There are two pieces of technology that I use daily and I’m not talking about my computer and smartphone. As an avid music lover I can’t go a day without using Grooveshark and Sonos.
For those who don’t know, Grooveshark is a free online music streaming service that allows users to search for and stream virtually any song they can think of. You can even create a queue of songs and save them as playlists, perfect for those late night work sessions or backyard BBQs! A paid account is required to save playlists by the way.
Sonos is a Wireless HiFi system that enables us music lovers to wirelessly listen to and enjoy music anywhere in the house simply by using your smart phone as the controller and the Sonos speakers as zones.
For example, you could have a speaker in the dining room, another in the family room, one in the bedroom and so on. You can then stream your local music library (or music services such as Songza) to each zone simultaneously or play something different in each zone. Absolutely amazing!
Sonos is primarily used for streaming your personal music library throughout your home but it can also be used to stream one of many supported music services as well. Unfortunately the list of supported services doesn’t include Grooveshark. What a pitty.
Why Grooveshark? Because it’s awesome! My personal music library is huge but even still it doesn’t compare to having access to one of the largest music libraries in the world.
The bummer is the chance that Sonos will officially support Grooveshark in the future is slim to none. Sonos, not one to ruffle any feathers, will steer well clear of Grooveshark for the foreseeable future.
You see, Grooveshark hovers over a volatile grey area that many record labels deem as illegal and yet there is technically nothing wrong with Grooveshark’s user generated music database. At least for now anyways.
So as an avid user of both pieces of technology, I had to accept the fact that using both together was not possible. Although I’m not one to give up that easily!
Sonos, Meet Grooveshark.
I spent many hours on my quest for music nirvana (the state of being and not the band). I researched and experimented with many different approaches and finally came up with not just one, but several approaches that will get Grooveshark to play through your beloved Sonos system.
I’ve outlined each approach below. Consider this as my gift to music lovers everywhere!
1. The Direct Line-in Approach
If you have a Sonos device that accepts a line in, you’re in luck. Well, sort of. You’ll be able to connect any device that has a headphone jack out port to your line-in on your Sonos component. This means you’ll be able to play Grooveshark through your device directly into your Sonos system and stream it throughout your home. Simple, right?
This of course is the most obvious approach but most of us don’t want to tether our device to a Sonos component in order to enjoy Grooveshark. We want the untethered approach so that we’re not tied to a specific location in order to listen to and control Grooveshark through Sonos. It all about freedom baby!
Furthermore, not every device is capable of playing Grooveshark. Can anyone say iPhone, iPad or iPod? That’s a mouthful.
2. The Untethered Desktop/Laptop Approach
You can of course tether a computer directly to capable line-in Sonos device if you’re lucky enough to have one but that’s not what we’re after. Remember, freedom baby?!With a Desktop/Laptop you can install and use a nifty little program called JamCast. This cool piece of software can stream your computers audio to any device that is DLNA compatible. Actually many devices are DNLA compatible now-a-days and really this approach can give you something comparable to the Sonos system without using a Sonos system at all, if you were so inclined. Comparable but no where near as good!
Anyways, you can get your hands on JamCast now for $14.99! JamCast is easy to install and can be used to stream your Grooveshark from your computer to Sonos. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the link below.
My only problem with this approach is that it’s still not as portable as I would like it to be. You’ll either be tied to your desktop computer or you’ll have to resort to carrying around your laptop.
Sure, creating a lengthy playlist that you can launch during your next event would minimize your need to interact with Grooveshark but I tell you, how many times have you had those out-of-the-blue song requests?
3. The Android / iPhone Remote Desktop Approach
Let’s take things a step further. Using either one of the two approaches above (direct line-in or JamCast) you can install a remote desktop application on your Android or iPhone and remotely access your desktop where ever you are in your house. That way you can manage Grooveshark from your desktop through your phone.
