How do you access your music: purchases or streaming services?

Am I that old school in purchasing music? I’d like to know what the Roon userbase looks like. I suspect (and appreciate) that for obvious reasons, Roon won’t tell us, so anyone who’d like to share his or her habits… feel free!

I for one still haven’t made the switch from purchasing/owning to streaming/renting. Main reason: I like to be in control, in charge of my music and dislike the fact that streaming services can withdraw entire albums from their catalogue just like that.

Inspired by this post, I’m curious to find out how you think about this (and why :wink: )!

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I usually purchase the music I like CD mostly, some digital, I use steaming to discover new music or to access music that is not available on disk or only available to buy in (shudder) MP3 format…

I also use streaming at parties, so that guest who have different tastes in music can listen to what they like.

I purchase physical CDs, a few per month. I occasionally purchase cds online (from Qobuz shop or 7 digital) but try not to as the files you download are watermarked.

I do not have a Tidal account, I prefer quality over quantity :slight_smile:

I do have a Spotify family account which I use on the road.

I mix depending on mood. At my hifi I stream. On the internet I buy downloads. In a shop I like to handle and buy vinyl. My CD’s mostly come from Amazon with a few bought at live gigs.

I used to buy until trying Roon + TIDAL. Always thought I needed to own music for it to be in my collection, but that’s not so important now.

Bought my first CD in over a year this week because it wasn’t on TIDAL.

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Both. Regarding this, the seamless integration of both worlds is one of USPs for Roon for me.

Hi @Grump,

I only use streaming services such as Tidal and Qobuz to discover new music. If I discover something I really like, I buy and download it. I never add any Tidal albums to my library. My library only contains purchased downloads and ripped CDs.


I use Tidal, but if I hear something I really like I buy it, mostly digital (hd when available). Physical I only buy vinyl, mostly at concerts. To sum up I buy less cds, but more vinyl.

Sadly I sold most of my vinyl collection from the 80’s/90’s. So building again!


I retire next month. I don’t own many albums but I plan to listen to more music and not just as background noise. I started a Roon trial about 10 days ago. Just signed up for Tidal last night. Added 23 albums before I quit and started listening. The cost to buy those albums will cover about two years of Tidal service. Buy one album per month or listen to thousands for the same cost.

Using a Pi 3 B+ running RoPieee with a Dragonfly Black so I can try out MQA content and see if I like it. The Pi & Dragonfly delivers good sound (to me) but I realize they have limitations some of which I may not even know about yet. Clearly I am not an audiophile (yet) but streaming may move me in that direction although my old ears may limit how far I can go.

For me streaming seems like the best way to go with Roon. There is the cost, convenience, no need to rip / backup and access to content with Tidal that I would probably never purchase but can listen to essentially for free.

The downside is the uncertainty surrounding Tidal and that bothers me some but at the end of the day all I can do is pay Tidal by the month and Roon by the year and see what happens. If Roon adds another streaming service I would probably switch to lifetime but I don’t have enough content of my own to use it without a streaming service and at this point I can’t see starting to build an album collection.

Tidal may go away but streaming is forever so while I may have to switch to another service and I may not be able to enjoy the capabilities that Roon offers with that service I’ll have access to anything I want to listen to.


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Roon shows 3,643 albums in my library, of which 1,877, just over half, are Tidal.
I do buy CDs and downloads, the most recent a week ago.
But in the last 12 months, Roon shows 125 local vs. 1,168 Tidal albums. The trend is inexorable.

And the integration in Roon is key. I remain in love with browsing by traversing relationships (“what else has this drummer done?”), and I especially love how Roon doesn’t make a distinction between local and Tidal stuff. Imagine if you had separate browsers and relationships for CD and high res content (“what else has this drummer done on CD? And what has he done on hi-res?”)? Ludicrous! And the same with local and streamed.


Besides using soundcloud for “online listening” a couple of times a year I do only purchase music “to own”.

Nowadays I go almost exclusively for digital downloads - mostly because it saves space; unluckily it does not save money :wink: - it’s too easy to add another album to the cart.

Exceptions: when items are not available for download or are missing booklets (something I usually want, at least for classical music) or when I happen to be in a really great store where browsing music is really fun or at certain (music) venues: then I usually feel obliged to by some CDs …

PS: when you’re visiting Berlin don’t miss the KulturKaufhaus - that’s the kind of store I’m referring to.

