A lot of Roon users would probably be upset - perhaps justifiably - if the main Roon product became drastically cheaper overnight. On the other hand, I’d love to see Roon becoming the defacto player for a lot more people, and having more market share.
I still think a ‘Roon light’ would be a great idea - kind of like the Elac offering but just the software, and with the limitations clearly explained.
I for one wouldn’t be upset at all if a more limited Roon were offered cheaper, to give more people a chance to use it. It could perhaps be restricted to a small library, no DSD or high-res, single endpoint, single remote, or whatever. Those who fell in love would ultimately try and upgrade, either to annual or lifetime as and when they could - we all know its hard to go back once you’ve ‘Rooned’
If they simply stayed with Roon light, they’d probably be a lot less demanding on Roon’s resources - without all their requests for complex ‘audiophile only’ features - so would potentially just be free extra revenue assuming the service providers costs were covered in their membership
That’s a really tricky one @danny - even as a user in this case rather than a business owner - but I guess it depends on factors like pricing and how many new users you want - I.e. let a lot of people use it incredibly affordably, but in a very restrictive manner, or open it up a bit and price it closer to the main version.
I guess whatever you do it has to be enjoyable to use and show off all Roons strengths, otherwise it would be counter productive.
My suggestions above were off the cuff, but I think they’d be a good start - basically remove ‘proper’ audiophile stuff, advanced features (zones, RoonSpeakers, headless server, HQPlayer, convolver) and limit the library.
In fact, I’d consider buying a Roon light for work use if it were available, so maybe I should list what I’d need in that scenario:
-Run Roon on a single machine
-Small library, on the local HD
-outputting to local machine’s headphone socket, although I occasionally have a USB DAC.
-Would be happy with restriction to redbook, even downsampled.
Actually that seems pretty harsh so maybe somewhere in between
I’m sure you guys could come up with a much nicer feature-set than mine, but I can also see it’s a tricky one to propose… At the end of the day I suppose you don’t want a ‘light’ to be so good and feature rich that your original target audience can get by with it.
Given that Roon is going to continue to develop and there are some exicting plans mentioned, why not assume the current version (or even the next one) is suitable as a manufacturer lit version. The upgrade path would essentially buy into future development realease of features (some of which I would think are not that far away)
I suppose it depends on whether it would give too much work to render the software LITE.
Limit it to a specific device, so if Naim were to make a roonspeaker device, this LITE version of Roon would only work with Naim devices.
Have composers, works and discover greyed out but available to look at but when pressed say only available in Roon.
No song lyrics, again a greyed out icon when pressed sends you towards Roon.
Limit the number of focuses one can use, say to 2 levels.
The concept of a LITE version that simply constrains library size might work. Users with smaller libraries may never spring for the full amount but might do so with a LITE version limited in number of albums, artists or tracks. Then as their library grows, they might grow into a full version. I could also see value in a LITE version on a PC that I use solely at work or to travel with - that is, with a subset of my full music library.
Another approach might be to parallel what TIDAL does (premium vs hi-res) by limiting playback resolution on a LITE version.
Just don’t sacrifice what makes Roon so incredibly valuable and unique - the depth and breadth of the metadata.
However there are many of those kind of players already that are essentially free. Lightning DS, Kazoo, Lumin to name a few. These also support other widely used protocols such as UPnP and Openhome as well as Airplay. Those that are not free, such as JRiver are pretty low cost. None of these are as good as Roon even without the metadata to my mind but I have seen posts on here from people who prefer the Lumin app over Roon already and I’m sure that without the meta data there are many who would prefer JRiver even if RoonLite was at JRiver prices.
So as a standalone product I think it would struggle but it could work if a RoonLite like this was bundled with hardware and there was an option to upgrade to the full Roon (provided the hardware can support it.)
This is I think the kind of thing Danny had in mind and probably Andybob had mind too.
I think after 1.2 Roon will become two things. Firstly the rich metadata product we know and love and secondly a full featured implementation of RAAT. Conceivably the second could be separated from the first.
I suppose the basic question is what is RoonLite intended to be ?
a form of crippleware enabling people to experience the full featured UI but eventually either upgrade or cease using; or
a stand-alone program that people can use indefinitely for lesser expense and which can compete on price with alternative software.
I can’t see the first being useful. The free trial already enables people to become acquainted with the full UI.
Would a strategy of broadening the market with RAAT and then upselling the metadata work ? I can’t say, but it could be one way of enabling people to buy in for less initial cost.
If you go down this road you need to think very, very carefully about unintended consequences, principal among them being loss of revenue related to the full product. I’d avoid going down this road unless it were something that was bundled with and paid for by hardware suppliers and restricted enough to force purchase of the full product for those that like what they see e.g. limit to 50 albums, no metadata editing or preferences, no radio, no endpoint support other than the device it ships with and perhaps a lightly discounted upgrade path.
