In a blog post, the CEO of speaker and home audio maker Sonos said the company will lay off employees as it adjusts to changes in the music industry by focusing on paid streaming services and voice control.
John MacFarlane, who co-founded Sonos in 2002, wrote: “We know the future is one where paid streaming and voice control play significant roles, and we’re committed to running a sustainable, profitable business so that we can fund innovation in these and other areas for decades to come. These last few weeks have been tough for everyone at Sonos. We’re a tight bunch, so saying goodbye is particularly painful. But I know that making these changes is the right thing to do for Sonos as we look to the future.”
Sonos makes wireless sound systems that connect to an app integrated with major music streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Sonos products have become popular for their ease of use and ability to connect multiple speakers, but it is facing more competition as large tech companies like Samsung and Google offer their own wireless home audio products.
In his post, MacFarlane said Sonos is “doubling down on our long-held conviction that streaming music is the dominant form of consumption now and in the future,” but also added that as more consumers adopt products like Amazon Echo, voice control will play an important role in the company’s future.
“Alexa/Echo is the first product to really showcase the power of voice control in the home. Its popularity with consumers will accelerate innovation across the entire industry. What is novel today will become standard tomorrow,” MacFarlane wrote. “Here again, Sonos is taking the long view in how best to bring voice-enabled music experiences into the home. Voice is a big change for us, so we’ll invest what’s required to bring it to market in a wonderful way.”
TechCrunch has contacted Sonos to see if it has more specific details about the layoffs and its future plans. In an email, a Sonos representative said:
“Like many high growth companies, Sonos constantly evaluates its workforce to ensure we have the skills and talent to lead us to the next series of milestones.
Our opportunity has never been greater as the transition to streaming accelerates. We’re in a terrific position to continue delivering great listen-out-loud experiences at home now, and in the future.”