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Here's what happened when Sonos gave away a bunch of free speakers in Melbourne

Naturally, Melbourne jumped at the chance for free speakers and coffee. 

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Over the past weeks, you may have noticed a multitude of posters and murals featuring a pop art style set of mouths appearing around the city and wondered to yourself what it was all about.

The mouths indicate the new direction audio visionaries Sonos are taking with their new voice controlled smart speaker, the Sonos One, and in celebration of its release the company teamed up with local artist Carla McRae to paint the town red (lipped).

Sonos originally joined forces with Japan-based artist Karan Singh for the design, one vaguely reminiscent of the iconic Rolling Stones emblem – albeit a bit less cheeky than the signature tongue wagging rock’n’roll stamp – bringing a Melbourne-inspired spin with local artist McRae affording the logo her own style and a splash of colour to boot.

The Sonos One is the smart speaker for music lovers, a tool for sharing and experiencing music as it should be, so it was only fitting that the speaker was unveiled to the public in an equally celebratory fashion. Over the first weekend of June, Sonos hosted a two day launch party within Collingwood’s stylish Besser Space which was transformed into a creative hub of music, art, coffee and, above all, the new Sonos One.

The speaker is a combination of technology, audio quality and aesthetic design; melding Sonos’ renowned high standards for sound quality with voice-controlled technology featuring Amazon Alexa, and a compact, sleek design, making it the perfect fit for any space you wish to fill with music.

The main attraction on day one of the launch was Sonos’ inaugural Dumb Speaker Amnesty in which attendees were invited to bring along their old speakers and trade them in for a brand new Sonos One. Hundreds of Melburnians lined up on Saturday morning for the chance ­- preloved speakers in hand - ready for an upgrade. 

Patiently waiting for a new vessel to carry their favourite tunes – and a responsible form of disposal for their dust-gathering, well-used devices – the line of enthusiastic music listeners snaked it’s way through Besser Space as the team handed out 200 new speakers. The old speakers were upcycled into a sculpture by fellow Melbourne artist George Rose who crafted a large scale pop art piece featuring the signature Sonos mouth within the studio.

In the same theme of celebrating local artists, prints of McRae’s Melbourne murals were on display around the space, each featuring the Sonos lips, bursts of colours and clean, geometric lines. Come Sunday, McRae herself joined the studio, paintbrush in hand, to conduct a live canvas painting. The artwork McRae crafted within The Besser Space in front of gawking onlookers was anyone’s for the taking thanks to a charity auction. The proceeds of the artwork’s sale would then be donated to The Song Room; a not-for-profit organisation aiding disadvantaged young people through music-based educational programs.

Of course, one cannot properly launch an audio device without some music, so Sonos called in up and coming Melbourne DJs, Human Movement, to curate a fitting playlist for the occasion while, in true Melbourne spirit, free coffee flowed. For those who didn’t nab a free Sonos One, there were a heap of goodies to be scored across the two-day affair with Sonos kindly giving out vouchers to a lucky handful of attendees.

In all, spirits were high as everyone absorbed the atmosphere celebrating music, art and a general togetherness, something that Sonos deliver in spades with the Sonos One. A speaker may just seem like a means to an end, a solution to your smartphone’s problem of inept sound quality and limited volume strength, but think about the way you use music and, in turn, a speaker to soundtrack moments in your life.

Whether it’s dialled down, background music to accompany dinner with family, your favourite-feel good tunes amping up a party with friends, or even dancing around the house on your own as you blast your secret guilty pleasure playlist – music is an integral component in the way we experience life and the special moments within it, which is something Sonos hope to be accomplice to.

Presented in partnership with Sonos

Learn more about the Sonos One here