I guess this doesn’t speak to a Roon Lite as discussed in this tread but i would love an Android Phone app that plays music stored on the phone or SD card, with the same type of interface (scaled for phone use) and radio functionality. Metadata and other functionality would not be necessary just a nice way to play back music while at work or traveling. Id pay 20 bucks or so for that.
@evand i guess it depends on how much licensing costs for the metadata factors into the price as we know it. If it is a large chunk, and i have no idea if it is, then a version at a significantly low price without that feature could potentially net more return per license.
My suggestion for the Lite version would be no external metadata and endpoints are limited to RAAT endpoints only. No HQ Player, Squeezebox, or Chromecast, if that is added. I think that combination would allow for a substantial discount in price as well as promote development for those options by people upgrading to a Full license as well as promote sales of RAAT devices on the backend.
I think a light version could be limited to single-instance, 16/44.1 playback and just one local folder plus Tidal. Core and player on one machine, with direct (ie. no network) output via analogue or USB.
Perhaps an annual subscription (w/o lifetime option) of around US$49.
The beautiful interface and rich metadata are essentials.
I’ve gone for years relying on my own curated metadata, because the quality of the live metadata in the music players that I’ve used has been questionable at best, and downright disgusting at worst. Microsoft, I’m looking at you in particular: Windows Media Player, Zune, Groove - they have all been bad, and the first thing I did was to turn off the live metadata in all of them.
So a Roon Lite without the backend interface to rich metadata would have been interesting. However, it’s too late for me now, I’ve crossed the Rubicon and bought a lifetime sub to Roon…
That would keep the costs down for Roon (the company), but in my mind the product wouldn’t be the Roon we know, ‘just’ another player (albeit a very pretty one) and its main USP would be removed. If anything it would have to give you a hint of that power - maybe make it available for some albums/artists and say ‘not available - need to upgrade’ for others. Again, thats a bit cruel and there would be nicer ways to do it, but you catch my drift. And, OK, actually it wouldn’t be just another player without metadata, its a lot more than that but you know what I mean….
Dealing with the ‘fairness’ issue - if Roon wanted a way to keep current subscribers happy (particularly early adopters/lifers), they could always let them have access to an extra Roon Light (sorry, have to use the proper English spelling) as part of their membership. No, honest, I’m really not angling for that because I’d like it personally. Honest.
I agree with some other posts too, you don’t want it to be so good that it’s ‘good enough’ for what would have been your target audience. But I’m pretty sure the audiophile crew simply wouldn’t be able to resist breaking out of the sample rate restriction, and would have to hear higher rates and DSD, and play through RoonSpeakers.
Thats a nice idea. Maybe limit to a few tries so people can at least experience it. (assuming here that a user didn’t go for a trial - in which case they would have had a chance to play with such features - but instead had it bundled with hardware so its their first Roon encounter)
Another idea… if it’s the metadata that forces the price of Roon so high, what about creating a LITE version without the metadata provided (as has been suggested). BUT, allow users to manually populate the metadata using the Roon data structures such as artist bio, pics, album info, etc… (i.e. not just the flac tags). I think there are lots of hobbyists that would eat that up.
Think of it as a Roon library full of unidentified artists and albums.
The best aspect is that it could retain the awesome Roon UI (albeit with work from the user).
No idea, of course, regarding the degree of difficulty to implement the necessary editing/tagging functionality that would enable someone to populate such data.
Not disagreeing as such, but I think judging by some posts about affordability, some wouldn’t even try the software because they know its too expensive. I certainly ummed and arred (is that how its written?) and I’m not exactly poor - but at first glance it did seem expensive, and unless you’re really committed to lifetime its an ongoing expense thats probably in line with a lot of people’s streaming services (with which they not only get music for a year, but a free player on every device).
So that’s less users, less income, less people talking about Roon to their friends. Now I think the lifetime could well turn out to be the best value software I ever bought, but I suppose if you can’t afford it, you just can’t afford it.
Think point 2 is bang on. If someone’s buying a RoonReady device, you definitely want them to use Roon over the competition, not least since they’ll most likely get a better experience. If its free (or more affordable), even if its limited in functionality, they’re more likely to use it. Its worth remembering that people on this forum using Roon know all about it and would probably buy hardware specifically for Roon capability, whereas others will be buying the hardware primarily. It may have cost a bob or two, so what do they do - pay for something else on top or go with what comes free?
I suppose for RoonReady bundled software you could always just give away a year free to get people onboard (assuming the manufacturer fronts some of that cost), but that still doesn’t deal with the user who just wants a software solution, which I imagine is a much bigger market?