Streaming vs Owning; General Discussion

(Mark) #21

I totally bought into the streaming model from the moment the first Napster (Rhapsody) plugin was created for the old Squeezebox server. Having a massive library of new music available to me to road test with a view to purchasing later was a massive draw for me.

But until recently I only used it as a new music discovery tool prior to purchasing.

However, the launch of Roon w/ TIDAL integration did two things for me:

  1. Gave me access to lossless streaming
  2. Often overlooked, it allows me to export my streaming library to a spreadsheet. As far as I’m aware no other service allows for this. So, in the event that TIDAL goes titsup or is replaced with the next fotm service, I can re-import all my streamed library titles back into the database.

This is hugely important to me because it gives me a fall back position in a technology and industry which is in a high state of flux.

Now, I am happy to commit to the TIDAL streamed release for 90% of new releases. The other 10% I buy on vinyl - the stuff I really, really want to keep, or try a different master/post production.


In the non-audio category, my most used software (Quicken) is moving to the subscription model with the newest release. Guess I’ll have to find a replacement.


there are still people who do value music, there allways have been and in my surroundings there are even more people who value music then there have ever been. Sure the masses still mainly listen to the popular music as it has ever been and that will not change very soon or ever at all either. Nothing you can do about it and nothing you have to do about it. The young people I know are almost all very interested in music, in fact, some even a lot more then I am. Indie music Festivals with 50.000 people capacity are sold out in minutes. The young people I know are proud of their music collection without owing a single album. In fact, some of them hardly even know what a CD looks like. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t own any music, at least not in their view. There carefully collected tagged albums in a streaming service is their collection and they value it as much as I ever have valued my LP’s and CD’s. So both your point A and point B are not an accurate description of the “youth of today”, You are missing a very large category of music lovers and that category is bigger then ever before even if they might still be in the minority, but again that has ever been and will ever be. Even my own daughter has a higher overall musical knowledge an a bigger “collection” then most of us here and so do most of here friends. Sure there are more people listening to more music because it’s easily available and for most people it’s just an consumption article but that has ever been. Nothing really changed only the distribution channel is different. And it is because of the masses that streaming services can excist wich is fruitfull to us as well.

(Miguel Barrio) #24

I’m not making any judgements at all. I am just stating what I see to be the big consumer groups, and why “audiophile quality music” is and will always be a niche.


Don’t worry, not accusing you from making judgements. Just trying to explain that there are more young people who are interested in music then there have ever been and your generalistion isn’t what I’m experiencing.

Audiohile quality music will be a niche but on the other hand the quality of mainly available music has gone up considerably over the last 10 years. Remember the 128kb or even lower bitrate mp3’s? Nowadays it’s at least 320kb bitrate, a world of difference. For most people that’s enough. A lot of people can’t even hear the difference between 320 kb Spotify and Tidal Hifi streaming if I let them hear it at their palce, At my place they can hear a difference, but not enough for them to justify the double costs and they are put off by the idea that they have to spend thousands on equipment just to hear the difference so they loose interest again, they rather spend their money on concerts and festivals or a good night out. I’m happy to spend more on Tidal for better quality, it’s all about priorities in life. Therefore it is a niche indeed. Good news for us is that most of the offered quality has to do with storage and bandwidth and that’s getting cheaper and faster by the day so it’s just a matter of time that streaming services will upgrade their quality and real highres streaming becomes available. It just might not go as fast as we would like but it’s coming and there will be a market for it, niche or not.

(Sean) #26

Fingers crossed this never happens of course, but how would we do this? i.e. how would we re-import our TIDAL library into another streaming service?

Manually (each album, one by one) or is there an automated way?

(Miguel Barrio) #27

Ok, couple of things:
1- I don’t think music production has gotten any better in the last 10 yrs. On the contrary, it’s gotten worse. More compression and added distortion. Couple of examples: AMy Winehouse, Rihanna, Sia, Lorde, etc. These are mainstream examples of music produced to sound loud, and with very little dynamic range. And this has nothing to do with the format, a well produced album will sound pretty decent on Spotify’s 320kbps streaming. And Amy Winehouse on 24/96 still sounds terrible, unfortunately.

2- There’s a saying that people will forget what you said and what you did, but not how you made them feel. I have had many experiences listening to “audiophile” equipment that sounded “audiophile” but uninteresting. Unfortunately people will not be convinced to embrace this if they are not suddenly lifted off of their conciousness by some amazing experience. This rarely happens even to audiophiles.

So I am not hopeful in any way for a surge in high quality sound anytime soon, in meaningful size that is.

(Ged) #28

I think there will continue to be a move to streaming (leasing). The device that people use to listen to the music, their phone, is leased by being bundled in with the monthly service cost - and perhaps listened to in their car which is also leased.
There will always be people who want to won the media but there have always been people who were very happy with a radio station on a tinny transistor radio.


