Sonos will connect the Apple Music streaming music service with its Sonos wireless speaker systems starting Dec. 15 so that users can pipe Apple's music into their homes, offices or other locations as part of a beta preview.
The addition of streaming music from Apple Music will bolster the wide variety of other streaming platforms already available through Sonos speakers and its mobile app, including Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music, SiriusXM, Amazon Music, Rhapsody and more.
The Apple Music beta offering was announced by John MacFarlane, the CEO of Sonos, in a Nov. 30 post on the Sonos Blog.
"The teams at Apple and Sonos have been working very hard to bring Apple Music to Sonos, and look forward to hearing your feedback," wrote MacFarlane. "Because it's a preview, we know there are areas we'll need to improve, and we'll continue to do so throughout the beta."
By integrating Apple Music with the Sonos app and speaker systems, users will gain the ability to stream their favorite Apple Music features through Sonos smart speakers in one room or all over a house or other location, he wrote.
Up to six users of an Apple Music family account will be able to listen to their own music preferences under the beta, he wrote. "You can even share songs and playlists with each other in a unique way that only Sonos can deliver."
The final version of the app that will include Apple Music is expected to arrive early in 2016, according to Sonos.
Customers who want to participate in the Apple Music beta on Sonos can sign up in advance. To participate, customers can open the Sonos app, then tap "Settings" and then "Advanced Settings." Next, users can tap "Beta Program," and then tap "Join the Beta Program."
Apple Music launched June 30 with free 90-day trials and signed up some 11 million users in its first five weeks. Apple Music costs $14.99 a month for a family plan that lets up to six household members use an account, or $9.99 for a single monthly membership for one person.
With Apple Music, Apple is taking on a wide range of established rivals in the streaming music business, including Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody.
Apple Music puts the entire Apple Music catalog of some 30 million songs at the fingertips of subscribers. A user's existing music tracks, whether purchased from the iTunes Store or ripped from CDs, live in one place on their devices alongside the Apple Music catalog. With an Apple Music membership, a user's entire library lives in Apple's iCloud. The service automatically compares every track in a user's music collection to Apple's music library and can play it from the iCloud if Apple has a copy. If the music is not in Apple's catalog, it is uploaded from iTunes on a user's Mac or PC so it won't take up space on a user's devices.
The service also incorporates an intelligent search engine to help users find the music they are seeking. It remembers whether users are looking in their local music library or in the Apple Music library, so they get results from the place they expect. Users can also browse music they've previously looked for, and they can see what searches are trending.
Apple Music members can add tracks, albums or videos from the Apple Music library once they find it in search. Members can then also create personalized playlists from music they've added to their collections. Plus, music can be saved for offline listening on the road.
In addition, Apple Music allows users to integrate their existing iTunes collections, learn about new artists and music from expert curators, and select their favorite and least-favorite types of music so Apple Music can share suggestions based on user preferences.
Also featured in Apple Music are curated playlists from experts around the world as well as Beats 1, a live online radio streaming service that includes on-air personalities spinning songs and exploring new music with listeners.
Subscribers can also take in a Connect feature in Apple Music, which lets artists and fans communicate with one another directly for a more intimate look at the music and bands that fans love. Through Connect, artists can share on-the-road experiences, lyrics, backstage photos and videos, or release their latest songs directly to fans from an iPhone, while fans can comment or interact with artists through social media platforms.