First, for context, I’m a person who started as “local library only” (~5000 redbook rips) and over the course of 4 months with Roon added first Tidal and then Qobuz, and now listens to 75-85% streaming. I prefer in most cases the Qobuz hi-res version to my local version, and the discovery features are magic to me. But, within my recent living memory I was “local only”, and previously I spent a huge amount of time on tagging. That does not mean I judge those who don’t follow my path, or that I don’t have empathy for the fear of being left behind. I’ve said elsewhere that I imagine Roon as a business should focus on where it can grow revenue/profit, and the economics of a more purely SaaS subscription offering are attractive and operationally possible for the “streaming only” customer. But I want Roon to support all of its users, especially because the lifetime model creates a different moral incentive than pure subscription SaaS models.
However, I would never suggest that someone buy a money-losing venture unless they have a clear path to make it not lose money. I doubt that Roon with its 100k-ish subscribers provides a better route to lower CAC or lower churn or lower cost to serve than Qobuz or Tidal face currently.
Honestly, as a user, I hope that Roon chases every last $ of profit they possibly can as far as possible. I think that, regardless of your library modality, growth is the most likely way you can improve your likelihood of a working, thriving product. And clearly Roon cares about “local only” users, but the product is going to evolve in ways that make it, at least in some narrow ways, less “useful” than it is to streaming customers (eg, some features may not work; you may not value those features however so that may be ok).
I guess as an investor, I like this to the “scale begets data density begets usability begets profit” narrative. You may not like Google for privacy or monopoly or predatory behavior or…, but they provide the best search results because they have the most usage, so you grudgingly use it, so they get more data. My use case is kind of like that - if they get more users and usage, I vote for them with my wallet. I want them to eventually threaten Spotify. No joke. Not in the “most users”, but in the “most of the really useful users”. Then we will have a product that does amazing things for both local only and streaming users. And until we get to that sort of data density, we don’t really have a super long term viable business model. Minnows get eaten.