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Here’s one reason Sonos is bullish about the future after its stock market debut

Published Aug 2nd, 2018 3:43PM EDT
Sonos first day of trading
Image: Sonos

“We see this as definitely a milestone in a long journey.”

Those are the words of Chris Kallai, vice president of product management at Sonos, which kicked off its first day as a publicly traded company today amid what’s already been something of a whirlwind year for the company.

Sonos recently announced, among other things, a partnership with Ikea; it launched the Sonos Beam smart speaker in June; and AirPlay 2 was made available for Sonos speakers starting in July. In all, the company has launched 13 products since 2005, and its products are distributed in more than 50 countries today.

In an interview with BGR, Kallai pointed to white-hot growth in the paid music streaming market as another tailwind that will give a boost to the smart speaker maker. Indeed, it’s one reason among many the company is bullish about what’s next for it.

“We’ve been growing the business year-over-year, and we see the opportunity really just getting started when it comes to the streaming market,” he said.

In terms of the market trends for streaming, he continued, there were 29 million global paid streaming subscribers in 2013. This year, that figure will be 176 million, “and we’re seeing it grow to 293 million by 2021.”

Among other reasons he thinks Sonos is positioned well in the wake of its stock market debut is the fact that after having been in business for 16 years, 93 percent of the products it’s shipped are still active today. “That definitely is unique for a hardware company.” The company also estimates about 6.9 million households currently have a total of almost 19 million Sonos products.

“We think about this in three pieces,” Kallai said. “The first is quality. No other voice-enabled product or wireless music system has the sound quality, the build quality that we have. The second is our system. We have a system that works as a total home system, between your sound bar, your outdoor speakers, speakers all over your house or if you have just one Sonos product. The third is really our openness and our software platform. There’s no walled garden. You’re really mashing up a whole variety of ecosystems on one chunk of hardware.”

Sonos earned almost $1 billion in revenue in fiscal 2017, and the company says its customers listen to some 70 hours of content a month. And after they buy their first Sonos product, the company’s figures show those customers tend to listen to 80 percent more music, as we reported here.

Sonos is competing with rivals partly by, well, joining them. Besides its existing partnerships, Sonos has said Google Assistant support will be coming later this year.

All of which made for a strong story ahead of trading today — and certainly going forward. The company started trading at $15 a share today and quickly saw a 20 percent bounce.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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