Tidal $28 million losses, alternative streaming services for Roon?

Disturbing article about Tidal’s huge losses:

Worst case scenarios: Tidal goes belly-up or Tidal acquired by Apple. Is Roon pursuing alternative/additional partnerships with competitive streaming services just in case?



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Most streaming services music/ video are difficult businesses and are making losses - even Pandora, Spotify after achieving scale find it difficult to be cashflow positive - I think it’s early days for TIDAL, l expect that this business will be loss making for some years - however I see more growth potential here say as compared to Pandora radio. At this stage I am not as concerned given the state of play in this industry

Having read the various threads- I think Roon team here has tried the integration route with Spotify/ Pandora- with no luck - I think you will find most streaming services like to own the front end with the end user - the TIDAL / Roon integration is very unique - I reckon given both Roon and Tidal were in there early years of innovation, both businesses saw the benefit to the end user in the “Hi-FI” end of the market (Spotify/ Pandora perhaps would be poor branding for Roon as the Roon business matures) - I would argue this kind of strategic alliance may not have happened if TIDAL was a mature business - also I cannot see this level of partnership resulting with any other streaming service - for me it makes both TIDAL and Roon very compelling but not essential - I would be rather sad if TIDAL folded but that would not prevent from having Roon for my collection and Internet radio.

Well Deezer Elite would be an alternative though tight now for some crazy reason it’s still
a Sonos exclusive.

Spotify lost $194million last quarter.

Pandora lost $191million so far in 2016.

Apple Music is surely losing money too, but hasn’t said how much, but it is irrelevant since Apple Music is not a meaningful profit center for them.

Deezer has lost over $100m as well

Clearly normal thinking about profits and losses in this business leading to death of company is clearly not how things work.

Sooo… Why are you worried? :slight_smile:

BTW, in this business, there are 2 ways to become profitable: stay small and grow organically, or grow so huge that you don’t need marketing.

Apple is taking the latter approach (use iOS ecosystem to grow).

TIDAL (pre-JayZ) and some years at Rhapsody seem to be the former approach. Rhapsody was doing good in the years when they stagnated growth. Whenever they reach for more, they lose money.

The problem is that allow these businesses want to bleed money, sell music content at a loss, market like crazy in hopes to get large user base, and then eventually profit.

Unfortunately, they keep growing the costs while doing so.

Not going to happen, and they even denied it recently.

We are always doing this – it’s prudent business practice.


I buy ~150 albums/year (rough estimate) either as CDs or as FLAC from various download sites (HDtracks, Bandcamp, a few others). I know this is not the norm, but I suspect there are enough of us out there to possibly justify a more convenient download market through Roon than going separately to those sites or ripping CDs. Instead of wasting time picking and choosing through the HDtracks, Bandcamp, CAM Jazz, and other emails I get frequently, I’d just have a menu of fresh available albums tuned to my very obvious interests. Latest Chris Potter or Rokia Traoré? Of course!

Last thing I want to encroach on my relaxation/ unwind time is advertising, selective or otherwise.


I wouldn’t necessarily assume that the article in the Daily Mail is correct. Might be, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the DM has gone for an eye catching headline at the expense of accuracy.

It would be fine if it were opt-in. I spend way too much time & effort ordering/ripping exotic music, would much prefer one-stop shopping a la old iTunes or current Amazon, but lossless. Just spent 15 minutes ordering the latest Dave Douglas from Bandcamp. Way too much work for a small purchase.

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28 million dollars is a lot of money. Yet it doesn’t seem like a catastrophic amount when compared to what I calculated the revenues to be according to the DailyMail article. What would be shameful is for Tidal to not spend enough money, that it failed because it didn’t spend what was needed to acquire subscribers.

BTW, Tidal has a nice description of how the revenues are distributed to artists on its website page called Stream of Consciousness.

I love the way Tidal integrates with Roon. I’ve seen it referred to as a “deep” integration. I get annoyed when I want to stream something and have to go outside Roon to play/hear it. Perhaps it might be time to consider adding other streaming services that weren’t so deeply integrated, by providing a simple interface that brought the stream into Roon for playing, similar to how internet radio is now done in Roon. There’s deep and not-so-deep.


Excellent point - the not so “deep” integration like internet radio would be the only way Roon could go forward without relying upon third party to provide support or IP - certainly an option if the software development allowed for it.

Sonos has managed to get tons of services, but always using the Sonos interface. And they have a “global” search, so you can search for material through any valid accounts you have that Sonos supports.

As much as I love Roon’s interface and integration with Tidal, I’d settle for the ability to use manually search for songs on another service, or to manually add it to my library.


Roon should offer a free one year subscription to anyone with a Spotify email address. That way, all of their employee’s could see what they are missing by not supporting Roon.

Not only do many of their employees use Roon, but many are our friends :slight_smile:

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Well I reckon the world will come around to the beauty of TIDAL…I’ve just flown 7 hours listening toTIDAL offline through Noise cancelling phones from my phone. Very nice sound. Looking forward to switching on Roon and my stereo

I’m surprised people haven’t complained that Tidal’s content often lacks dynamic range and is fatiguing to listen to. In the Pop/Rock genres most of their content comprises horribly compressed remasters. It’s why some have reported Tidal playback is louder. Same experience with the few albums I’ve bought from them.

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All the wishful thinking in the world won’t save a failing company. I hope Tidal survives, but it’s not looking good right now. This is the kind of market in which it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a niche player (unless you focus on niche genres, maybe classical?).

And let’s not forget the social component of it, network effect etc. I’d love that all my friends were on Tidal so that I could check what they’re listening to and share playlists. But I do understand that we’re talking about Roon, a very narrow slice of the music-listening public (not saying Roon users have no friends, by any means! :stuck_out_tongue:)

I really hope the Roon guys have a plan B, because at least for me the value of the software would be greatly diminished if there isn’t a tight integration with a streaming service.

No plan B required IMHO - Roon will continue to be my main software for audio with or without TIDAL - as I said before the integration is compelling but not essential for Roon to keep growing it’s business

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I think it was last year that Qobuz found an investor.
Qobuz was saved it looks like in the last moment.
So people see some prospect in that kind of business.
I personally think there is more value in Tidal than in Qobuz, due to the artists they have on an exclusive basis.
There is no need to be too pessimistic on Tidal.

I have to disagree. Streaming services are the future.
If I ask my kids what they abdicate, if they have to choose. Without thinking they will keep the streaming service and renounce a local library.
If for me Roon without a streamings service is a deal breaker and I would go back to LMS, where a kind of integration is available.
So I think, it is essential! For me and for Roon, if they want to grew in the mass market and not only have a few audiophiles as customers.