Even prior to our launch in May '15, it was clear Roon needed to do much more to meet the needs of users who want to exert control over how metadata is displayed and experienced in the app.
At launch, Roon was focused on the user who wants their files automatically identified and managed, but it quickly became clear that we had work to do if we wanted Roon to be flexible enough to support groomed collections, or collections comprised mostly of content our system couldn’t identify.
Roon faces some unique difficulties with regard to metadata. Roon models a rich, linked graph of your music that is fundamentally different from the text stored in your file tags. Improving interoperability between these two worlds is a complex and ongoing research effort.
Before making an edit, it is important to understand how this will impact future metadata updates. Our metadata is always improving, and those improvements are automatically added to your database. However, if you make an edit, some of these improvements may not automatically be added in the future.
- Editing an album will freeze it's structure, meaning we won’t automatically reorganize the track/album relationship in the future as our algorithm improves
- Editing a field prevents future updates to that field in order to maintain your edits
- Using “identify album” pins tracks/albums to a specific release forever, so even if we come up with a better one because of a new data source, or new data from one of our sources, you continue to have the one you manually selected
What’s Still to Come
The metadata-related functionality that we released in Roon version 1.1 represents a first step, and addresses the highest priority issues. There are a few things that have deliberately not been addressed in version 1.1:
- Improvements specific to classical music comprehension and browsing
- Improvements related to work-level navigation and work identification
- Editing of track, album, and performance credits
Editing of works and performances
These topics are deeply interconnected, and improvements in these areas are in the design phase for a future release.
3-Layer Editing Model
The metadata attached to albums, tracks, artists, and so on within Roon is organized into three layers.
- Roon Metadata
- File Tags
When you add your music to Roon, file tags are extracted. These tags are stored in their own layer, and also used to identify the music in your collection. When an identification is successful, Roon’s rich metadata is retrieved and populates the Roon Metadata layer.
By default, Roon displays data from the top-most layer that’s present. In theory, this means that edits override Roon’s metadata, and Roon’s metadata overrides the information from your file tags. However, in Roon 1.0 editing was not possible so file tags were rarely displayed once content was identified.
Version 1.1 introduced the notion of metadata preference. By selecting “Prefer File”, you are telling Roon to flip the order of the two bottom layers like this:
- File Tags
- Roon Metadata
Metadata preferences are set up on a field-by-field and object-by-object basis. This offers extreme flexibility. You can prefer local data on an album-by-album or track-by-track basis to fix isolated problems, or you can select your entire collection in the album or track browser (Ctrl-A on Windows, CMD-A on Mac) and prefer the track titles from your file tags globally.
How do I edit something?
Roon supports manual editing of many metadata fields at the track, album, genre, and artist level. You can access the editing screens by clicking Edit (under the “3 dots” menu) on the album or artist page, or the Pencil on the genre page, or by selecting (right-click or long-press) an album, track, or artist and selecting “Edit” from the command bar at the top of the screen.
The editing functionality supports editing single items or multi-selecting items to edit several items at once. You can perform high-level operations (like setting metadata preferences) on many items at the same time by selecting them in the album or track browser, and clicking the “edit” button at the top of the screen.
There are a variety of available options when editing your metadata, and we've built a few tools to simplify the editing process.
If a multi-disc set you've imported doesn't seem to be identifying properly, you can edit your files directly, or you can edit the album in Roon.
For more information on how to merge albums, check out our write-up
on the topic.
Group alternate versions
Because Roon's duplicate detection is based on a match of the album's metadata (artist, album, track titles) and their length, sometimes not every duplicate is detected automatically. For example, if you have 3 copies of Kind Of Blue, but one of them has a different number of tracks, it may not be added to the set automatically.
To add albums to a set, in the album browser, right-click (or long-press) each album to select.
Next, click Edit in the top-right:
The edit screen will show up. Just click
The selected versions of the album will be grouped together. That's it!
You can also select the disc (or click Edit under the 3 dots menu while viewing its Album Details screen) and choose Identify, to search Roon's database and try to find a better match. For more information, check out these FAQs:
- How can I tell if Roon has identified my album?
- Why didn't Roon find any metadata for my album?
- An album I imported wasn't identified properly, how do I fix it?
If it looks like your album has missing or extra tracks, you should be able to fix this using our Fix Track Grouping feature. It is a powerful feature that can help you:
- Merge albums if you're having difficulty with our Merge Albums feature
- Split multi-disc sets into individual albums
- Merge multiple discs into one disc
- Rearrange tracks into their proper order
- Rearrange discs into their proper order
To learn more about the Fix Track Grouping feature and its various applications, click here
Visibility in Roon
In our visibility settings, you can hide and unhide albums in Roon. By default, hidden albums are not shown in Roon, although this can be changed from the Settings > General tab.
To see tracks that you've hidden, you can either use Focus
to show them, or change the default behavior in Settings.
