Add podcasts

Sonos offers several features to enable listeners to discover and interact with podcasts in the Sonos app. These include release dates, time played, quick skip forward and backward, and additional metadata specific to podcasts. These features build upon the concepts described in Content Services: Get Started. You can add podcasts to your service on Sonos using the elements described in this guide.


Current podcast partners

If you already offer podcasts on Sonos, here’s what you need to send to Sonos to add the new features:

  • Release date for an episode.
  • Podcast for an episode.
  • Producer for an episode and a podcast.
  • HTML summaries for episodes and podcasts.
  • Current position within the episode, if you support pause and resume. See Save & resume playback for details.

See Podcast metadata requirements, below, for details.


Table of contents


How the Sonos app displays podcasts

See the screens below to get a sense of how listeners can interact with podcasts on Sonos.


Root browse

The root browse view displays everything available on your service, which can include more than just podcasts. If your service specializes in podcasts, you can offer containers for all podcasts, subscribed podcasts, new episodes, favorites, or any other categories you choose.

When the listener taps a container with podcasts, you can show them a podcast LIST view. When they tap a container with podcast episodes (i.e. New Releases), you can show them an episode LIST view.

See Content on Sonos for details on how to configure these containers.


Podcast LIST view

The podcast LIST view displays a list of podcasts with the podcast name and producer. The Sonos app displays these based on the getMetadata response. So be sure to sort the response in the way that you want the listener to see it.

See Customize display for an overview of display types and views. See Podcast metadata examples for an example.

The listener can tap a podcast to open the podcast HERO-EDITORIAL view.


Episode LIST view

The episode list view displays a list of episodes. The Sonos app displays these in the sort order returned in the getMetadata response. The app also shows the date, time remaining, and a histogram if the listener is currently playing the episode. It also shows some of the episode summary, stripping out any HTML.

The three dots open the more menu. The listener can use the more menu to perform actions on the podcast or tap an episode to start playing the podcast. See More menu options for details.

See Customize display for an overview of display types and views. See Podcast metadata examples, below, for an example.


Podcast HERO-EDITORIAL view

The Sonos app displays podcasts using the HERO-EDITORIAL display type. This includes a large header with the summary, with a list of episodes that include the episode title, release date, time remaining, histogram, summary, and more menu options. This is different from the HERO display type, which has small cells.

You can define a displayType in your presentation map to change how this looks, but we recommend that you try the defaults first as we’ve tested them with listeners and they’ve been designed for the best possible experience.

The podcast HERO-EDITORIAL view displays a header with the podcast title and producer followed by the summary of the podcast, which the listener can expand from two lines by tapping the more button. The podcast summary supports HTML (see below for details). The listener can tap play to begin playing the podcast, starting with the top-most episode. The Sonos app uses this view by default when you use the podcast value in the semanticType element. See Podcast metadata examples, below, for details.

See Customize display for details about this and other display types.


More menu options

A listener can tap the three dots next to an episode to access the more menu to perform additional actions on the episode. You can offer the following actions to listeners:

  • Episode details — Show a detailed summary of the episode. This supports HTML.
  • Add episode to playlist — if you offer playlists, you can enable listeners to add the podcast to a playlist on your service. See Add playlists for details.
  • Browse this podcast — open the podcast HERO-EDITORIAL view for the podcast.
  • More from this provider — open a container with a podcast LIST view of podcasts by this producer.
  • Other options — see Add actions for additional actions you can add to this menu.

See Showing episode details, below, for details on how to populate the more menu for an episode. You can also use the same APIs to populate the more menu for podcasts.


Now playing

On the now playing view, you can offer quick skips. By default, this is 15 seconds back and 30 seconds forward. You can customize these in your presentation map. See Quick skips, below, for details.


Podcast elements

The following elements were added to better support podcasts in the Sonos app and on players. See the Sonos WSDL to see these elements in context with others in the API. Download the WSDL from SOAP requests and responses.

  • semanticType element
    • This is at the same level as itemType and specifies the semantic type for an item or collection.
    • mediaMetadata and mediaCollection items still need to have an itemType.
    • The optional semanticType gives Sonos controllers and players more information about your metadata while allowing older controllers and players to browse and play newer types of content. See Podcast metadata requirements for details.
  • Additional metadata for mediaCollection and trackMetadata:
    • producer — similar to artist, this is the name of the podcast producer, provider, or network that created that podcast or podcast episode.
    • producerId — similar to artistId, this is the unique ID of the producer.
    • podcast — similar to album, this is the name of the podcast. Note that this is different from the title of the individual podcast episode.
    • podcastId — similar to albumId, this is the unique ID of the podcast.
  • Additional metadata for mediaCollection and mediaMetadata:
    • summary — description of the podcast or podcast episode. Limited to 4096 characters. This element supports HTML. See below for details.
    • releaseDate — date that the episode was released, in ISO 8601 standard format. We added this element added to AbstractMedia in the WSDL so that it was added to both mediaCollection and mediaMetadata.
    • positionInformation object — holds track and offset timing information to allow listeners to pause and resume podcasts. Added to AbstractMedia element. This enables the Sonos app to show pie charts on Browse screens. See Save & resume playback for details.

