Sonos update brings more free listening for customers

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Sonos has announced a number of additions for its streaming radio service, Sonos Radio. The advert-supported service, which launched in April last year, now includes a number of new shows, podcasts, and artist hours. Of these, one of the headline new shows will be “Black Is Black,” a new monthly radio show hosted by DJ Lindsey.

Sonos has described the show as “examining the black diaspora’s impact on modern music.” If you’re keen to tune-in, Black Is Black launches on February 4, 2021 on Sonos Radio. And if you don’t own a Sonos, or are away from your connected speaker system and want to listen, the show will be available on podcast platform MixCloud too. “Object Of Sound” is another new addition announced this month by Sonos. This weekly podcast covers culture and music and is hosted by poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib. Like Black Is Black, this show will be available on MixCloud at the same time as it premieres on Sonos Radio.

According to Sonos, Sonos Radio is now the fourth most streamed service on Sonos connected speakers worldwide, which is pretty impressive. Like traditional radio stations, there’s no way to skip songs, or rewind playback (at least not on the free tier). However, when an artist appears on a radio, Sonos includes a shortcut to search any of your streaming services for their catalogue. So, you can quickly find Spotify playlists or albums hosted on Apple Music when you stumble across a new favourite during a show.

UK music publication Crack Magazine will also be hosting a twice-weekly show where presenters speak to artists about the musical heroes that never achieved the fame they deserved. Dubbed Unsung, the show is available to stream right now on Sonos Radio. The partnership with Crack Magazine follows a similar strategy from Apple Music, which is also available to stream to Sonos speakers from within the app, that partnered with the likes of Pitchfork, NME, GQ, and Vogue, to name a few.

Finally, Sonos Radio will also host new Artist Radio Hours, which will highlight the work of a number of major artists, including Tiwa Savage, Chris Stapleton, A$AP Ferg, Yola, Japanese Breakfast, and Sun Ra Arkestra.

Additionally, Sonos Radio will have radio hours from D’Angelo, FKA twigs, The Chemical Brothers and Bjork designed to tease their dedicated stations on Songs Radio HD. The latter launched in November 2020 and expanded its catalogue of original radio stations from artists and expert curators – all streamed with a noticeable boost in quality.

Like TiDAL, Sonos Radio HD streams in high-definition, lossless CD-quality audio (16-bit/44.1 kHz FLAC). “Listening in high-definition audio delivers even more detail to the thousands of songs hand-selected for Sonos Radio, all curated and programmed for listening at home on Sonos,” the audio firm stated at the time.

Unlike the standard non-HD Sonos Radio, which is free to stream for any Sonos owner free with the help of adverts, Sonos Radio HD will set you back £7.99 a month.

That’s a little cheaper than monthly plans from the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, and Deezer, however, Sonos Radio HD is likely an addition to these services – rather than a replacement.

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