Speakers

Wake up, Sonos! Gold Dealer Schools CEO John MacFarlane on ‘Staying Relevant’

Mat Lindstedt of Silicon Valley Installation Co. sells a ton of Sonos, but urges CEO MacFarlane to stay relevant vis-a-vis Amazon Echo and other innovations. Where are outdoor audio systems, $99 speakers, and better streaming solutions?

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14 Comments
Posted by tyreed on March 18, 2016

Love the image. Now that is how Photoshop should be used!!

Posted by Julie Jacobson on March 18, 2016

Just a girl and Microsoft Word and the “remove background” command.

Posted by Nuz1 on March 18, 2016

Sonos needs to add playback of hi-rez files to its products.  Their competition already has: Bluesound, the DTS Play-fi players…  About the time either of these efforts come out with a soundbar and wireless sub, I think Sonos will really lose sales.

Posted by jdwiesch on March 18, 2016

Maybe Sonos should start licensing the UI and software like DTS Play-fi.  Sonos is the best user interface of any streaming product on the market by a fair margin.  I would be happy to see that Sonos was a native program inside of a new receiver, etc.  Sonos has survived solely because of the quality of the experience.  It has not been because of the lack of margin, the lack of integration capability or networking challenges.  In fact selling Sonos for the last ten years has been a difficult proposition.  We all had to create workarounds, and break apart our cleanly contained multi-room audio and integration systems to accomodate Sonos….but we did it, because it was the best experience that we were able bring to our clients.  I would hate to see them suffer because of the low end of the market and chasing $99 toys.  Anybody can make a wifi speaker.  It’s the UI that is their golden goose.

Posted by madawg on March 18, 2016

Wow - How soon the shine can wear off of a go-to line. Low profit line, but still a go-to line.
The staying relevant statement is and always has been the marching credo of the CE industry. Always will be. A better way to say it: “Innovate or Die”.

Unfortunately, creating a $99 speaker is not innovative. Neither is reducing the price of current models. Both of those thoughts will do nothing but continue to have Sonos in a retraction mode.

Sonos must now leap-frog the new competitors beyond the “single point, wireless speaker business”. As the category reaches 10 years in life, it should / is going to be on the down turn. Or the competitive pressure for lower price points to gain a new level of consumer.

Innovate or Die, and death normally comes very quickly.

 

Posted by mralarm000 on March 18, 2016

Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker….. even Heos has something portable and wireless with a battery.
Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker…..
Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker…..

Posted by Joshuaad on March 19, 2016

Sonos Outdoor speaker is a Connect Amp and specialized outdoor speakers.

Posted by Joshuaad on March 19, 2016

Sonos Outdoor speaker is a Connect Amp and specialized outdoor speakers… I’d like to be able to Airplay or Bluetooth connect to my Sonos products directly from a device when it is more convenient or it is the only thing available… That’s important… Play 5’s as LCR’s for sure… Hi Res music capability is good too, but does it matter with the current line of speakers and amps?... So good in principle… make you API’s available to control products as well as HomeKit, Echo, etc….

Posted by tgundo2003 on March 20, 2016

Never sell dedicated surround amp? 25 Zones of Sonos??? That’s called lowering the bar. I’ve followed up on those installs, the client is not happy in the long run. Hopefully you’re not the guy who daisy chains all the Sonos pieces in the rack together with each other for network connections, that’s a classic one too. Then you want to take a low margin product and ask to make it cheaper? Why bother being in the business at all? 25 zones at maybe $100 profit per zone, maybe your charging plenty for install (though I doubt that).

Sonos has its place, but it doesn’t replace a large scale proper multi-room audio or a proper dedicated surround system. How’s Dolby Atmos on Sonos by the way?

Posted by dbendell on March 20, 2016

3rd party API and Outdoor Speakers are certainly the Sonos downfall, next is voice activation.

Julie, if CEO John MacFarlane does not offer a followup to these articles or comments then his character and his company will show its true colors.

