Samsung's Harman audio division announced that it acquired Roon, and that the music service will operate as a standalone business unit within Harman. The existing Roon team will stay in place, and Harman notes that it is "committed to growing Roon’s open device ecosystem."
If you go down the enthusiast audio rabbit hole, there's a good chance you'll come across Roon. It is a high-end music service that does a fantastic job organizing your existing music library, and it also plugs into Tidal and Qobuz. The service is aimed at enthusiasts that have a large offline music collection, and it combines a beautiful user interface with plenty of noteworthy features.
Roon's biggest advantage is its ecosystem; the service works seamlessly on the best network streamers and high-end audio gear. I got started with Roon earlier this year on the Fiio R7, and it has made a huge difference in how I listen to music. The service costs $15 a month, $149 annually, or you can buy a lifetime license that's currently going for $829 (it used to cost a lot less).
In a sense, it was inevitable that Roon would be acquired by a larger entity — I just assumed that it would be Apple. I'm still not sure how Samsung acquiring the service will benefit it in the long-term, but if this means tighter integration with its products and Roon, then I'm all for it.
Worried that your lifetime license isn't as good a value anymore? Roon founder and CEO Enno Vandermeer shared a post on the Roon community site that things are going to stay the same:
- All monthly, annual, and lifetime subscriptions remain valid and will continue without interruption.
- Trials will continue and convert as they usually would.
- There will be no changes to our billing processes.
- This community site will continue to be the home for discussion about Roon, audio, and music.
- Our customer success and support services will continue to operate as they do today.
- All supported audio products will continue to work with Roon, and we’re committed to certifying new Roon Ready and Roon Tested products from all brands.
- The familiar faces from our team will be right here as always.
Anyway, the enthusiast audio scene has seen a lot of consolidation in recent months, with Sony acquiring U.S. audio brand Audeze earlier in the quarter. I mention Audeze because the brand has a lot of custom presets on Roon, so we're now at a situation where a Sony-owned brand has to work with a Samsung entity to deliver custom features to its headsets. These are fun times.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.