I didn’t mean modern music production but the bitrate quality on wich music became available. Back in the days it was 64kb/s, tgen for a long time 128kb untill internet became faster and storage cheaper. Now the norm is 320kb/s or lossless flac streaming like Tidal. Uninmaginable 10 years ago and it will evolve. A lot of modern popular productions are pretty awfull indeed because of the loudness war, you are totally right. But luckily that’s not with all modern music production, just a small part of it, mostly the part most serious music lovers aren’t interested in anyways (oops, hope you are not a Taylor Swift fan)

(Miguel Barrio) #30

It’s the part that creates most of the revenue for the industry! :roll_eyes:

(Mark) #31

The former, I fear. But better than nothing.

(Miguel Barrio) #32

Soundiiz allows you to sync playlists between a host of services. I use it to sync my Spotify and TIDAL playlists. I imagine one could put all favorited albums in a playlist and sync to another service or export to csv or similar.


As long as Tidal is still alive: use Soundiiz to copy your playlists to other services. After a collapse it might be too late. Same as in IT: backup your stuff. Danny from the Roon team thinks only a few use/need more than one streaming service. In my opinion it’s a wrong strategy to bet on a single horse.

(Sean) #34

Ah cool, thanks man.

(Mark) #35

Only for playlists though.

It may work if you turned your entire library into a giant playlist, but I have a feeling it would break it.


Yes, Soundiiz is not very good (is slow) when converting long playlists. At least the free version. I have no experience regarding performance of the subscribed version and did not use it lately. But it did a good service for me to transfer playlists from Spotify to Qobuz.

(Miguel Barrio) #37

I subscribe. I don’t think it’s particularly fast, but it’s the only game in town!


Due to a dawning realisation that Tidal just ain’t able to cut it consistency wise (it keeps bloody stopping every few tracks, which really has been bugging me for a long time, but I’ve just been living with it), I’ve been shopping around in the last few days for an alternative, more reliable lossless streaming service.

Despite having collected 1000’s of CD’s 1000’s of flac albums ISO’s, HD, normal, etc, etc, I really would like to break away from the old style of collecting music, and in my search for a new streaming service, I feel that it’s helping in this regard. I somewhat envy the youngsters not having our old school conditioning which makes them view the musical playing field far more openly than we (I) possibly do. I binned about 700 vinyl albums about 10 years ago, and I think my CD’s are going to go the same way soon: I might scan the artwork first. I would also love to get away from having to groom my locally “owned” files. My goal is to find a streaming service reliable enough to be able to consign my files as a backup for when the internet blows up.

Up until now, streaming has been very much a 2nd tier, backup almost, service for me, but I have also been pondering this very subject of local “ownership” VS streaming for a while now and my forays into relatively new streaming waters has brought this argument to the fore in my mind.

So here’s a bit of a personal viewpoint of how my searches have been going and have evolved my thought processes as regards streaming vs owning…

A couple of days ago, I tried Deezer “Elite”.

This appeared, at first glance, a completely impossible to work with system. It seems to be geared truly to the ephemeral, radio style, listener. There are quite severe limits to the “my collection” model all these services have to try and get you some kind of personal space within their corporate confines. 1000 favourite tracks, 1000 albums, 1000 downloads,etc, etc. These numbers seemed crazy to me, but then it dawned on me; the personalised collection one created is there mostöy to allow tailoring algorithms to do their bit viz the various radio modes which are Deezers main USP it seems.

That had me going again. Could I live with such an ephemeral service? I was both shocked and excited at the prospect… I teetered on the brink of accepting it as my go-to service, as the consistency of play (my reason for ditching Tidal) was great! Only time could tell if I could accept this new way of listening even short term. But then the big nono became apparent; Deezer’s lossless streaming is only available via a Beta Windows Desktop app; Android is limited to 320kbps. Hohum. May as well be checking out Spotify!

I then turned my attention to Qobuz.

I tried Qobuz a few months ago but didn’t like it cos it’s half in French (editorials, some labeling and such) and there was some downloading issues I had at the time for offline content. So my re-approach to Qobuz was only under the caveat that they would still offer me a free trial and Id take it from there, with the consistent playback being my main criteria for acceptance. I knew the sound was good!

I was pleased to see that the free trial option was once again on the table, so now I’m giving Qobuz another go, and must admit, am liking it a lot. I seem to have overcome my xenophobia, mainly because it’s streaming like a champ, with some lovely fast buffering. There are no limits like Deezer, but also no radio options. Some nice “similar artist” options though.

So where does that leave me…? Well, I’m going to soak test Qobuz for the next 14 days and make a decision.

And where does it leave me with the ownership vs streaming issue? This is the funny thing… With Tidal, i’ve been merrily making a parallel collection of my physical local collection, on Tidal. Then I trialled Deezer with its cool radio “mixes”, and limited collection possibilities which made me pause for thought… now am trialing Qobuz. The first thing I did was to start to add my collection again in parallel. Got to 70 or so albums, and stopped. Thought… “what the hell am I actually doing this for?”. Now I’m confused and excited again… is this a turning point? Can I let my collection go? No, of course not. But can I maybe focus more on streaming than locally stored content? Maybe.