Roon updates the metadata in your collection periodically and analyzes your audio files on import, but you can always force Roon to do it again in the Your Files section of the edit menu.
You can re-scan your music for changes to file tags and embedded artwork, which will also scan for cover art saved in the same folder as the album.
You can re-identify your music, which attempts to match the album in Roon's database just like the first time you imported it.
You can re-analyze your music for corruption.
You can delete your music, which will permanently delete the selected files from your hard drive. Tracks from streaming services will be removed from your Favorites on the streaming service, and no longer appear in your Roon library.
Roon does not alter your files in any way, and there is no way to edit your file tags in Roon. Roon was never designed to be tagging software -- Roon will use the tags as a starting point, after which it will add it's own rich metadata on top. But you can always choose to display metadata from your file tags in Roon.
If you want to learn more about how file tags play a role in Roon, be sure to read the above section: 3-Layer Editing Model.
Album artists and "Performed by"
In Roon 1.0, each album had a list of “Main Artists”, and sorting by artist sorted by the first name in the list. These were represented as links to standalone artist entities, which created a number of problems, and a good bit of arbitrary-feeling behavior. Additionally, it was not clear how to make “Prefer File” settings work for album artist when album artists were represented as links to artists as opposed to text.
In Roon 1.1, we added an additional text field to albums called “Performed By”. This corresponds to the album artist field in file tags, and represents the text on the album packaging that describes the release artist for the album.
Throughout Roon, when we display album artist, or sort by album artist, we are now sorting by the “Performed By” text, as opposed to the first artist in the “Main Artists” list.
The list of Main Artists from Roon 1.0 still exists, and those artists are displayed as links at the top of the album page. Think of them as a list of interesting people or groups that you might wish to navigate to while viewing the album.
This model has a few more moving pieces than in Roon 1.0, but it represents the data that exists in the world more directly. It also makes it possible (in combination with the “Prefer File” preferences described above) to completely drive the text and sorting in the album browser via file tags.
Other Versions of an album
Roon automatically looks for duplicate albums in your library. If any tracks or albums have similar artist and album info, and also have similar lengths, Roon considers them to be duplicates.
Roon detects and hides duplicates by default, but you can turn this off at any time from the General tab of Settings.
To read more about handling other versions of an album, visit this article
Compilations, soundtracks, live albums, bootlegs
Roon has support for tracking live albums, compilations, and bootlegs, as well as live tracks. We are populating this data from two different metadata providers at the moment, but it’s fairly new to us, and may contain inaccuracies. Please let us know if you run into incorrectly flagged tracks or albums.
These flags are editable. There’s also a setting in Settings->General to flag albums as live albums, compilations, or bootlegs using icons in the album browser if you want that information to be a part of your browsing experience.
Roon supports multi-disc sets, and shows them as one album cover in the album browser. If your multi-disc sets aren't showing up properly, you can ensure they do by following the instructions in this article.
Genres are a very personal topic for many of our users -- we were honestly surprised at the depth, variability, and intensity of opinions that users hold about this topic.
Roon supports full editing of genres, and genre assignments. Don’t like that Daniel Barenboim is tagged as “Latin” by Rovi? By all means, remove it.
Roon supports the editing of the genre hierarchy itself. Is Tango a Top-Level genre for you? By all means, put it at the Top-Level.
Roon also supports extracting genres from file tags. This creates some interesting problems: genres in file tags aren’t inherently hierarchical, and don’t necessarily match up with the default genres that come with Roon. It’s also fairly common for real-world files to contain junk in the genre tags that you’d rather not see in-app.
There are two settings in Roon: “Show Roon Genres” and “Show Genres from File Tags”. You will find them in Settings => General tab and default to “Yes” and “No” respectively, preserving the 1.0 behavior by default.
If both settings are set to “No”, then you’re essentially starting with a blank slate--the only genres that you will see are those added using Roon’s editing functionality. If both settings are set to “Yes”, then you will see Roon’s genres and your genres side by side. Otherwise, you can choose to see only genres from Roon, or only genres from your files.
Only necessary to use if you have Settings > General > Show Genres from File Tags set to Yes.
Roon supports mapping genres extracted from your file tags when they’re brought into Roon. This mapping allows you to:
- Re-write genre names. This is common for near misses like “Prog Rock” vs “Progressive Rock” or “Post Bop” vs “Post-Bop”
- Hide genres that you don’t want to see in Roon
You can access the Genre mappings editor via Settings -> Setup -> Genre Mappings
Traditionally, Roon has kept track of “Date Added” for tracks based on the first time that Roon saw a file or TIDAL track. This isn’t ideal when our collections typically go back for decades and Roon hasn't been released for nearly as long.
There are a few features to improve this situation. You can edit the import dates for your tracks to match the file modification or creation times in the filesystem (multi-select a bunch of tracks in the track browser and use the “Metadata Preference” tab if you want to perform this operation to large amounts of content at once). You can, of course, also edit your import dates manually.