Roon is the best music player software available today, except that it has critical areas less usable than in solo-developer software available in the early 2000s!
Roon’s features make it fantastically easy to find great new music. But Roon can also make it terribly difficult to find music we already have and that we know where it is!
I’ve learned more about the music I love since I started using Roon than I knew before then. But much of the information now feels “stale” and Roon doesn’t provide any means for it to be refreshed.
Roon, software only, no music, costs more than some music services. Yet I continue to pay for it!
There are a lot of seeming contradictions, cognitive dissonance in the themes, here.
I would love to see Roon focus on fixing all of the little but very frustrating usability issues, as per the thread up in the Software section. But I wonder is that is best for Roon, or its longevity, as that is less likely to win a new market or penetrate a market as much as some fantastic, news-making new feature.
Therein lies the big dilemma. As an expensive piece of software (please stop comparing it to hardware costs - it’s not hardware; try selling your subscription on Audiogon…), Roon’s users are right to expect a premium experience. And yet there does not seem to be a budget within Roon to do both - to fix all those issues AND innovate back to the cutting edge. At least not within a perceptible time frame.
I almost posted a statement that Roon’s owners need to see the writing on the wall and sell a stake in the company to an investor so that Roon has sufficient capital to do both, rather than apparently (this is a perception…) limping along on the back of higher than market subscription fees.
BUT, investors don’t put in money for nothing. They expect that money to be returned as a multiple, meaning Roon would be setting themselves on an irrevocable course towards acquisition. But who would buy Roon? A company that just wants to fund it and grow it but leave its essential nature the same? That’s private equity, but I cannot see a private equity firm doing that with Roon, being as how an IPO or a flip to a strategic feels unlikely.
So who would buy it? A strategic buyer that wants to move Roon into its ecosphere, that’s who. Amazon, as a front end for Amazon music. Spotify, as a better network transport. Google or Microsoft, to jump-start their less-than-world-beating music offerings.
But of course that doesn’t work for US. Any such acquisition is going to knock out Tidal and Qobuz, and possibly even knock out our local collections. It would change Roon’s direction to serve its new master.
So, what we’re really paying for is Roon’s independence. The audiophile community isn’t big enough to grow Roon at a rapid rate, to fund everything we want. But it’s here, and independent, and I think that is what we are really paying for.
Roon cannot exist FOR US any other way than as it is. It could be better funded, do more, but it wouldn’t be doing it for US.
That said, Roonies, please focus on my needs first!
(Just FYI, that last line was just a joke).