Exporting Apple Music to support Sonos playback

I have significant investment in older Sonos devices on which I could listen to my iTunes library among other things. I did not realize that the conversion to Apple Music during the Big Sur upgraded completely broke the Sonos access to the Apple Music library. Apparently Apple and Sonos are blaming each other for the problems. It is my understanding the that the root of the problem is Apple Music database and Sonos lack of support for the Version 1 Sonos devices.

I then embarked on trying to export all my music files from the new Apple Music database to a network drive that Sonos could then access. All the suggestions I’ve found from searching the web have lead to dead ends. Apple Music does have a “Library Export” option but that simply creates an XML file with all the metadata for the music but not the music itself.

Was wondering if anyone else here has had any thoughts or experiences about this task.

What difficulty are you having and what have you tried to do to solve it? I have Sonos 1 kit I bought in 2013. I upgraded the OS on my iMac Pro to Big Sur and I continue to have access to my entire Music library via the Sonos app on my iPhone. I seem to recall I had to use the Sonos application on the iMac to re-establish the connection to the library after the upgrade, but I’ve had no difficulty since then.

Well, this is a bit out of the box…but our ASUS XT8 mesh router includes an iTunes (not Apple Music) server as one of its apps. It can be set up to organize music files on an attached USB drive and serve them to your internal network.

Of course I’m not expecting that you’re going to replace your internal network to get your Sonos system running again. But I do recall that NAS devices, which in general are little standalone computers attached to your network, often have the capability to serve media out over the network as well.

Following this approach would move you away from depending on your Mac to serve media in addition to everything else you’re expecting of it. It’s entirely capable, but in this case I’d prefer a system that moves a little more slowly than Apple’s annual major OS upgrades.

How is Sonos on the iMac configured regarding the music location?

Are you using the Sonos 1 app?

I have the Sonos S1 Controller app on the Mac. In the Manage menu, there’s an option “Music Library Settings…”. It was a while ago and I confess I’ve forgotten exactly what I did, but it’s working.

What you’ve described is what I want to accomplish. However, my Apple Music app has hidden all the songs in a database and has most of them stored in iCloud. What I would like to do is extract all the songs from the database and iCloud out to an external network drive. That is what I’ve failed to do.

I was able to reconnect the Sonos system to the Apple Music library and successfully play some songs. However, not everything is there!

I’m beginning to think my Apple Music library is completely screwed up. I can see tracks listed but then can’t be located. I ripped a CD in September and earlier this morning, Apple Music claimed the file was at “file:///Users/erikhusby/Music/Music/Media.localized/Catherine Russell/Alone Together/01 Alone Together.m4a” but had an iCloud status of “Error”. It is definitely not in that directory. Plus several tracks are not listed.

Think I will start with restoring from a TimeMachine backup.

I’ve restored the Music directory from a TimeMachine backup from several months ago. Before restoring, I disconnected Sonos from the Apple Music library. After restoring I reconnected Sonos to the Apple Music library.

In Apple Music I can see all the tracks of albums that I could not see before the restore. And when requesting a track, it usually needs to be downloaded from iCloud before playing.

However, in Sonos, I still can’t see all the albums or all tracks on many albums. I am trying to determine why Sonos can see some tracks but not others.

It seems that Apple Music wants to work on a download as needed process. As well as there being problems with matching ripped CDs with the Apple iCloud. In 1 album I looked at in Apple Music, there were two entries for the same track. One had a location as in iCloud and the other had a location pointing to a local file that does not exist.

I wonder if it is things like this that are causing problems with Sonos.

SO I back to what I was trying to do – get local copies of all tracks that I own that are stuck in the iCloud.

In the Songs view on the library sidebar, Edit / Select All (or Cmd-A) so they are all highlighted, then Song menu / Download.

I do use the Sonos app and it works well for me, but I have the updated Sonos service (S2 I guess they call it) and my Mac mini that has my whole library is on Mojave, so iTunes (though I am about to upgrade it to Big Sur soon.) Also, sometimes Sonos flakes out seeing songs on the library, so I’ve started connecting to the Apple Music service and accessing my playlists there. The only downside to that is no access to smart playlists, but I’m ok with updating my playlists manually every month or so.

I just found that it is easy enough to display the Songs list in Music and then right-click—>Download to download everything in that list.

I have not had much time even to look at the redesigned/split off Apple Music player, but I’m also seeing that copies of songs I purchased years ago and have always stored locally were deleted and made available on the store. I also (in Big Sur) cannot find any way to turn that behavior off. So, I suspect sooner or later those music files will be deleted again.

This may be an unintended by product of Apple wanting to help conserve storage space on devices with smaller storage capacity. Here, it’s definitely not wanted.

My advice would be to download all your song files, and then copy the Music or Media directory to another location so Apple Music can’t find it.

I’d look at Preferences in the Music app, in the General pane, to make sure that “Automatic Downloads” and “Always Check for Available Downloads” is turned on. I have these off on my MBA because I don’t want the music downloaded locally, and that’s the only Big Sur or Catalina system I have at the moment. But I would think that those options would keep the music on the Mac.

My advice would be to download all your song files, and then copy the Music or Media directory to another location so Apple Music can’t find it.

This is exactly what I am trying to do.

I selected all tracks in Apple Music and then requested Download. Out of the 9,000 tracks that I’d ripped from CDs it downloaded about 1,200 of them. Most of those I can play but can’t download locally. No idea why the down load menu item is not displayed on those. Fortunately I’ve still got the CD collection stored in the attic but do not look forward to ripping them again.

I realize this doesn’t answer the OP’s issue, as his Music Library was damaged by Big Sur. However, just for reference to others who may not yet be in that boat, and are hoping to avoid issues with Apple Music, there is a nice alternative.

Plex Server is free, and can stream all of your music library. I abandoned the Apple Music desktop app a few years back when Apple made it clear they wanted iOS devices to go elsewhere for their apps and updates. Periodically, I was already running a one-way update “sync” of all my music into a folder on my RAID, so when I started using Plex to organize all my various video content, I pointed the Music folder of Plex to that folder of all my music gathered from various places. I was quite pleased with the result, as Plex retrieved album art, bios of artists, and other information. My library is now streamable to the PlexAmp app on my phone, as well as the desktop Plex app. I am very pleased with the many capabilities of Plex, and love having all of my media in one “place.”