Today, Sonos is introducing Sonos Pro, a new service targeted at businesses — restaurants, bars, and retail stores — that makes it easy to play music across numerous locations without breaking any licensing rules. Sonos Pro works with all S2-compatible hardware including the Ikea Symfonisk line and, if you’re into retrofitting existing speakers, the Amp and Port. The Verge reports:
Pro customers will gain access to a web portal that lets them remotely control what’s playing in each of their locations (divided into different zones) and perform troubleshooting from afar. If you’re a normal consumer and want to reset your Sonos system at home, you’ve got to unplug the products, but Pro customers will be able to do it with software. They’ll also have the ability to schedule particular genres for different times of the day to lock in the right atmosphere for their business. Want to keep the volume low in the mornings when you’ve got less foot traffic and automatically raise it during peak hours? Sonos Pro can do that.
The monthly Sonos Pro subscription, priced at $35 per business location, will include “Sonos Backgrounds.” This is a commercially licensed music service featuring a range of royalty-free music from independent artists that’s all legally compliant for streaming at business establishments. If you’re wondering why that’s necessary, businesses technically aren’t allowed to just start playing Spotify, Apple Music, or other mainstream music apps over their speakers. Spotify says so right here. Those services are only licensed for personal use; playing them in a public setting counts as a live performance, and that’s a no-no unless you’ve paid for the necessary licenses from ASCAP, BMI, and other organizations. That can get extremely complicated in and of itself.
The service will provide deep, granular control over the entire system in a commercial space. You can set maximum volume limits for each speaker or enable / disable features like AirPlay, line-in playback, and more. If you want to give your staff access to Spotify after hours, that’s doable with an “allow direct control” setting. Speaking of which, business owners can grant their employees access to Sonos Pro and set different permission tiers for each person. And again, this can all be done remotely. Try adjusting settings (or even switching your Wi-Fi network) for Sonos devices on a regular account, and it can get messy fast. If you’re away from the devices, forget about it.