I stumbled across this thread this morning (whilst searching for Qobuz in Roon) and much to my chagrin I had completely overlooked it til now. There’s some very interesting stuff being written here…this I found very pertinent:

Written by James_I,…

This is fascinating stuff, us people of a certain age are floundering as we have the mindset of old, yet drowning in listening options which leaves us completely confused as to how to approach our listening for the most part, certainly of new music, just scratching the surface of new listens and spending 90% of our time wallowing in the comfort and nostalgia of our well worn (mentally) albums of youth.

I agree partly with point 3 in the sense that the addiction of that elusive “musical moment” can be achieved by moving onto the next piece rather than investing time in relistening pieces which deliver more on repeat listenings; but I think the inverse maybe true as regards audio equipment in that higher quality equipment will deliver the best inital thrill/endorphin rush for the listener enabling them to move on with satisfaction to the next piece of music, perhaps unknown.

I have been flooded with music since early 2000’s and recently as the quantity seems to be increasing exponentially, my interest in increasing the audio pleasure is also seemingly increasing perhaps not exponentially, but certainly increasing.

But where does all this leave Roon? Certainly if the demographic shifts towards audiophile streaming even in the medium term, Roon will have to adapt to shifting markets and ephemeral streaming service tie-ins will become very important, essential even, to secure its longterm future. I am a fifty year old nerd who has a 10000 album flac collection and I’m thinking of ditching it in favour of the “new way” of consuming music. Just think how normal streaming is and how much of a non-argument it is for the twenty somethings; ie the future of the industry.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #39

As local collections decrease while we dinosaurs become extinct, streaming will likely become more and more of a focus. The question as to whether media management software is relevant at all in that later time frame may depend on whether the streaming services basically offer “all” music or if it becomes more splintered like streaming video - i.e. some content available on Amazon Prime, others available via Netflix, some on, etc. This latter approach seems possible if pan-streaming services are losing money and ultimately streaming may ultimately be profitable for the owners of the copyright.

Since a streaming service can basically reproduce the Roon-like interface experience (more or less, maybe not as sophisticated, but Spotify sure does a pretty decent job, in many cases better than Roon presently) for the music they stream, the question then becomes whether Roon or Roon-like software will be useful in managing and integrating our multiple streaming subscriptions - i.e. allow us to shuffle music from our EMI stream with music from our Sony stream, etc. or otherwise overlay value above and beyond that offered by a single streaming service alone.

This is a long term proposition. There are plenty of us dinosaurs left for now, and it’s not entirely clear that high quality streaming won’t totally choke the Internet if very widely adopted – as I have mentioned in past posts, Tidal does seem to crap out on my rural Michigan Comcast connection pretty frequently; less so in Chicago - and I assume there will be a substantial period of time when the network infrastructure won’t support everyone in every neighborhood streaming everything. And, I still have my doubts that the Internet will support everything in every society with complete reliability and security, even in “wartime” however that is represented in the 21st century (imagine bandwidth being rationed like gasoline during WW2… local data then becomes relevant again!).

But ultimately, if the Internet does end up modifying the media ownership model to be simply cloud-based rentals, then the clock is ticking - perhaps it will still be quite a long time - on local media management software.

From that perspective, perhaps the Roon team needs to figure out how to add value by bridging streaming services together from a user perspective, so that playlists, shuffle, etc., bridge across these services. Or perhaps there are advantages to a local collection that streaming cannot match, that Roon can highlight. I have one in mind, but it is pretty niche to us music-philes: provenance.

At present, streaming services are terrible when it comes to being able to determine what remaster, what release, what remastering engineer, etc, a given title represents on their service. Even if you can dig in to determine it, you don’t get that just by looking at the 4 identical album covers represented by the Tidal collection, for example. If Roon can store a layer of its own or user generated metadata on top of what you get from the streaming service, it puts the user “back in control.” There is some value there.


This is a great discussion.

I am a member of PRS and BASCA and we barely know where all the streaming money is going…certainly not to the artists! Streaming, especially Spotify, has been a disaster for content makers. Spotify keep their figures very close to their chest. This year the PRS went for Soundcloud and won, which was the wrong enemy in my opinion…they should have gone for Spotify.

I just use Roon as a ‘front end’ for my CD collection. I buy CD’s!..this is to support fellow artists too, and will carry on doing so. This limitation is what allows me to function. The thought of having continuous access to all the world’s music makes me freeze in my tracks. I abhore the whole concept of streaming.

Roon is like a glorious version of what iTunes could have been if Apple hadn’t lost the plot. The potential was huge. Apple seemed to loose interest in iTunes. I use Roon for it’s UI and metadata and ability to stream my personal CD collection around the house.