The future of Roon for non-streaming users?

Citation for that?

Citation for that?

For Tidal (2020 so a bit ouf ot date):

With superstar artist-owners, exclusive content and a commitment to fairly pay artists in theory Tidal should have a larger share of the streaming market. In practice, the service has struggled to grow subscribers and has yet to turn a profit.

For Qobuz, I know I’ve read somewhere that they weren’t profitable but can’t find a link at the moment, will add if I find one.

Thank you. Qobuz did require additional investment around 2015, so that could be what you’re referring to.

It is undoubtedly the case that Tidal and Qobuz are tiny in comparison to Spotify. That doesn’t necessarily mean that their position is precarious. It does mean that they need to proceed with caution when it comes to market expansion. Poor decisions re: expansion have seen off many a promising company.

Hopefully you’re right! I like Spotify for discovery, playlists, etc. but I’m completely spoiled by the audio quality of lossless streaming. I’m currently subscribed to Qobuz, and have also used Tidal in the past. Would love to see both companies thrive alongside the bigger players.

1 Like

Qobuz are shooting themselves in the foot by their lack of availability in so many countries. Sure there’s a cost and no doubt licensing issues, but if you can’t sign up customers you can’t generate revenue.

If you listen to the AudiophileStyle podcast on Qobuz, there’s one section of note- they point out that when we say “service X pays more to artists per stream”, that’s not actually true, it’s just a calculation. They pay the labels a certain fixed amount based on a negotiation. The smaller ones seem to be more generous to artists, but in fact they just have worse bargaining power/ leverage and so their payments divided by the number of users yield a larger number… and hence worse gross margins. This is truly a world where from the perspective of the streaming service, bigger means more profitable. And recall that Spotify turned a profit last year for the first time on a single quarter. So it’s not clear that there is room for many streaming services in the long term. That said… I’ll be shocked if someone isn’t streaming in HiRes and selling to Roon users with integration in five years.

EDIT: note I’m not making a point about morality here. The labels are the bad guys, but also so are we streamers - we (all of us, not just Spotify) are not willing to pay more / there’s too much competition / the pricing model that seems to work is “all you can eat” and so the total pie of $ for recorded music is shrinking. When you add that to the leverage that the middle man has, you have the current situation. It’s just that we tend to think that Qobuz cares more about artists, and while that may be true in a PR / relationship sense, it’s not true in a business sense and they admit it. If we like their service, we should hope they grow, get more leverage, and pay the same amount everyone else does. It’s just a margin calculation.


Yes, I agree. Also the top artists are doing 5-6 billion streams a year.

I have an extensive local library and find the new search and discovery facilities in 1.8 are an improvement on 1.7. I used to be an extensive user of the alphabetical search which has now been discontinued but I am finding the filter function provides superior results when I want to do this. However Roon 1.8 provides plenty of other discovery options that is making me rethink habits of a lifetime.

Part of the issue here is that my old way of searching was based around album - and of course comes from locating physical CDs or LPs before then. My digital library and naming conventions are organised around this. Of course I can still do this if I want - but now in the age of digitised music I no longer need to. Roon 1.8 has greatly improved the ability search for individual composition which means I can now more easily discover works that might have been “hidden” in box sets or as subsidiary works on a particular album.

In other words we need no longer to think around physical albums.

Roon now offers a monthly option so it would relatively inexpensive to go extend for a month to see how things go.

1 Like

I sure didn’t take it that way. I agree with @jim_f

Spotify is not lossless. I’d far prefer the course ahead stick with at a minimum CD quality 16 bit 44.1 lossless.

Thanks for engaging in this thread, Brian. Looking at this list of 1.8. features I’m still struggling to see how they improved my life compared to 1.7
I have asked in a spearate thread about what users think are the improvements on classical and I have really hoped for a Monty Python “What have the romans ever done for us” experience. But apart from the new focus I have got nothing. The new focus is a way forward, but the xperience is still patchy for me. Lot’s of hit and miss albums (especialla boxsets) that don’t show compositions at all, although the compositions were identified. This probably is a bug and wil be sorted out, although I did not get any response whethere a ticket was created after reporting it in the beta section 10 days ago and flagging support 5 days ago.

