Sonos Radio is getting a new paid, lossless-quality audio tier – cheaper than other rivals.
The speaker manufacturer graduated from just a hardware company to offering a streaming service of its own in April. Sonos Radio is an ad-supported service that offers a wide mixture of content. Live radio, genre-based stations, and artist-curated spotlight stations are just some of the highlights. Today, Sonos Radio HD brings lossless CD-quality streaming for only $7.99/month – two bucks cheaper than rivals. Sonos Radio HD users will also be able to skip, pause, and replay their favorite songs.
All of the Sonos Radio original stations are also ad-free for Sonos Radio HD subscribers. Initially, the new paid program is only available in the US and UK.
Sonos says the addition of lossless quality audio to its library makes it the highest-quality streaming radio station. Sonos is also expanding the available content on Sonos Radio HD to include a “Sleep Sounds” category. The category is only available for paid members, and Sonos says it is filled with tracks to promote mindfulness and relaxation.
Sonos Radio HD also expands on artist partnerships with Sonos with more curated stations and interviews.
The first in line is Dolly Parton’s Songteller Radio, which will detail the legendary singer’s decades-long career. The premise is almost exactly the same as SiriusXM’s artist-curated stations. But will offering online radio and music streaming help save a struggling hardware manufacturer?
Sonos says overall listening on its devices is up 40% during the pandemic. By offering Sonos Radio HD, it establishes a constant stream of revenue instead of relying on scummy tactics to sell more speakers. Earlier this year, a recycling professional broke the lid on Sonos’ supposed recycling program. He revealed that speakers sent in are effectively bricked and end up in a landfill – instead of being resold.
Sonos quickly faced backlash online for the wording of its recycling program. Telling people they’re participating in a recycling program means they think the product will be reprocessed or re-used. Sonos clarified why it takes the action that it does, but the damage was already done. The company retooled its recycling program to be more clear for customers who participate in it.
Sonos Radio HD is an interesting experiment for the hardware manufacturer. Is there enough of a market for people who want a streaming service that only works on Sonos speakers? Maybe eventually, some Sonos headphones would allow users to take the service on the go.