Posted by cybermanor on March 20, 2016

I would also love to see a physical keypad on the wall - even just a software based solution that works with the Lutron keypads we already put on the wall - a la the Autonomic/Lutron solution.

Posted by mbaty on March 20, 2016

@cybermanor I think insteon makes a keypad now..

This gold dealer seems like a guy who went all in on Sonos and is now running out of features to sell, please don’t make $99 speakers.

I’d imagine the Echo is mostly eating away at the Play:1’s market share. HomeKit integration would be a nice first go at voice control. Smaller Connects would be welcome as well.

 

Posted by matlindstedt on March 20, 2016

As the gold dealer in the note to the CEO of Sonos, I can tell you that we do not “daisy chain” the Sonos units….and most clients are very happy with Sonos in the long run. Its one of the few consumer electronics that we sell, that 10 years later, not only works the same as it did when we installed it, but it has also enjoyed a decade of rich upgrades.

As for Sonos being a “low endgo to”. The experience that we deliver to the client is what is most important and hence, the most profitable.

There was a time when we would sell speakers, wire and a multi room amplification/keypad system and we sold that system for thousands of dollars per room..and guess what? in three years that great system was now obsolete, or worse the company has gone out of business.

With a Sonos multi zone audio system, we can still sell it for thousands per zone and we have happy customers because, if history repeats itself, our clients will have many years of satisfaction. How many of you have had poor reliability or bad tech support with Sonos?

As for lower prices and a $99 wireless speaker. This in an non-issue for us. How many of us actually sell a Play 1? Not many, and even if we do, its a super fast add on that we can install in seconds.  My point was Sonos needs to re-think selling a small box with audio-outs for $349 when a Google Chrome Cast can do something similar for $29. Is it the same? Hardly, but for the first time in Sonos history there are now choices.

Sonos is one of those unique companies that cater to both the consumer end-user and the custom channel. With out the mass appeal of the consumer level, Sonos will fade away when much less expensive technology comes down the pipe.

Mat Lindstedt

Posted by dbendell on March 25, 2016

Julie, no follow up article on Sonos? Two major breaking stories in a week, I thought for sure we would see a one on one interview with Julie and John? Where is the reporting?

14 Comments
Posted by dbendell on March 25, 2016

Julie, no follow up article on Sonos? Two major breaking stories in a week, I thought for sure we would see a one on one interview with Julie and John? Where is the reporting?

Posted by matlindstedt on March 20, 2016

As the gold dealer in the note to the CEO of Sonos, I can tell you that we do not “daisy chain” the Sonos units….and most clients are very happy with Sonos in the long run. Its one of the few consumer electronics that we sell, that 10 years later, not only works the same as it did when we installed it, but it has also enjoyed a decade of rich upgrades.

As for Sonos being a “low endgo to”. The experience that we deliver to the client is what is most important and hence, the most profitable.

There was a time when we would sell speakers, wire and a multi room amplification/keypad system and we sold that system for thousands of dollars per room..and guess what? in three years that great system was now obsolete, or worse the company has gone out of business.

With a Sonos multi zone audio system, we can still sell it for thousands per zone and we have happy customers because, if history repeats itself, our clients will have many years of satisfaction. How many of you have had poor reliability or bad tech support with Sonos?

As for lower prices and a $99 wireless speaker. This in an non-issue for us. How many of us actually sell a Play 1? Not many, and even if we do, its a super fast add on that we can install in seconds.  My point was Sonos needs to re-think selling a small box with audio-outs for $349 when a Google Chrome Cast can do something similar for $29. Is it the same? Hardly, but for the first time in Sonos history there are now choices.

Sonos is one of those unique companies that cater to both the consumer end-user and the custom channel. With out the mass appeal of the consumer level, Sonos will fade away when much less expensive technology comes down the pipe.

Mat Lindstedt

Posted by mbaty on March 20, 2016

@cybermanor I think insteon makes a keypad now..

This gold dealer seems like a guy who went all in on Sonos and is now running out of features to sell, please don’t make $99 speakers.

