How much longer will Roon offer a lifetime subscription?


(John Calvert) #1

There are many posts in these forums that pose the question of what happens to lifetime subscribers were Roon to discontinue operations. This is in my view the wrong question, relevant perhaps initially, but it has since been eclipsed by events and the community has not yet pivoted to the more cogent and current question, which is the title of this post.

Since their inception, Roon has continued to garner attention, praise, and market share (see Rafe Arnott’s February 8th piece in Audiostream https://www.audiostream.com/content/aqua-acoustic-formula-xhd-now-roon-ready as one of many recent examples). As a SaaS-company CEO myself, were I running Roon I would be considering the timing question on elimination of lifetime subscription pricing.

For an early stage SaaS business, the lifetime subscription model is an interesting way to raise cash quickly from operations, thus taking pressure off the need to secure equity or debt funding. Once a SaaS company passes the tipping point of adoption and awareness (as I would argue Roon appears to have done) there is little advantage to converting a new customer for a one-time fee versus the recurring revenue opportunity that subscriptions offer. Furthermore, the important metrics used for enterprise valuation of SaaS businesses are negatively impacted by lifetime subscribers – no doubt a consideration for Roon’s board or major equity holders.

The need to eliminate a one-time-fee option is particularly true in a finite market such as the one addressed by Roon, as there are today and will certainly in the future be a finite number of consumers investing in this type of product. Of course, these comments are devoid of any knowledge of long-term roadmap plans for the company Roon. Effective market expansion could take place with packaging, bundling, embedding, or stripping of the current technology. Roon leadership is no doubt considering all of these. The Nucleus was an example of getting into the appliance business and addressing complexity concerns, Roon’s willingness as a software company to try their hand in hardware demonstrates they’re forward thinking in this regard.

Given the above, I humbly offer two suggestions:

Suggestion for Roon: Be careful with the elimination of the lifetime subscription, but don’t wait too long to do it. The longer you wait the harder it will be to rescind – customers will become increasingly trained to expect it, something you don’t want. Furthermore, do not try to correct the business problem of a large percentage of your customer base with long tenures and lifetime subscriptions paying you nothing by clever packaging, ‘pro versions,’ ‘add-ons,’ or other moves that are contrary to the spirit of the lifetime subscription promise.

Suggestion for Roon Customers: Buy a Lifetime Subscription ASAP! The risk is low and the return high. It’s one of the great bargains in the audio world these days – in my view. Regardless of when/if Roon eliminates this as a pricing option, it almost certainly makes sense as a customer to purchase sooner rather than later.


(Sean) #2

I’m just guessing here so take everything with a bag of salt.

It’s just my own guess (based on zero facts) that the friendly threats that Roon have made over the past years to end the offer of lifetime subscription, is a clever FOMO strategy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_missing_out

Of course I could be very wrong and it may end at any moment. It’s fun playing armchair CEO.

More importantly though, if you get a lifetime subscription and can get past the ~4.2 year milestone (USD499/USD119), then it’s happy days :grin:


#3

(Danny Dulai) #4

An interesting observation… Our lifetime members buy the most gift codes as well.


(Rene Bouwmeester) #5

I went lifetime about 10 minutes after Roon 1.0 was first offered for public download. (‘Yup, it works. Let’s grab it.’). :smiley:

As there was an early bird discount at play at the time, my calculation is a bit different (3,78 years). Which means, in effect, that as of now I’m officially a freeloader.

I’m ridden with guilt…


(Sean) #6

Yeah the calculation is also a bit different for those that get the group buy lifetime deal.

Once/if they drop the lifetime plan, the lifetimers/freeloaders then become 2nd class Roon citizens :grin:


(Rene Bouwmeester) #7

I already am – so I guess I’m fine. :smiley:


(Guy Taylor) #9

Great thoughts. Interesting change in perspective for most. Shifting from only thinking of Roon as a product or piece of software and instead remembering it is a business.

As customers we want the best deal we can get. We need to remember though that part of the best deal we can get is Roon succeeding as a business.


(Andrew Cox) #10

I changed over to lifetime in the first month of an annual sub. Since then the AUD$ has depreciated and the Gov’t has extended GST (our VAT) to foreign software subscriptions. I’ve only got a year or so to go before I can get back to crossing roads carelessly, so feel somewhat smug though obviously not as smug as @RBM !:sunglasses:


(Ian Saunders) #11

I would love to have an option that within the first year of a new account you would be able to roll the initial investment a lifetime licenses. As I am coming up on my first annual renewal and I will be renewing for another year. knowing what I know now and how good the software is I would love to move into a lifetime licenses.

I understand both sides to the business model just would love to have a loyalty discount if going Lifetime.

To keep my self justified in yearly, I will just know that I am yearly investing into one of the best audio platforms available.


#12

This has been asked so many times.

I don’t understand your logic.

