Controlling your Sonos speakers with Alexa offers supreme control and convenience over your music, and will make enjoying your tunes a lot easier. Sonos still suffers somewhat from its clunky app, but the power of voice commands via the Alexa skill can transform the way you use it.
While some of the company's latest speakers â like the Sonos One â come with Alexa built-in, many people don't realise you can control any Sonos speaker using the Alexa Skill. That means you can add voice control for less than ÂŁ30 using an Echo Dot, and totally transform your music listening setup.
So read on for everything you need and a complete list of commands to get the most from your Alexa/Sonos set up.
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The Sonos Alexa skill explained
If youâre the owner of a Sonos system and an Amazon Echo speaker, you can use the latter to control your entire Sonos system. This includes playing music from some streaming services and controlling the playback of radio and offline music, too.
Missing manual: The essential Sonos guide
Downloading the Alexa skill for Sonos is easy. Head to the Alexa app and then search for Sonos from the Skills menu. Once downloaded youâll need to connect your Sonos and Amazon accounts together, which the process will take you through. Once thatâs done youâre ready to roll. Check out our round-up of the best Alexa skills for more ideas of what to download.
What services can you use the Sonos skill for?
When it comes to asking for music via Alexa, youâll need to be signed up and using one of a handful of services. Those services need to be linked in your Alexa account. You can choose from:
- Amazon Music
- TuneIn Radio
Now, if you have an active Amazon Music account then Alexa will prefer to play that. To make it play one of the other types of services youâll need to specify to Alexa that you want it to play music âfrom [supported service]â at the end of your command.
Thatâs unless you use SpotifyâŚ
How to set Spotify as default through Alexa
If you've been looking out for an Amazon Echo Spotify Skill, you've probably noticed there isn't one. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy your Spotify playlists with Echo-enabled voice commands though. Spotify has special status with Alexa, which means you can set the music as a permanent source.
You can easily set Spotify as your Echo's default audio provider. Head to the Alexa app, head in and choose Settings > Music & Media. You can switch between Amazon Music and Spotify here.
What wonât Sonos/Alexa do?
You can't play artist radio or Spotify Radio, and podcasts are not supported using Alexa either; you'll you'll need to use your Sonos app, just like before. Also, if you're using curated playlists from Spotify, you'll need to be following it and have it listed in your playlists. Your instruction then must specify that it's a playlist.
You also won't be able to play music to groups. Alexa music groups won't work with third-party speakers, and you can't specify groups set up within the Sonos app either. Likewise, there's no support for offline, locally stored, music, and you can't add sleep timers to have your music turn off after you've drifted off.
Essential Sonos Alexa commands
Before we hit a list of commands, hereâs how to build up a Sonos command.
1. Say âAlexaâ (duh).
2. Say âplayâ followed the name of the artist. If choosing a song, youâll likely need to say âby [artist name]â.
3. Now you need to specify the Sonos speaker you want to play to. At the end of your command say âon/in [Sonos speaker name]â.
Remember: If youâre using a specific service thatâs not Amazon Music or defaulted Spotify, youâll need to add âfrom [service name]â.
And here's a full example: âAlexa, play Motorcycle Emptiness by the Manic Street Preachers from Pandora in the loungeâ. A mouthful? Yes it is.
General playback commands
âAlexa, pause/stop/resume (in the room name)â
âAlexa, skip/next song (in the room name)â
âAlexa, play the next/previous song/track (in the room name)â
âAlexa, play my (playlist name) playlist (in the room name)â
âAlexa, resume on (room name)â
âAlexa, previous/next song/trackâ
âAlexa, what's playing in (room name)?â
General volume commands
âAlexa, turn it up/down (in the room name)â
âAlexa, louder/quieter (in the room name)â
âAlexa, set the volume to 3 (30%) (in the room name)â
âAlexa, mute (room name)â
âAlexa, unmute (room name)â
To start Spotify playback
âAlexa, play music in the (room name)â
âAlexa, play (artist) in the (room name)â
âAlexa, play (song name) by (artist) in the (room name)â
âAlexa, play the album (album name) by (artist) in the (room name)â
âAlexa, play (activity) music in the (room name)â
A recent Alexa app update means that you can now associate Amazon Echo devices with Sonos speakers through the Alexa app; creating groups where the Sonos speakers are the default music playback for a command heard by your Echo devices.
Before, if you had, say, an Echo Dot in the office along with a Sonos Play:1 and you wanted to listen to some music, you'd have to say something along the lines of, "Alexa, play Take That, in the kitchen." You can now ditch that extra bit, and simply say, "Alexa, play Take That," and the output will come directly from the Sonos speaker.