I’d imagine the Echo is mostly eating away at the Play:1’s market share. HomeKit integration would be a nice first go at voice control. Smaller Connects would be welcome as well.

 

Posted by cybermanor on March 20, 2016

I would also love to see a physical keypad on the wall - even just a software based solution that works with the Lutron keypads we already put on the wall - a la the Autonomic/Lutron solution.

Posted by dbendell on March 20, 2016

3rd party API and Outdoor Speakers are certainly the Sonos downfall, next is voice activation.

Julie, if CEO John MacFarlane does not offer a followup to these articles or comments then his character and his company will show its true colors.

Posted by tgundo2003 on March 20, 2016

Never sell dedicated surround amp? 25 Zones of Sonos??? That’s called lowering the bar. I’ve followed up on those installs, the client is not happy in the long run. Hopefully you’re not the guy who daisy chains all the Sonos pieces in the rack together with each other for network connections, that’s a classic one too. Then you want to take a low margin product and ask to make it cheaper? Why bother being in the business at all? 25 zones at maybe $100 profit per zone, maybe your charging plenty for install (though I doubt that).

Sonos has its place, but it doesn’t replace a large scale proper multi-room audio or a proper dedicated surround system. How’s Dolby Atmos on Sonos by the way?

Posted by Joshuaad on March 19, 2016

Sonos Outdoor speaker is a Connect Amp and specialized outdoor speakers… I’d like to be able to Airplay or Bluetooth connect to my Sonos products directly from a device when it is more convenient or it is the only thing available… That’s important… Play 5’s as LCR’s for sure… Hi Res music capability is good too, but does it matter with the current line of speakers and amps?... So good in principle… make you API’s available to control products as well as HomeKit, Echo, etc….

Posted by Joshuaad on March 19, 2016

Sonos Outdoor speaker is a Connect Amp and specialized outdoor speakers.

Posted by mralarm000 on March 18, 2016

Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker….. even Heos has something portable and wireless with a battery.
Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker…..
Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker, Outdoor Speaker…..

Posted by madawg on March 18, 2016

Wow - How soon the shine can wear off of a go-to line. Low profit line, but still a go-to line.
The staying relevant statement is and always has been the marching credo of the CE industry. Always will be. A better way to say it: “Innovate or Die”.

Unfortunately, creating a $99 speaker is not innovative. Neither is reducing the price of current models. Both of those thoughts will do nothing but continue to have Sonos in a retraction mode.

Sonos must now leap-frog the new competitors beyond the “single point, wireless speaker business”. As the category reaches 10 years in life, it should / is going to be on the down turn. Or the competitive pressure for lower price points to gain a new level of consumer.

Innovate or Die, and death normally comes very quickly.

 

Posted by jdwiesch on March 18, 2016

Maybe Sonos should start licensing the UI and software like DTS Play-fi.  Sonos is the best user interface of any streaming product on the market by a fair margin.  I would be happy to see that Sonos was a native program inside of a new receiver, etc.  Sonos has survived solely because of the quality of the experience.  It has not been because of the lack of margin, the lack of integration capability or networking challenges.  In fact selling Sonos for the last ten years has been a difficult proposition.  We all had to create workarounds, and break apart our cleanly contained multi-room audio and integration systems to accomodate Sonos….but we did it, because it was the best experience that we were able bring to our clients.  I would hate to see them suffer because of the low end of the market and chasing $99 toys.  Anybody can make a wifi speaker.  It’s the UI that is their golden goose.

Posted by Nuz1 on March 18, 2016

Sonos needs to add playback of hi-rez files to its products.  Their competition already has: Bluesound, the DTS Play-fi players…  About the time either of these efforts come out with a soundbar and wireless sub, I think Sonos will really lose sales.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on March 18, 2016

Just a girl and Microsoft Word and the “remove background” command.

Posted by tyreed on March 18, 2016

Love the image. Now that is how Photoshop should be used!!