A message from the Roon founders

To everyone in the Roon community,

Last November, Roon Labs was acquired by Harman International. This marks a new beginning for Roon, our industry partners, and our team. Today, we want to discuss what this means for us, for you, and for the future of Roon.

These past few months have been incredibly busy as we merge our company into Harman, an organization many times our size. We’ve been deeply impressed by the resources, funding, and infrastructure available at our new home, and Harman’s leadership has more than delivered on their promise to support us as we chart our path forward. Many of our ambitions that were difficult or impossible as a small company are now within reach, and we can already see how this will benefit our users and accelerate our progress.

We’ve found many Roon enthusiasts at Harman and Samsung. Like everyone in our community, these people – including the most senior executives – share our passion for music and sound quality. Harman acquired Roon to serve a business strategy, but it’s important to understand that the decision-makers responsible have a deep appreciation for our product. They admire what we’ve done and are committed to preserving Roon and helping us improve it.

Before the acquisition, we dedicated several years to expanding Roon’s reach by targeting new audiences. We put real effort towards enhancing the product experience for people with smaller music libraries, as well as casual listeners in hobbyist communities like gaming and headphones. Although these enhancements did help us find new audiences, they sometimes had the unintended consequence of disappointing our most loyal, long-term user base of music collectors and audio enthusiasts.

At Harman, we’ve been given a mandate to reconnect with our core audience. These are the curators who are passionate about shaping their music collections, the audiophiles who appreciate the nuances of high-performance audio equipment, and the genre experts who depend on Roon to expand their knowledge of music. These are the people who have multiple streaming services or who have extensive libraries of music files – the people who simply want the best platform for experiencing their music library. Within this community, Roon is still the only product that comprehensively caters to their diverse needs, and now, at Harman, we’re excited to refocus our efforts on serving them.

We’ve taken some steps in this direction. In 2022, we introduced an internet connectivity requirement to Roon. That decision was driven by strategic considerations, but we acknowledge that the change caused genuine dissatisfaction among our users, and we understand why. Today, we’re announcing a return to Roon’s pre-2.0 behavior. This means our users can once again enjoy their music collections without the need for continuous internet connectivity.

We’re also moving the product forward. Just a few weeks ago, we rolled out a significant update to ARC’s downloads functionality, and today, we’re excited to announce the release of support for TIDAL MAX, bringing a vast library of hi-res PCM content to every Roon user with a TIDAL HiFi Plus subscription.

Going forward, we aim to prioritize features that best serve our community. Roon occupies a vibrant niche, and our strategy at Harman no longer requires us to seek larger audiences. As a result, you can expect real changes in the types of features we focus on and deliver.

We’re paying attention to neglected aspects of the product – prioritizing performance and reliability – to ensure that Roon remains rock-solid. We’ll revisit long-requested features that we’ve avoided, like folder browsing and enhancing the way Roon handles box sets. Major improvements to our playlist functionality are in the pipeline (Hallelujah!). In the coming year, we’ll be focusing on features that center on your music library, rather than non-library streaming content.

Roon’s acquisition by Harman signifies a fresh start for our product. We’re committed to realigning with our core audience and focusing on the needs of music lovers and audio enthusiasts. We’ve already made strides in addressing user concerns, like reverting the internet connectivity requirement, introducing exciting new features like TIDAL MAX, and delivering an updated ARC downloads experience. With Harman’s support, we look forward to a future of improved performance, reliability, and features that cater to you, the Roon community. If you’re interested in hearing more, please check out the podcast we did with David Hyman, a long-time Roon user, audiophile, and music industry veteran who founded MOG (which later became Beats Music and eventually Apple Music).

We’re excited about what lies ahead, and we’re grateful for your continued support. Thank you for being a part of this journey. We can’t wait to bring you more exciting updates in the coming months.

The Roon founders

225 Likes

We’re paying attention to neglected aspects of the product – prioritizing performance and reliability – to ensure that Roon remains rock-solid. We’ll revisit long-requested features that we’ve avoided, like folder browsing and enhancing the way Roon handles box sets. Major improvements to our playlist functionality are in the pipeline (Hallelujah!). In the coming year, we’ll be focusing on features that center on your music library, rather than non-library streaming content.

We’ve taken some steps in this direction. In 2022, we introduced an internet connectivity requirement to Roon. That decision was driven by strategic considerations, but we acknowledge that the change caused genuine dissatisfaction among our users, and we understand why. Today, we’re announcing a return to Roon’s pre-2.0 behavior. This means our users can once again enjoy their music collections without the need for continuous internet connectivity.

Restored offline functionality, folder navigation, playlist…

The new “Harman” route seems interesting

30 Likes

Great news. Thank you Roon. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

15 Likes

I’m a fairly new roon user, only a month or so. But after reading the news releases posted here, I am happy to see the direction roon is taking. I believe I am in their core audience as someone with a curated local library and a streaming service through Qobuz. I also enjoy the benefits a quality HiFi system can deliver, and appreciate the integration of high-quality FLAC, PCM and DSD files in my system.

I especially like having one interface that can control multiple end-points in my home and have a centralized storage of my local library. That has been very nice.

Removing the internet connection requirement is also huge news and I approve of that wholeheartedly.

So far, signing up and paying for roon seems like it was a good investment on my part. :grinning: :sparkling_heart:

13 Likes

HOLY MOLY, FOLDER BROWSING!! Never say never!

24 Likes

The internet requirement was to improve search, which could no longer be done efficiently locally (apparently). So can we expect search to get even worse as a result when offline?

6 Likes

:heart_decoration: :pray:t2:

17 Likes

Nice update. However, did I miss something about the hardware ecosystem of partners and certification process improvements? Should we be concerned that there was no mention whatsoever whether or not they plan to expand the number of Roon Ready certified partners - even if they are competitors of Harman?

9 Likes

Would have been a great time to address poor product support.

29 Likes

I don’t think it was ever fundamentally impossible to use online search when available and fall back to a limited offline mode if necessary. I guess they just didn’t have the resources to spend on the 0.01% case, and now they do

IIRC an acknowledgement that certification was slower than they wanted to was already posted in some post after the acquisition. In the blog somewhere maybe?

Very good news! I hope this will regain my enthusiasm for Roon that was lost along with changes during last two years.

9 Likes

Harman’s principle with respect to partnerships is “works with all” and we fully plan on continuing the open ecosystem around Roon.

Since the acquisition, 12 non-Harman products have been certified as Roon Ready, and we have been working hard over the past month or two to scale up our certification program bandwidth so that we can push more through the process.

36 Likes

Expect some announcements on that topic soon.

34 Likes

This is really good news. Never gave up hope.

7 Likes

That’s great. Can you now also get rid of Roon 1.8?

5 Likes

Good news, good step in the right direction.

Look forward to further news on the path ahead.

Thanks Roon

7 Likes

15 posts were split to a new topic: If Roon is offline will ARC work or would be useless?