Sonos goes the Blockbuster route with speakers for rent

Sonos are delving into the world of monthly subscriptions to see if renting sound systems appeals to people more than owning them.

Sonos have just launched a subscription service for their speakers. What they’re offering, to a very restricted Netherlands audience to start with, is as many Sonos speakers as you want to temporarily own for as little as €15 a month.

The subscription, called ‘Flex’, is all about making listening at home simple and affordable – flexible, you could say. Users can change their subscription to add or remove speakers at any time and there’s no lock-in to stop you cancelling.

It’s definitely cheaper than buying a Sonos speaker straight up. For the cheapest subscription, which offers 2 Sonos One speakers at €15 a month, it would cost an upfront price of nearly €500 for the 2 speakers. So you could rent them for 3 years and still not have paid as much as the total cost.

They offer 3 subscription options, including the cheapest option mentioned above. What they’re currently offering a select group of 500 households in the Netherlands is:

For Every Room: €15 a month for 2 Sonos One speakers
For Your TV: €25 a month for a Sonos Beam soundbar and 2 Sonos One speakers
For Home Theater: €50 a month for a Sonos Playbar, Sonos Subwoofer, and 2 Sonos One

All plans are available in Black or White and they are also offering professional installations to people living in Amsterdam. This likely means a professional surveying the room to find the best audio setup for your space.

Whilst these subscriptions are clearly best utilised on a short term basis, there is an advantage to paying long-term instead of just spending the money on your own set to own. Sonos will keep you regularly updated with the latest version of their speakers when you are subscribed to Flex.

For those asking if there might be a rent-to-own scheme added, maybe. When asked a Sonos spokeperson said: “We’re listening to customers throughout the program, and if that is an area of feedback, we’ll certainly look at it.”

Sonos haven’t spoken on a global expansion of Flex but they’re no doubt testing the waters before taking it further. Unless it turns out people don’t want to rent their sound systems, but in this day and age everything seems to become a subscription service.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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