I don’t think it’s about the lost subscription/lifetime fees. IMHO, the concern about Roon disappearing at some point is that Roon is a dead-end silo of curating effort. Going back to any other app, even a newly developed one with capabilities similar to Roon, would be a painful effort.
Being able to use Roon if the organization disappeared, unmaintained and unmanaged and without metadata, sounds very unappealing. I would bet 90% of its users would abandon it within 6 months of that happening.
Then there is the question of redoing all the tagging, metadata, artist name corrections, etc., that have to be done to make Roon work with large collections. With most software – Foobar, JRiver – the reliance is primarily on embedded metadata and folder structure/naming conventions, and customized views and sorting is primarily based on adding custom embedded metadata and organizing those structures. That metadata can then be used across other applications to create similar views and sorting. Sure, they all take configuration work to make the app view custom metadata, but it can be done.
Roon’s is almost all proprietary. Roon won’t do anything with custom file-embedded metadata and that forces its users to use Roon Tags, and other Roon-only-based methods of curating and organizing, including re-correcting data that is already represented in custom data that Roon won’t recognize. In fact Roon at times forces users to UN-DO their prior methods of organizing in order to work within Roon. This is not to say that the experience within Roon is not fabulous. But the concern is what happens if that fabulousness ends. I’m more worried about Roon being bought by a major player and Roon’s mission being redirected than I am that they will fail outright.
I’ve posted that I think Roon is a lovely Venus Flytrap. There are 2+ year old posts requesting Roon to read custom metatags and add Roon Tags from those instructions and other requests relating to the inter-operability of Roon with other software (not referring to endpoint compatibility - referring to file tagging and organizing conventions). Most of the other apps play nicely with each other and it would be great for Roon to do so.
I do understand Roon has limited development resources. The desired interoperability would come at the cost of some other fabulous Roon feature, at least in terms of when it is released. But hopefully at some point, Roon will at least be able to export what has been done within Roon in a way that allows us to re-embed that work in the files, in a usable fashion.