside services supported
In April 2005, Sonos announced that its products could play music from Rhapsody, the first of many music services that its products would support. Starting in September 2006 Sonos supported Rhapsody from its own Controller without use of a PC. Subsequently added services include:
- Sirius XM (February 2011).
- MOG (May 2011).
- Spotify (July 2011).
- QQ Music, with collaboration from Tencent (May 2012).
- Amazon Cloud Player (August 2012).
- Amazon Music (October 2015).
- Apple Music (February 2016).
Second logo, used until 2015 as part of the rebrand by Bruce Mau Design.
Technical issues and changes
Multiple Sonos devices in a single household are connected to each other wirelessly, through a wired Ethernet network, or a mixture of the two. The Sonos system creates a proprietary AES-encrypted peer-to-peer mesh network, known as SonosNet. This allows for each unit to play any chosen input and if desired share it as synchronized audio with one or more other chosen zones. The first versions of SonosNet required a single ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge to be wired to a network for access to LAN and Internet audio sources or when creating a 3.1/5.1 surround setup. SonosNet 2.0 integrated MIMO on 802.11n hardware, providing a more robust connection. Later, the company added support for connecting to an existing Wi-Fi network for internet connectivity, removing the wired network requirement. Sonos devices do not have power buttons, and the company claims that each speaker consumes 4–8W in idle/standby.
In November 2015, a tuning feature called Trueplay was released in a software update. Trueplay tunes the output of Sonos smart speaker units to the acoustics of the room they are in. The initial tuning process requires the use of a suitable Apple smartphone or tablet.
A February 2005 Macworld review of the first Sonos system thoroughly explains its background, components and operation, summarizing its basic idea and function with Sonos' advertising tagline, "All your digital music. All over your house."
Support for the CR100 ended in 2018 when Sonos sent out an update that intentionally caused the CR100 to cease to function, resulting in expressions of unhappiness from a number of long-time Sonos customers. Sonos later settled a class action lawsuit related to its decision to intentionally cause the CR100 to cease to function.
Sonos was criticized by media outlets in December 2019 for its "Recycle Mode", which bricks devices that users register into the company's trade-in program. Customers who participate in the program receive a 30 percent discount on a purchase of a new Sonos device, but the registration puts the device into Recycle Mode, which starts a timer that turns the device permanently non-functional in 21 days. An electronic waste recycler criticized the procedure on Twitter for being environmentally unfriendly, stating that it discourages reuse by preventing recyclers from reselling functional Sonos units. Sonos responded that Recycle Mode was intended to ensure that prospective customers purchase newer Sonos models instead of older secondhand models. In March 2020, Sonos discontinued the Recycle Mode and no longer requires customers to dispose of products submitted for its trade-in program.
On January 22, 2020, Sonos notified the end of support for speakers made before 2015, meaning that they eventually will lose functionality, something that sparked anger from their owners. Many of these speakers were purchased by customers after 2015, meaning that Sonos customers paid full price for a piece of consumer electronics that will cease to be supported after two or three years.
Stores and resellers
The company's products are mostly resold through vendors, such as Best Buy, Apple and Target. However, online retailers, such as Amazon.com and Crutchfield, also play a role in distributing and reselling products manufactured by the company. According to a press release in November 2011, the company had over 6,300 retail locations that housed their products in North America.
There are currently 12 offices operated by Sonos independently. These are located in Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Santa Barbara CA (US), Seattle WA (US), Sweden, and the United Kingdom. An engineering office was present in Boston as of 2017.
- Originally known as ZonePlayer90
- Originally known as ZonePlayer120
- Originally known as ZonePlayer S5
- Released in limited quantities
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