But aside from that individual thing that may be solved quickly once it’s been tackled. I really wonder what the improvements are that I and quite some other classical music users don’t see. I even see other users complaining about their 1.8. experience not getting better because you guys focused so much on classical with 1.8

I really want Roon to improve my classical experience, I really do. And I’m happy that Roon is the only tool I know that deals with the “composition” object unlike any other tool. But this was there since the very beginning and made me join the club in 2015.

What do I see with 1.8.

New Focus - a good idea that needs some tweaking (hope some of the bugs wil be sorted out). Do nout understand why it is presented vertically in some places and horizontally in others. Do not understand why you can focus on album release date but not on on composition date. Neither you can focus on Instrumentation. Does not look logically to me as a layman.
Focus across streaming/Non-streaming might be nice. Doesn’t improve the experience for non streamers, so I will non accept it in this thread :wink:

Boxsets. I think this is a big deal with local file people, since the big lables are throwing so much on the market. Focus has the potential to make the boxset experience better, but I don’t think the problem has been tackled in a way that most guys would have expected in 1.8. I need to test focus in more detail once the bug I described aboved is solved. Currently a big part of my boxsets is not navigatable using focus since the compositions are not in the focus list.

Composer/Performer problem. This was a big problem and I’ve seen you tackled this with 1.8… However, I’m not convinced yet it has been bettered. Again we’ll need to wait for the bugs being solved. With the old switch system I could easily identify the albums that wrongly had a performer or primary artist assignment for the composer. and I could correct those. With the new feature, well I don’t know… I had hoped for sections like “albums as composer” vs. “albums as performer” but that doesn not seem to be the way it’s been done. So for composer/conductors the experience is not there, yet. Need to wait and see how that develops.

Recommendations/Discovery. I don’t need those in the current state of things and I don’t think they are terribly useful for “novices”. I may be wrong there and Valence will improve with time. But it’s been there for quite some time already, hasn’t it? What I dislike is the top tracks section. Does not bring anything to the table and interferes with my navigation on mobile devices.

UI/UX. I think I see where you want to go with the new UI. You can’t argue about taste and there are things I like in the new UI and things I don’t, just as with 1.7 For my personal use case, however, the UX has degraded in some places. Indentation of compositions, new playing now display being shortened for the track title. No number of compositions on track overview. No extension of user-provided metadata to be incorporated. This in fact, would enhance my user experience big time. To be able to add things to some of the great structural elements Roon provides us with. Being it composer/artist biographies, album reviews, composition descriptions/metadata. Making Roon my Roon without changing its structure. Making 3rd party metadata the starting point, not the endpoint.

Again, I am open to others pointing out things to me that have been vastly improved for local library classical navigation and experience. I really want to understand them and use them. I’m repeating myself a lot lately, but I’m not getting much feedback, so I keep asking.


Streaming is where many audiophiles are gravitating to. Many probably have a reasonable collection of High Res audio files, but have changed to companies like TIDAL and Qobuz to cater for all there listening and exploration and discovery of new music.

This is where Roon Labs fills the niche sector.

This triangle of three companies are well placed. TIDAL has between 2-3m subscribers, Qobuz 200K subscribers in EU and 25-50K subscribers in US running a beta service.
Meanwhile Roon posts that they have 100K+ subscribers.

The big financial risk and viability to this is that the pricing of all three platforms have been quite high to maintain healthy margins with TIDAL £20 pm Qobuz used to be around £25 pm now reduced to £14.99 pm to compete with Amazon Music HD also priced at £14.99 pm

Spotify has 200m subscribers and Apple nearly 100m subscribers with Amazon at 40m subscribers.

Now that Amazon Music HD is a High Resolution upto 192/24 platform with around 70m tracks the gloves are off in the price competition.

So far TIDAL has resisted reducing there pricing for HiFi Master service. But likely will be forced to when there numbers refuse to grow, Qobuz may win more subscribers but can they remain afloat as they received a 10m Euro input by acquisition of larger holding company back in 2015 when they faced uncertain future.

Roon meanwhile has never dropped its prices but actually increased lifetime membership from $499.99 to $699.99 just when Amazon Music HD was launched!

They have stated they want to end the lifetime and have only subscription at $120 pa but the problem is if TIDAL or Qobuz goes out of service due to the price war of competition with number three top tier Amazon.

Roon could find it has no services to partner with. Amazon would refuse to play ball as they would never allow daily access to its servers as Qobuz and TIDAL does. Instead offering only standard API access which would not fit into the Roon concept of complete integration.

