After the successful launch of Sonos Radio at the start of the year, the company is back with a paid-for tier, Sonos Radio HD. Costing £7.99 a month after a free trial, the new service is available today for all Sonos users.
The original Sonos Radio was a collection of global radio stations, plus some special Sonos stations including artist-curated content. This free service continues in its ad-supported format, but Sonos Radio HD adds a new premium level on top. Improved quality is one of the main new features, with Sonos Radio HD streamed in high-definition, lossless CD-quality audio (16-bit/44.1 kHz FLAC).
While the free Sonos Radio doesn’t let you skip or repeat songs, Sonos Radio HD does, giving something of a mix between live-streamed and on-demand content.
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Sonos is also adding exclusive content into its new platform, starting with Dolly Parton’s Songteller Radio, an artist-curated station. There’s also a deeper exploration of musical genres, including Nashville Now and Americana Ramble by Nashville-based music critic and author Ann Powers.
There’s an increased focus on audio to help, with special stations of tuned audio. Sleep sounds, for example, has six stations including white, pink or brown noise, ran, rainforest and piano. They’re designed to help you get to sleep and have a more relaxing night.
The move to a paid-for radio service may seem strange, in these days of on-demand music services, but Sonos says that 50% of content played on its systems is through radio. Clearly, the idea of someone else choosing what you should listen to has resonated with Sonos owners.
The only catch to the new service is that it’s only available to users of the S2 app, so only people with newer players will be able to subscribe to the service. Anyone still using the S1 app can still use the older Sonos Radio.