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Streaming to Sonos with Stream What You Hear

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This is one of those blog posts that are pretty obvious but took a surprisingly long time for me to start using.

Here’s the problem I have. Our family mostly listens to music when we’re in the car or when someone is working from the home office. For this, we use Spotify Premium Family. It costs a bit more but grants you six premium accounts for ~$16/month. The kids have Spotify on their phones and log in with their accounts. For the car, we use my account because changing the account is so cumbersome you never want to do it again. I could create an alias account, such as [email protected], for the car – but then I’d lose the playlists, favorites, and daily mixes Spotify so nicely manages for me.

What’s the problem then? If my wife is driving the car to pick up the 4-year-old from daycare, Spotify is reserved. I cannot listen to Spotify at home anywhere, as I’m fighting between streaming in the car or at home. If I press play, the vehicle stops playing—the curse of the single account.

How did I resolve this? Well, it’s a combination of two things: an application called Stream What You Hear and YouTube Music. I also realize, while typing this, that I’ve over-engineered my solution, but it works for me very well.

Why YouTube Music? The 4-year-old insists on seeing particular shows on YouTube while waiting for dinner to be ready. And I hate that YouTube pushes weird ads with 1×1 pixel close buttons – so I opted to pay for the mid-range YouTube premium subscription just for this.

However, I now get Youtube Music which is on par with Spotify for my needs at the home office. But, this introduces another problem! Playing Youtube Music on the browser will stream to my connected devices – the Plantronics plastic speaker I use for audio feedback during online meetings or my headset. I’d instead use my stereo Sonos setup. But Sonos being Sonos, won’t allow me to stream directly from Windows without a specific capability the Spotify application has built-in (I think this is called Spotify Connect).

And herein comes the Stream What You Hear to play. I start playing music on Youtube Music in my Firefox browser on the desktop. I then click the SWYH app and point it to stream to my Sonos stereo setup (two separate Sonos speakers paired as stereo). And it works! SWYH is now also open source.