The real question is what is the future of the triangle niche group of companies and especially Roon Labs who are very vulnerable to a future buy out by companies like Amazon needing a UIX fix to compete with Apple and Spotify.

Perhaps the future for Roon is with Amazon, which would unquestionably put Roon into a very strong position with up to 40m + subscribers.

Some very interesting toughts here. There is always the risk of partners going out of business as this market becomes increasingly competitive. But there are also new players entering the game.

I’m just investigating Primephonic. Its a classical-only (which is my main focus) service, very nice catalog and an App thats well ahead of what Qobuz has. There is also HighResAudio and other smaller players. Companies like this could clearly be / become partners for Roon to look at to extend their offering.

A company like Roon could never “partner” with Amazon, or Spotify or any other of the giants. They would either just turn them away straight away or dictate to them the terms on which to do business.

1 Like

I have tried Primephonic for one month, cool service but it has such a small catalogue of music as to be embarrassing. Only 3m albums max. Classical only. I could only find around 50% of my existing Qobuz Classical collection and no Jazz or other genres.

While it is clear to me that the future of Roon and music listening in general is streaming, I still love the fact that I can combine downloaded music and streams in the same software.

To me, this is quite a severe problem:

So, currently I use streaming to discover new music, but once I want to own an album, I’ll buy it on Bandcamp or somewhere else. Having access to locally stored music is a crucial feature of Roon to me, and I can not imagine, that they will neglect this, as the OP feared.


yes. they’re just starting, so I would guess that catalog will grow. But you’re absolutely right, it will be classical only. But curated at that.


I have a large local library plus a Tidal subscription. If it weren’t for Roon Radio always going to Tidal first I doubt I would play more than a few hours a week from Tidal.

I have been collecting for 50 years, now I am retired I get a chance to listen my collection.

All that said , I haven’t found Roon wanting for local libraries, (4 years so far). Yes there are failings, what software is perfect, I honestly believe I could turn off tidal with no ill effects.

Investigate what Roon has to offer, I see you’ve been a user for a while.

1 Like

The real question is do we as audiophiles wait for small companies to perhaps work! Or perhaps one day add more music to there collections?

Or do we switch to use a successful large platform like Amazon Music HD that has 70m tracks in there collection with nearly 50m+ in CD quality and the largest so far 10m + in High Resolution upto flac 192/24. Where music is more permanent and removed every few weeks like some other streaming companies.

Oh and one more thing AMHD carries all of the same Music Videos as Apple Music not only for pop genres but classical. DG recordings of Berlin Philharmonic in full HD video with HD sound too.

The one thing AMHD needs is Roon front end.

Think of the benefits here. AMHD for 14.99 pm and Roon provided free because Amazon buys Roon and rebrands it as a delivery interface.

Compared to Paying 120 py for Roon, plus 20 pm for TIDAL and/or 15pm for Qobuz.

Which would you take ?

How do you link into your hifi system ?

I tried both Primephonic and IDAGIO. Both worked well but there was no means of piping the output to my streamer/headphone amp system other than AirPlay or a direct USB cable to my DAC/headphone amp. Indeed IDAGIO recommends the 3.5mm headphone jack, to the Aux input of your amp ? Hardly what we need ?

As an aside I did several comparisons of new releases , in a very high % Tidal had the same recordings. 95% or better.

Both services have “own content” , podcasts, interviews and the like.

Primephonic have recently started putting booklet PDF’s on their albums , very nice

IDAGIO when I tried it was not gapless is it know?

PS Amazon does not have a presence in South Africa, not even as a purchase site. Indeed I believe Africa. Add the same for Qobuz so we need to stick with Tidal. Both Primephonic and IDAGIO have a SA presence

All Apple Macs feeding direct to DACS and with Roon ready endpoints and for local devices as DAC portable into Chord Mojo etc iPhone or iPads all running Roon and acting as a endpoint.

AirPlay is used only for things which do not run Roon. AirPlay works well enough.

Qobuz also has PDFs and more of them than Primephonic and on other genres. That is one of the best features of Qobuz which is why I have and will continue to support Qobuz.

AMHD does not have any PDFs cd booklets nor textual information, which is why they would be perfect fit for Roon system.

I can’t see Roon staying as is should Amazon buy them , just a thought …