We’ve been getting questions about the lifetime price increase, and if people can still get the old pricing. Let me explain what we are willing to offer and why.
We are willing to extend the old pricing to:
- Trial subscriptions that were started before the price increase, as long as you are still in trial. After your trial expires, the new pricing will apply.
- Annual subscriptions that began before the price increase but are 30 days or less into the annual. If you are more than 30 days into your annual (since it started, not since it renewed), the new pricing will apply.
Why the price increase?
We initially offered the lifetime for early commitment, not so people could rent-to-own. The goal was to bring forward 4-5 years of revenue so we could fund the start of the company. It worked. We never raised external funding.
However, as we keep expanding the product and the team, paying for new data sources, and increasing our per-user costs (particularly those that recur monthly or annually), the lifetime subscription is not healthy for our future. It never was healthy; it was just a way to feed our hungry business early on.
Since those early days, we have grown considerably. Cash flow is more predictable, and we are investing in longer-term projects; the lifetime continues to be the “junk food” of our revenue stream. Tasty for sure, but not healthy.
What Roon needs now is a regular and dependable revenue stream for business sustainability and ongoing product development; we get that with annual subscriptions, not lifetimes.
Many times over the last few years, we’ve discussed eliminating the lifetime option. While this would serve the goal of “getting off the junk food,” it would be very disruptive to both our day-to-day cash flow and to our resellers, who often bundle lifetime subscriptions with premium hardware purchases.
Our solution was to increase the price of a lifetime. It gradually weans us off the junk food. Some of you won’t care about the price increase and will continue to buy the lifetime. Some will find the price too steep and go with the annual instead. A few of you will be so offended you leave us entirely. That’s an unfortunate reaction, for us and for you!
Why leave out current annual subscribers from old pricing? Why no advance notice?
Let’s imagine we sent out a price increase notice, what would happen? Well, we have some experience with this.
When we first launched the product back in May 2015, we were offering the lifetime at a “introductory discount” of 10% off, $450. In October of 2015, we sent out a notice that stated: “hey everyone, next week the price is going up!” The result was monumental and completely unexpected. We made more revenue in October than we made in all of 2015. Wow! That notice resulted in substantially funding our next year.
So, that sounds great! Who doesn’t want all that revenue upfront? Well, we don’t. It’s unhealthy for the long-term sustainability of the business. It would pull forward a significant amount of revenue and then leave us in a multi-year cash flow drought.
Notices of price increases are customarily handed out in 2 different scenarios:
- When it doesn’t matter. For example, when Netflix increases its subscription price, you are being notified, but you have no choice in the matter.
- When companies want your cash today, like we did in October 2015. This is the behavior of an immature or cash-starved business, and not one looking towards the future.
We did not raise the price of the annual, so this isn’t the first scenario. We are actively foregoing short term cash flow in hopes of a long and healthy future, so it isn’t the second one either.
We could have had our best sales month ever by announcing that we were doing this at the end of the month. That’s just not what we’re looking for.
That’s why we didn’t give out a notice.
If you have been with us for a year or even longer, it may sting to have lost out here, but you had ample time to convert to a lifetime. If we let everyone do this now, we’d be gorging ourselves on junk food.
$699 is too much for Roon’s lifetime subscription
From our point of view, this isn’t accurate. To us, a lifetime sale represents a commitment to support a subscriber, including all the future costs associated with that commitment.
The lifetime should not be an aspiration for Roon subscribers. It hurts us as a company and is not a viable business model for our future. If the price increase has reduced demand for lifetime subscriptions, that’s a good thing for our business.
It’s unlikely that we’ll offer a lifetime option forever. If you enjoy Roon and believe in what we’re doing, the best way to support it is to subscribe annual. We will do our level best to earn that support for many years to come.
The annual is STILL $119 for a year. That’s $10 a month. If Roon isn’t worth $10 a month to you, then we are doing something wrong and you should go elsewhere. It certainly brings me more joy than $10 every month, and our business vision is to do the same for every one of our subscribers.