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At home, most of us have unrestrained control of our Sonos queue, but at the office it gets a bit more complicated and Sonos office etiquette is becoming a hot topic.


The balance of work and play.


Rebecca Greenfield recently shared the Sonos rules from the Codeword offices and another article suggests a new phenomena referred to as “Sonos rage” driven by coworkers skipping tracks and jumping the queue. There is no doubt about it, listening to music together at the office can be a tricky undertaking, so here are a few guidelines we use in our office to create a harmonious listening environment.

Play for the people.

Nothing beats listening to music out loud together, but remember you are part of a community in the office.  When adding a selection to the queue, remember you are playing for your fellow coworkers, not just yourself.  I get it… you love jam bands and that guitar solo at the 14-minute mark is transcendental, but maybe in this shared space you can just play the album version and have your face melted on your own time.

Listen & Share.

While playing music in the office is a chance for your coworkers to get to know you and your musical tastes better, you should also pay attention to what they are adding to the queue.  Take the opportunity to play off some of their choices or introduce them to something new they might enjoy.  “Karen, I noticed you added Blurred Lines to the queue, thought you might enjoy discovering Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” which, “loosely inspired” it.”

And if you’re like the new Highsnobiety office you’ve figured out how to make a zone for each team so the sales team can listen to Sade while the editorial team listens to Lil Uzi Vert’s “All My Friends Are Dead” and a writer can listen to Bach in the conference room.

Respect the queue.

At Sonos we believe in the golden rule, so always add your track selection to the end of the queue.  The queue is sacred ground.  If you wouldn’t cut them in the cafeteria line for the last empanada, then why would you cut anyone in the Sonos queue?  This level of respect also extends to the issue of skipping tracks without permission. If someone’s music tastes are really grinding your gears, try talking it out with them.  “Roger, I love industrial metal, but just not at 9:30 on a Monday morning.  I just get too hyped and can’t focus on my budget spreadsheet.”  Now if the office abides by our first two rules of engagement, then this shouldn’t be an issue.  In a recent Bloomberg article, it was noted that Codeword, a New York based PR agency, established a banned list on songs.  A song could be added to the banned list if there was company-wide consensus.

Create a theme.

If you want to steer the office in one direction and create a little team-building challenge, then make a playlist theme for the day (i.e. Metal Mondays, Show Tune Tuesday, Work It Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Fresh Finds Friday, etc.)

Our friends at Frukt have mastered the art of shared listening, per Dom Hodge, Managing Director.

“I could never imagine our office without Sonos now. It’s part of our rituals as much as tea rounds, Friday beers, or birthday cakes. We have a New Music Tuesday list we make with releases we think we all should hear – we often also respond to something in the news and all start collaborating on lists. After reading about the sad death of Chris Cornell we blasted out grunge for 8 hours yesterday”

Keep the volume at a respectable level.

In your own homes, feel free to crank the Seger and reenact Risky Business in your tighty whities to your heart’s content.  The office demands a tad more decorum.  We especially have to look out for coworkers who are closer to a speaker and don’t lock the group volume.

We’re hoping these tips help lead to a more productive, harmonious workplace and quell any future bouts of “Sonos rage.”  Together, we can put an end to this kind of behavior by respecting the queue and each other.