Podcast metadata requirements

For your podcasts to appear in the Sonos app and be played on Sonos players, you must return the following information in your SMAPI responses:

  • All podcast containers must have <semanticType>podcast</semanticType> and <itemType>show</itemType> or <itemType>show</itemType>.
  • All podcast episodes must have <semanticType>episode.podcast</semanticType> and <itemType>track</itemType>.
  • All podcasts and podcast episodes should have an ISO 8601-compliant releaseDate in the mediaMetadata or mediaCollection.
  • All podcast episodes must have a podcast and podcastId in the mediaMetadata. Optionally, producer and producerId can also be in mediaMetadata for podcast episodes.
  • All podcasts and podcast episodes should have a summary in the mediaMetadata or mediaCollection.
  • All podcasts episodes should have a positionInformation object to indicate the resume position in the episode.
  • All podcast episodes that have a summary field should also have a relatedText element in the getExtendedMetadata response. See getExtendedMetadataText for details.

Podcast metadata examples

Example of mediaCollection for a podcast:

Example of mediaMetadata for a podcast:


HTML summaries and details

We support HTML in the summary element. You must escape reserved character in the HTML. See HTML Entities on w3schools.com for details, or see the example below. The Sonos app renders HTML in the Hero header and on the episode details page. The app strips HTML when it shows the summary within a browse cell. The maximum number of characters for a summary in the getMetadata response is 4096.

We support the following HTML tags in the getExtendedMetadataText response:

  • <p>
  • <em>
  • <b>
  • <i>
  • <strong>
  • <br>
  • <ul>
  • <li>

Example of a summary with HTML:


Showing episode details

For podcast episodes, Sonos uses the getExtendedMetadata and getExtendedMetadataText responses to create a view of the full podcast episode summary and a play button that allows the listener to play and resume the episode. See More menu options for an example.

This is generated from the following getExtendedMetadata response:

If the itemType is episode.podcast, and there is a relatedText object in the response, the Sonos app puts this custom action to the top of the more menu for the podcast episode. See Add actions for details.

If the type is EPISODE_NOTES, the Sonos app automatically uses the string “Episode Details”. Or you could define a new string in the strings.xml file. See Strings and Localization for details.

The app won’t show the Play button if canPlay is false or if the container does not contain a semanticType element.


Quick skips

The Sonos app displays quick skip icons so listeners can skip backward or forward in an episode. Set these by item type in the presentation map file. Use the episode.podcast type to set these values for podcasts. By default, the quick skip values for podcasts are 15 seconds backward and 30 seconds forward.

Change the default values for quick skips in the presentation map file. To change them:

  • Add a PresentationMap element with a type attribute of QuickSkips.
  • Add a QuickSkip sub-element with a type attribute of episode.podcast.
  • Add a forwardSeconds value between 0 and 60 for the number of seconds to skip forward. Sonos uses this value for every podcast offered by your service.
  • Add a backwardSeconds value between 0 and 60 for the number of seconds to skip backward.

For example:

If you provide negative or missing values, Sonos uses the default values. If you add a value over the maximum, such as 71, Sonos uses the maximum value (in this case, 60).

To disable a quick skip option, use a value of 0. If you disable a quick skip option, the Sonos app displays it with a default value, but the button will be greyed out and users won’t be able to use it.


Showing position information

The Sonos app shows the minutes remaining for each episode. If a listener has started a podcast, the app displays a pie chart next to the minutes remaining that displays a visual representation of the listener’s progress. Once the listener has completed the episode, the app replaces the pie chart with a check mark. See Episode list view and Podcast HERO-EDITORIAL view for examples.

Note: The Sonos app shows the duration specified in the metadata for the views above and for the time remaining value. But the scrubber on the Now Playing view uses the duration specified in the media file.

Enable this feature by returning a positionInformation object in your getMetadata response. This object details the progress information for the episode and whether or not it is complete. Here’s an example:

See positionInformation for details.


Enabling pause and resume

See Save & resume playback for details.


Podcast episodes enqueue individually

Podcast episodes enqueue individually. Unlike songs, when a listener selects a podcast episode from a list to play it, Sonos plays only that episode. For songs, Sonos enqueues the entire container and plays the song that a listener selected within that queue. Listeners can still add individual podcast episodes to the queue. In this way, users can build their own queue of diverse content.