Why Roon needs to adapt and evolve...pov of a partially disgruntled yearly subscriber

Absolutely right about the streaming, it is an ethereal, ephemeral, thing, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent and the mindset of “ethereal” music will change over time as streaming services become more and more evolved AND established, AND we have systems like Roon which blur the line between “owned” and “borrowed” music.

As an analogy consider email… I used to use outlook and swore by the fact that i could have a local copy kept for all emergencies. For the last 6 years Ive used Gmail and stored all my emails online and don’t give it a second thought. Do I still feel I own the data? Sure! Am a pleased that I don’t have to keep backing up multiple PST files and worry about corruption, Sure! Am I also pleased that I can search for and access within fractions of seconds, emails way back from 2012 or earlier? Sure! I now have some 100gb of emails accumulated within Google. Maybe Im a fool, I dont know, but certainly my perception of my emails is one of ownership.

My main concern with streaming services is that they may disappear and leave me stranded to re-build a collection again with another service, but I’ve done that so many times now anyway, both physically and virtually, that it’s a labour of love and exploration, relistening to stuff collected or even listening to it for the first time. In this regard I think that as streaming services stand the test of time (eg Tidal), they may be bought out by larger conglomerates a to be tweaked and revised to become more profitable or as flagship loss leaders for bigger concerns, but they won’t disappear, so our time investment in them is quite safe, imho. - barring the ever present threat of Zombie Apocalypse of course :slight_smile:

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Since every streaming service is losing money by the truckload, that’s the most likely outcome, except for services cross-subsidized by deep pockets in other lines of business, for which music streaming is a loss leader or vanity brand. Not to mention that streaming is terrible for artists.

Roon is the best way I’ve found to organize my modest collection of ~1000 CD rips and lossless digital downloads (growing at around 20 albums/month). I’d like a way to mirror conveniently part of my collection on my DAP for travel and on a portable drive for my work system, but mobile streaming is irrelevant for me (too many plane rides, subways, remote places without cell coverage, dead spots).

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To each his own. I have both Tidal and Quobuz, but I only use them to expand my musical horizons and discover music that I consider worth buying and downloading. I know this sounds childlike or even childish, but if I really, really like an album, I just want to HAVE it, OWN and say it’s MINE. :grinning:

At the same time, I’m fully aware that music — by definition — cannot be “owned”…


I hear you Fernando. The model has to evolve for sure. That’s a whole other discussion, and a very interesting one at that. I am firmly in the 2 system camp; ie I used Tidal and locally stored music side by side, I have far too much locally stored music; to last a lifetime for sure, so I’m not that worried about losing streaming.

Like you say, all the streaming services are losing money because they charge too little. We are the gainers here, access to all we can eat in terms of hq music for a few quid a month, it’s just ridiculous and certainly a paradigm shift change from 20+ years ago, say, when we were paying perhaps 10-20 quid for one premium CD alone.

It’s a weird scenario as the streamers vie for market share year on year to the tune of massive revenues and huge losses. The bubble can only burst eventually. To my mind the likes of Google and Apple will take over Tidal, Qobuz, and even Spotify eventually and offer the services as packages to go with their phones and other devices or merge them into Google Play Music and Apple Music and license them to other companies for use in their devices. They will still hemorraege money quite probably, as the die is cast for low cost access to massive amounts of music, but it’s a necessary “evil” for the huge meganationals to be able to offer the access of constant music to hungry consumers.

All we can hope for as Roonies is that Roon can still assimilate the services into its own platform when the time comes.

Incidentally, I work much the same way as you, trying to mirror part of my collection on my DAP for travelling. However, a new feature of latest HQ DAP is that it has wifi/android config with Tidal on board (as well as the 64GB onboard and 2 microsd slots); it’s really cool to be able to listen to more stuff on the go, where applicable of course. Or even round the house where wifi is iffy for Roon-streaming.


Streaming services are loosing money because A: they have a lot to invest for the long term. B: they don’t have to pay taxes while they are losing money on paper. C: they don’t have to pay dividend to the investors. It’s a modern buisiness model us average joe’s will never inderstand but I would not worry about it too much.

I could see Netflix buying a smaller share streamer like Deezer. Spotify will be very hard to displace due to focus on Playlists, discovery, and social features.

