Blue Note Records, founded in 1939, is not only one of the last great jazz labels still standing, but also one of the last great labels of the old school in general. Sonos makes wireless stereo components powered in large part by the streaming technology that’s rendering so many old school record labels obsolete. They’re not the most obvious brands to partner up, but today they dropped a limited edition version of Sonos’s surprisingly powerful PLAY:1 component done up in a tonal blue paint job that pays tribute to Blue Note’s legendary visual identity.
The two main forces behind the Blue Note PLAY:1 are Sonos VP of design Tad Toulis and Blue Note president Don Was. “There were no words to descibe Tad’s assignment,” Was told EW on a conference call earlier this week. “If you could put words to [the Blue Note aesthetic], you probably wouldn’t need music. We had an extremely vague discussion. Probably the same discussion that Wayne Shorter has with his band.”
The result is a blue-on-blue gradient that Toulis calls “atmospheric and moody” that’s so subtle it requires both handpainting and the use of robots. The speaker also gives users access to not only the two main channels that Blue Note has on the Sonos streaming app, but an “Artist Selects” channel that streams playlists created by Blue Note’s stable of talent that’s exclusive to the limited-edition speaker.
The Blue Note PLAY:1 is limited to approximately 4,100 units. Information on pre-ordering is available here.