Pandora's beefed-up Sonos control adds Alexa support

Pandora may have been overshadowed by rival streaming music services in recent years, but a new Sonos integration could push it back into the limelight. The update brings full Sonos control right into the Pandora app, including multi-room playback support. It also adds more collaborative play, allowing guests to take on DJ duties from their own phone.

Sonos has had Pandora support for the past decade, but this updated integration stretches it from simply streaming through the connected speakers. It bakes Sonos control into the Pandora smartphone app, in addition to adding control for the service to Amazon's Alexa on the Echo.

From the updated Pandora app, for instance, it'll be possible to not only choose which streams go to which Sonos speakers, but to control the grouping and ungrouping of those speakers too. Streams can be moved from room to room without interruption, along with all the basics like volume control. If you've got a device with Alexa support, you'll be able to ask for saved Pandora stations to be played back on Sonos by voice.

If guests have the Pandora app, it'll be possible to share control over the Sonos system with them. Then, they'll be able to play their own Pandora stations through the speakers too.

The new integration will support the free Pandora tier, as well as the subscription-based Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium tiers. If you've got the latter, you'll be able to search for songs, albums, and playlists specifically, as part of Pandora's on-demand service. Launched earlier this year, it blurred the lines between the algorithmically-generated playlists Pandora launched with, and more traditional streaming music catalogs from companies like Spotify and Tidal.

While Pandora might have been nudged out of attention by rivals like those, according to the firm it's still a heavyweight in the streaming industry. More than 50-percent of Sonos users in the US stream Pandora stations, it says, and in this year alone, 250 million hours of those stations were played on Sonos systems. Pandora listening on voice-activated devices, like smart speakers, is apparently up 300-percent, year over year.

The new Sonos intentions in the Pandora app launch today.