You don’t want a life time now because you would have ‘wasted’ the annual you paid, therefore you are going to continue buying annuals.

Sorry, I don’t get that idea.


(Christoph Longree) #13

First year lifetime passed - did not regret it one second :v::blush:


(Ian Saunders) #14

I will attempt to break down my logic to this, and while doing so perhaps I find that I answer my question.

When I initially purchased Roon, I did not have the $500 to put up for Lifetime licenses. So, I went with the yearly option. Mainly I wanted to make sure that the software was right for me. I took my time and after about six months of living and learning Roon, using multiple different configurations. I found that Roon was a perfect fit and wished that I had purchased the Lifetime option at that point.

Once I was halfway into my year and went to look into the upgrade to Lifetime option it stated the same full price of $500. At this point, the assumption was well if I purchase it now; I am in for $600 overall. I just recently read in another forum post that if I would have upgraded within that first six months, then the remaining would be rolled over in a discount price for the remaining months.

So now I am 1 month away from my renewal and feel that the savings over one month to six is not worth it for me at this time financially. Without, let’s say a one-year full discount.

One way I look at it is if I invested $100 for a one-year license and continued to do so, in 5 years I would have purchased a $500 Lifetime licenses. At this time if I decide to buy the Lifetime licenses at $500 give or take a few months from my yearly months remaining. (NOTE: I know this can be done any time within the five years I am just giving a full case scenario) I would love to have an exclusive discount option for already investing $500.

Perhaps it is the fault in my economic thinking, and If that is so, I understand entirely. I feel like there should be a “Thanks for your support” option or something to that effect.

In the end, I don’t mind supporting the development year after year, as I see the advantage for that annual income for the platform. I would like to have accumulated some loyalty points towards a Lifetime subscription depending on how much I have previously invested.

Lastly, I am not saying that if I have been paying for five years, I freely get a Lifetime subscription. Just a discount in whatever form that Roon decides is adequate.


#15

Ya see, the problem is that next year you are going to regret spending for two annuals and once again it’s too late to get a lifetime because now you will have ‘wasted’ $240.


(Ian Saunders) #16

You are correct no doubt. This is something I have to really consider within the next month. As always it is easier to swallow the medicine with a little bit of sugar and, as you stated wasting $240 is a great way to look at it. I will take that into consideration.


(Andrew Cox) #17

Roon pays licence fees to others based on user numbers. I believe, but do not know, that those fees are calculated on a monthly/forever model. If so, that explains why a discount for unexpired months can be offered, as third party costs have not become payable for those months yet. But if Roon were to offer discounts for prior annual months, it would erode the funds to pay future lifetime costs. It would have a disproportionate hit on funds available for maintenance and development. The upshot is that I think such a discount is very unlikely.


(Ian Saunders) #18

An excellent reply that puts it in perspective for me that I can understand and respect as I know all too well the frustrations of licensing with third parties. Based on this conversation I have decided to convert to the Lifetime licenses instead of renewing for another single year model.

Thank you all for your excellent communication regarding this decision. This community has been tremendous and to be able to have this open conversation is what makes this community genuinely top notch.


#19

You can make the simple math, or you can take this as an investment into an innovative product. Yes it is an undisputable risk into to model of buying an lifetime licence. What happens if the guys from @roon go out of business or sell it to an "evil company“ we all don’t want to support?
To be honest I don’t have a clou, as most of all of you.

My opinion as an lifetime buyer is quite simple. I bought the licence a couple of weeks ago because I love the product and I gives me some great and new experience with my existing files plus my Qobuz account (the reason why I make the step to buy the lifetime lic) and I want to support a wild bunch of guys having a great idea to improve my music experience.

I invested a lot of money into my hardware (Linn addictive), the licence was not cheap but worth the money from my point of view.

Would I be disappointed if the guys shut down the their business tomorrow? Hell yes, but what happens if a bus hits me tomorrow?

Only me 2 cents

Tom


(Mike) #20

I’m sure “lifetime” means primarily Roons lifetime, not ours - which means we all have a vested interest in Roons longevity.


(Martin Kelly) #21

I bought a Nucleus. So I suppose that a lifetime subscription for me is a ‘no brainer’…?
However, what would have been nice, is for Roon to see-fit to include a lifetime subscription with the purchase of a Nucleus/+. I’m not complaining, but £1500 is a hell of a lot of dosh for a ‘tarted up’ i3 NUC, without a subscription to use.
However, if you put aside the sheer cost of getting Roon up and running, it’s a joy to use and I hope to be using it for many, many years to come. So it’s been a good ‘investment’ so far.
But on the subject of whether or not to continue to offer a lifetime subscription, I think Roon should continue to offer it. If I had to keep shelling-out £119 (or more, in the future) per year, without the option of a lifetime subscription, I would have thought twice about buying the Nucleus.
So maybe now the Nucleus/+ are available, the lifetime subscription is even more attractive?