As for “why not streaming?”: Owning the music makes me feel better, more independent (maybe silly, but that’s how it is). And even if there’s no internet, there’s still music to listen to. Which reminds me I need to try to use roon offline one day. :sunglasses:

The vast majority of my music is from CDs I own. I have a little bit of music I downloaded. I almost never use streaming services.

I guess that makes me old school. :wink:

We have about 7,000 albums, all purchased.

I use Tidal to check out new music (mostly classical) - if I like it, I buy it. If not, into the bit bucket it goes :wink:

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I should add, almost all of those purchases were evaluated a Tidal first.

A quick glance at my library tell me that i have around 7000 albums locally and around 300 from Tidal added. But like @AndersVinberg i probably have added around 200% more Tidal albums than local lately, particularly since the MQA material surfaced on Tidal. (I dont see it happening that my addition of Tidal MQA content will diminish in the near future)
Almost all of my purchases these days are vinyl albums, once again.

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I used Tidal for half a year or so but it was not for me. I constantly added and deleted albums, sometimes without even giving it a full listen. Too much headache. I also found that if you have thousands and thousands of albums to choose from, the value of each becomes close to zero.
I like to spend time searching new stuff using digital music stores (prostudiomasters, hdtracks, 7digitial, qobuz,…), blogs, review sites, etc. Listen to the free samples here and there and when I really like something I buy it. Vinyl if it’s available, digital download if not. I never buy CD’s unless occasionally at a concert or so.

I buy Australian CDs, about 3 or 4 a month mostly not available on Tidal, and otherwise use Tidal. I occasionally buy analog reel to reel tapes, when something worthwhile crops up.

I cleaned out my collection a while ago and deleted approx half of it. I listen mainly to my 1100 album collection (I only do complete albums). I don’t have Tidal but get Spotify premium free with my phone plan. I listen to it to try new stuff or when on the road etc. I still buy CDs but probably only 20-30 per year now.

I buy digital downloads and CDs. Lots of what I buy is from very small contemporary jazz labels that I want to support (Intakt, Pi Recordings, Sunnyside, …). I buy from bigger labels too, which probably are available on Tidal, but I know enough about the economics of streaming to not trust the staying power of loss-making hi-res streaming services. MQA means nothing to me, none of my R2R DACs support it and I’m not planning to change that. I bought around 20 albums/month the last year, pretty typical. Just went to a live show at SFJAZZ, bought two CDs by the performers (Jeff Parker, Wil Blades, Scott Amendola, Cyro Baptista – great energy, humor, and variety). That’s another small way to support the musicians.
Update: Like @Sallah_48, I like to listen to a subset of my collection on the go (in my case with a Questyle DAP). Many of the places where I listen (airplanes, remote mountain lodges, ground transportation outside urban areas) do not have enough connectivity for streaming. My DAP’s microSD card contains over 300GB of lossless music, copied from my main collection with mostly-automated procedure I described elsewhere on this forum.

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35 years of album collecting this side, so amassed a large collection of HD based music. I can’t get with streaming simply for 3 reasons:

  1. Because of the inconsistency with the streaming itself and because Roon doesn’t offer an on the go solution yet; if I could download for offline use on PC (including use within Roon) it would be great.

  2. The feeling of being under the control of the service itself, ie they can remove or modify content on a whim, or disappear altogether.

  3. Roon does not offer an on the go app yet which could integrate Tidal (with offline content feature) and local content on Android or IOS devices.

If 1 and 3 were sorted then I could possibly live with 2, but that feeling of investing into an ephemeral entity will always remain.

Oh yeah, pretty major one; within Tidal itself the search feature renders any album you have favorited pointless. Ie searching for anything in Tidal apps throws up all the relevant stuff in Tidal, and does not prioritise favourited stuff. Way to go Tidal. Makes the idea of making a personal “collection” within Tidal pretty redundant. Happy to be corrected on this but until now, I’ve never seen any way round this. Qobuz offers this, it’s essential to be able to filter out personal stuff within a sea of rubbish. Ok for ROON app, good job there, but as mentioned no solution on the go for this.