Although this approach does work, it’s not my favorite approach. Depending on your available WiFi bandwidth, you might find that the remote desktop and/or the streaming audio can be affected with JamCast and remote desktop running at the same time.
There’s also something to be said about managing managing Grooveshark’s playlists and queue directly from my portable device rather than remotely accessing it via my desktop.
If you do go with this approach, I found these remote desktops to work well. These both used to be free … perhaps no longer?
I think it’s time to get a little more serious.
4. The Jailbroken Apple iPhone Approach
With an Apple iPhone (iPad or iPod) you first need to Jailbreak your iPhone. I won’t bother getting into how this is done but this is necessary because you won’t be able to install the Grooveshark app without doing so. You could access the HTML5 version of Grooveshark through your iPhone’s browser but it just doesn’t hit the mark for me yet.
Next, you need to push your Grooveshark audio from your iPhone to Sonos. There are a couple of ways of doing this.First, a more expensive approach is to get your hands on an Apple TV 2 or Apple TV 3 (or not if you already have one). You will hopefully have the ATV device hooked up somewhere near a Sonos component that accepts RCA or 3.5mm mini jack inputs. Also, you will need a digital optical to analog converter similar to this one.
Here is the idea. From your jailbroken iPhone you will launch the Grooveshark app and airplay your audio to your ATV device. Your optical out connection from your ATV will be hooked into your converter. From the converter you will take the RCA or mini jack output and plug it into your Sonos component. You will then select this input as your source via the Sonos software on your iPhone. I know, sounds confusing but trust me it’s easy.
This will let you airplay Grooveshark from your iPhone and into your Sonos system, which in turn can be set through Sonos to stream the audio to the other Sonos components through out the house.
Similarly you can Airplay your audio directly to your PC and use JamCast to stream this audio back out to your Sonos system as described previously. Airplay to PC you say!? Yes, this can be done by using one of the following software jems.
Again, this approach is decent and does work seemingly well. In fact its the approach I used for the past year. The downside is that you need to have several things in place in order to make this work, which could end up costing you addition coin you’re not willing to spend.
5. The Android 4.4.2 KitKat Device Approach (otherwise known as music nirvana!)
Recently I decided to make the jump from iPhone to Android and I haven’t been disappointed. I absolutely love Android. For a tinkerer like me it’s an absolute dream but that’s another story for another day. Let’s get back on track.
With an Android 4.4.2 Kitkat device things get even easier and much, much better when it comes to a true Grooveshark to Sonos experience!
First, you’ll need to unlock and root your android device. Again, I won’t bother going into details on how to unlock and root your device. Tons of info is available on the internet. It’s rather easy. Just be sure to backup your data!
Next, download the Grooveshark app for Android. You’ll need to visit the Grooveshark app download page to do this. The Grooveshark app is not officially recognized by Google and therefore won’t be available through the Google Play store. By the way, the Grooveshark app can be installed on non-rooted devices as well.
Next, you want to get your hands on Macronos!As of the time of this writing, Macronos is in beta so you’ll need to jump through a few simple hoops to get it. Also, it’s important to note that as the development for this app continues, the app before too long may be able to work on your phone without rooting it.
For now, you’ll first need to go to the following page to download and install the official release app.
Then head over to the Macronos community page and join the group.
Click on the link at the top that says Beta Testing Opt-in. This link will only work when you join the group. This will give you access to the latest Beta release of Macronos. You’ll definitely want this!!
The beta version of Macronos will give you the ability to stream ANY audio from your Android device directly to your Sonos system. Simply go to Settings section in the Marconos app and press the Android audio to Sonos service. Once installed you should get the Quick Tile menu Cast screen as seen in the video below.
This is SUPER easy to use once installed and even though this is in beta, it has worked flawlessly for me thus far. I simply launch my Grooveshark app, set the Cast Screen option as shown in the video above and done! I’m pleased to say that my search for the ultimate Grooveshark to Sonos setup is finally over!