They are not comparable in speed at all. Even if they were, the Android or iOS cannot tolerate a server level software being run because of what those OS’s are.

What would core on mobile offer? Core allows streaming to multiple end points using RAAT. It allows for DSP.

If the metadata was in the cloud, and the mobile connected to that, it could give you the browsing and discoverability experience of Roon at home today, on your streaming sources (and possibly library on something like DropBox). You don’t need RAAT on the phone - it is the end point. DSP? Maybe. But most phones today (although the V30 is changing it) have pretty poor DACs. So things like upsampling would be of limited use.

I think a mobile v1 would offer the roon experience today against music that is available on the internet (either streaming or cloud based library).

Having another core that is portable (ie another NUC as opposed to a mobile) is a different story. That is what I have today with my NUC for holidays. There the ability to switch between cores could be easier.

OK thanks for the clarification.

I am surprised nobody has mentioned the big elephant in the room: room correction (punt not intended).

To me, these is where the big opportunity lies with Roon. Benefits of proper room correction (including speaker / subwoofer correction) far outweigh other improvements you can make in the chain. Ask people with miniDSPs, Anti-Mode, DEQX, etc.


No. They are losing money because the labels have them over a barrel given that they control the rights, and internet users are not willing to pay the kind of recurring fees that would cover the demands from the labels. I’ve had professional connections to the digital music business since its earliest days. I’m also very familiar with the dynamics of VC-funded businesses, and what investors will tolerate and for how long. Financial gravity can only be suspended for so long.

Yes, and I wonder if the record labels are carefully monitoring the video side to see how much consumers will tolerate multiple subscriptions. In my office, I have co-workers who sub to Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Hulu, and CBS. Is it that great a stretch to see the major music labels offering their own streaming services?

Your co-workers’ subscriptions might seem crazy until one works out that total monthly is likely lower than a premium cable package :astonished: OTOH, the labels have no incentive to start their own services when the current services are paying them more from their VC or corporate sugar daddy stashes than they get from consumers. If a label were running a streaming service, they’d have to accept lower streaming income/user than they get now.

Yes, but as you have mentioned about financial anti-gravity, it might all be just a matter of time.

I agree, though my concern is more business-based. Streaming services are financially fragile and their selections are subject to change at any time. While streaming is great for exploration, there is no guarantee that any recording that you love will remain available through streaming or even for sale. If you love it, buy it or risk losing it.

Still, Roon needs to face a future with fewer collectors and more listeners using streaming services. I hope they will create a common user interface that can present music from a large variety of sources.


Aint gonna work for them. If people are not willing to pay for streaming services now they sure won’t ever pay for multiple one-label streaming services, they just go back to copying and illegal downloading again. The record industry will lose a lot of customers. I for one certainly won’t sign up to one label account and I’m happy with my 20 euro/month Tidal account. Oh wait I still have a Deezer account as well. Damn I’m spoiling the market.

I also know people with multiple video streaming accounts but most of them are temporarely. They switch over lots of times just to view one series. Sometimes overlapping two series on two streaming services. Video is a different kind of “consumption” then music.

yes there is this aspect. I mean, about losing albums from the streaming service, or when moving around, different areas have different licensing for different albums/artists.

I am trying to use tidal more at the moment to see if it’s viable, for me, as a main source of music.

At the moment, I am tempted to run my Fiio DAP as a musical experiment… to only have it as a tidal rig, with the local storage on board used to fill the gaps left by tidal and see if I can live with that. It’d be an interesting to see if it passes the frustration test; if i can see a seamless experience or if it’s unworkable in my environment.

I subscribe to three different video streaming services. But I only pay a total roughly equivalent to my Tidal HiFi subscription for them.
The key is cost. If labels offer their wares via their own streaming services it could work if the costs are sensible.

thats’s interesting Henry. If we’re highly attracted to the output of a certain label, then why not (ECM or DG spring to mind)? It would make the market far more interesting!

I am not sure offerings as small as ECM would fit that model. Economy of scale would be the key, attracting a lot of customers. The relatively small number of potential subscribers to DG or ECM would require a higher subscription cost to make it financially viable. We are talking about the big labels. Smaller labels have always gone to the big boys for distribution so I would expect the ECM’s of the industry to go to a big label for distribution, and this can vary dependent on territory thus preserving the existing model.