How to get iTunes Radio working with your Sonos system via AirPlay

I've had a Sonos system since the beginning of the year and can't imagine my life without it now. Put it this way, I love Sonos. And if I could think of a stronger word, I'd use it. However, one irritation of mine has always been that it doesn't come with built-in AirPlay support. It also doesn't support iTunes Radio, another minor annoyance to me. However, I did some thinking and poking around yesterday and found out that depending on your system setup, you can trick Sonos into streaming iTunes Radio throughout your entire home. Here's how!

Before continuing, you'll need to have one of the following in place for this trick to work —

  • An Apple TV that's connected to your Sonos system - either directly or via your TV or entertainment system
  • An AirPort Express that's connected to your Sonos system via a line-in

As long as you have at least one component of your Sonos system connected to one of the above, you should be able to get up and running by following these steps —

How to trick Sonos into streaming iTunes Radio via AirPlay

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC.
  2. Click on the AirPlay icon at the top.
  3. Click on your Apple TV or AirPort Express that is connected directly to your Sonos system.
  4. Once iTunes connects, play whatever you'd like via iTunes Radio.
  5. Now launch the Sonos Controller app on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad and group your speakers together with the Sonos component you AirPlayed to in step 3.

That's it! You should now hear multi-room iTunes Radio streaming from your Sonos system. Is it a perfect workaround? No. But it does work. I've noticed a few connection issues here and there but nothing so terrible it would prevent me from using it when I want to listen to something on iTunes Radio.

Theoretically, you can AirPlay from any iPhone, iPad, or Mac to any connected Apple TV or AirPort Express and stream virtually any audio. It's not perfect but it works. So if you've got a Sonos system, give it a try and let me know what you think. And as always, if you found something that works better, let me know that too!

Also, be sure to check out my colleague Serenity's guide to hacking together your own speaker system using Sonos, Airfoil, and older iOS devices.