Harman Acquires Roon

Thanks. I seem to rememer them saying that these licences were losing them money and had just been a way of getting cash in during their early days. Still , as you correct me, they have increased the price .

Overall, the price for the perpetual license has more than doubled compared to when Roon first launched.

Like you mention though, it wouldn’t surprise me if they eventually freeze features for the perpetual licensees, and have exclusively subscription only for new releases/feature; everyone in the software space is trying to replicate Adobe’s success :laughing:

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A valid concern Pete, but basic business principles (profitability, growth, ARR, churn, ARPU etc.) apply to every company whether the customers like it or not. I would suggest that to ignore that developers and support engineers need to be paid every month, every year and that these are sought after skills in the global job market is simply being naïve or short-sighted.

I am a lifetime subscriber since day one and very happy with the choice I made, which at the time many viewed as a foolish leap of faith (“Haha, what if they fold after the first year?” etc.) But I also suspect that I passed my point of break even for Roon a long time ago and am now enjoying a free ride. The extent to which I can continue to do that depends on there being enough monthly/yearly subscribers to carry me. The day that is no longer the case I expect things like you describe will start to happen. It’s not a case of Harman being an evil empire, it’s just economic gravity.

However I choose to see the positive in this announcement and IMO there’s quite a lot of it:

  • Roon listening to their customers and not being afraid to roll back poor decisions (internet connectivity requirement)
  • Removal (at least for now) of the dependency on constantly chasing new user demographics
  • Focus on the core user base of music collectors and audiophiles (and I count myself as both)
  • Some warm fuzzy feeling that Roon maintain some control of their own destiny and have not just become an “asset” in the Harman technology balance sheet.

Long may it continue!

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If this is the path they ultimately end up taking (and I’m not suggesting they do), the fairest way would seem to be that new features that absolutely have to be in the cloud are charged at a fair rate (to cover the cloud hosting costs) and all existing services remain freely available (‘free’ as in already paid for).

Roon offered a life-long one-off payment deal to kick-start their business. We supported that - and, thankfully, they flourished. Now they are financially secure, I would not like to see them kick their original supporters in the teeth…

PS As an aside, I do not see the need to move stuff to the cloud for the sake of doing so. It’s usually done to monetise a product on an ongoing basis and the usefulness of the product evaporates immediately the company discontinues that operation or goes under.

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Not sure I agree here (neither am I sure this is a debate even worth having on this forum so if you feel strongly about it let’s duke it out over a beer sometime in the future) but having invested in and worked for a number of SaaS companies I would say it is usually done to minimise maintenance drag for both the customers and the vendor. The corollary is that the software becomes a service and the license fee becomes a subscription. When done right the TCO over any period you choose to compare should be lower. Mrs Struts works in the public sector for an organisation that has just successfully migrated off an IBM mainframe. Apparently they are the only organisation of that scale in the region to have successfully achieved this for about 5 years. ALL the major banks here are still locked into their mainframes (and corresponding maintenance contracts) and may indeed be forever. Buy IBM stock folks!! The service as such may evaporate if the company fails but there is always escrow which ensures the customer retains access to the code and therefore the functionality. I would never invest in anything on prem 2024. Never.

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In the B2B world, I would largely agree.

Indeed, I should have phrased that more clearly - my comment was more aimed at B2C organisations who have a tendency to drop support for a platform when it suits them. In the past, you could carry on using the product, yet nowadays there is a risk your shiny new toy might just stop working.

In this market, the prices of the products tend not to have dropped, but the lifetime ownership cost have sometimes increased quite dramatically. There are cases in the B2C market where the cloud makes sense, such as video recording or computer backups.

There are times where the cloud can extend the functionality (such as what Philips have done with Hue, Honeywell have done with EvoHome, Withings with their health equipment), however they don’t prevent you from using their product without an internet connection.

Then you have cases where you spend considerable money on the product, followed by even more for the subscription (Meural), or buy an expensive product to find they will (at some point) cease support for the necessary cloud platform as they’ve lost interest (Logitech Harmony).

I guess my concern is that the cloud is increasingly being seen as a way of not necessarily adding value, but creating a revenue stream that adds nothing to the functionality, yet could be dropped at a moment’s notice, leaving you owning an expensive brick.

I’ll look forward to the discussion over a beer :smiley:

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More positive moves;

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Unfortunately Roon needs it. For twice, in as many weeks my Roon core is unusable. It’s suffering high CPU cycles with no connectivity. The poor core is very hot. Normally the cycles hover at 1% now they’re around 60% there’s a process gone amok. The last time I had this it was their update that messed things up.

I was initially reluctant to move to Roon, and then further reluctant to purchase the lifetime membership.

Since doing so, I’ve found the software platform very stable, a joy to use, and the updates incredibly smooth.

When I purchase my Rossini, it was instantly recognized by Roon and I could play music immediately.

Over the years I’ve interacted with one of the founders, who regularly and directly responds to questions via DM and on the public community forum. In other words, I see them doing almost everything they should correctly.

Of course there is always roon for improvement (! - ba bing!) ; ) and I’m hoping, for example, that they expand their library recognition in DSD and higher res DSD. Sometimes new releases in this format are not yet in the Roon metadata library.

Hopefully the Harman acquisition will continue to improve an already solid user experience!

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