4564 Unidentified Albums - Advice, Tips, Best Practices?

I’ve had Roon for over a year now, and I’ve been happy with the metadata overall. But I recently did a focus on unidentified albums, and nearly half are unidentified.
I decided I’d love to get all my albums in the Roon metadata ecosystem, so I started trying to identify them one at a time. Some Roon can find, some cannot.

So, before I take this on, any advice? tricks? I know this will take a long time, and that’s fine, but I’d like to work efficiently as possible.

Also, how about when an album cannot be identified. What’s the best way to get Roon to recognize the album?


If you have that many then you must have poor metadata in your files or non at all. What file container are your rips in , wav ? To attempt to rectify this in Roon is not ideal as it has no batch tools and will take an age. You really need to look to sort out you metadata in the files to give Roon a better chance of identifying them. Some classical compilations are difficult to identify as metadata for classical is not always very good. I would look at your files using an external metadata app and then add it using these as you can batch them. There are a number out there. Song Kong is supposed to be good and you can get a discount on it to normally a thread on it in sales section. I use mp3 tag which is free others on Mac like Yate.

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Depending on your music choice, Songkong is worth a look. It connects to Musicbrainz and discogs databases. Rock is normally well organosed, classical less so (mainly due to , as Simon says, dodgy metadata but also the amount of rehashing of back catalogue. Sk may find the track but not necessarily the right album)

SK has been tweaked recently to be more Roon friendly. The demo is fully featured but only previews the changes you will get, to write you need a license which is not too pricey 40 ukp for the pro version , then a 20% discount in the sales section as Simon noted

Worth a try

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I second SongKong. I would back up your existing files first though.

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When the CD was still popular, there were many services that solved this task well. Here would be CDDB later Gracenote or FreeDB, which were used by Exact Audio Copy (EAC), Mp3tag, foobar2000 and other programs for free.

In 2010 Gracenote proudly announced:

Gracenote, the company that operates the “Compact Disc Database” (CDDB), will in the future receive the metadata and album art of many new songs before the official release date.

These agreements have been signed with the major labels EMI, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music, as well as hundreds of smaller labels, the company announced at the MIDEM 2010 music fair in Cannes. Users can then access the data directly when the CD goes on sale.

I used that plenty, but it’s of no use to me today, neither Musicbrainz, nor others have that old metadata.

I don’t think Songkong can access it anymore either. The developer is in our community and will comment. The link is here


Free projects on old base are resting. e.g. this project: : https://github.com/Hakkin/cddb.

For almost a decade and a half Magix organized the operation of the free CD database freedb. A little over a year ago, Magix also gave up and handed the baton to self-appointed successors.


In my perception, the project is somewhat sluggishly organized and doesn’t really progress without CDs anymore. Only where the music industry directly helps, there will be fast progress. There, however, one does not want to sell and stream the old albums at all and therefore does not want to recognize them.

So old stocks of AllMusic, Discogs & Co become a goldmine, but need again free or shareware to use.


The last link shows how long developers have been at it.

The developer of MP3Tag was also working on LastFM.


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An interesting history

As far as I know SongKong actively uses MusicBrainz still

@paultaylor will no doubt comment

Hi Ben, as suggested to you by others (thanks) you can easily run SongKong over all your albums in one go. With the free version it will create a report that summarizes exactly how many songs have been identified, and you can drill down to see full details. If an album is identified by Roon then Roon will now probably be able to identify it, even if it cannot it can use the detailed metadata added by SongKong

Even if you decide against purchasing SongKong this should give you an idea of how many of your currently unidentified albums you have can be identified by Roon.

If SongKong cannot identify an album the best way to get Roon to recognise albums that are not in its database is to add them to a database that Roon uses. Roon mainly uses MusicBrainz and AllMusic, MusicBrainz is free and community moderated, this is really the best way to go. There are manual and semi automated ways to add releases to MusicBrainz, but that is a whole other topic.

Gracenote was based on freedb, and that was the catalyst for MusicBrainz to provide free alternative to Gracenote. CDDB was useful because as you say they did have contracts with records companies to add new data as CD were released, but the information was limited and full of errors.

The quality of the data in MusicBrainz is significantly better, and they cover many (but not all) of those releases, the Freedb gateway was dropped because the quality was so poor.

There is also the https://acoustid.org/ database. Acoustid mainly exists to allow audio fingerprinting of tracks that can then be looked up in MusicBrainz, however only 15M Acoustid tracks are currently linked to MusicBrainz, there are another 47M that are not. But Acoustid has its own basic metadata database containing the basic metadata of tracks as they are fingerprinted. This is analoguous to cddb and I am looking at creating a database of Acoustid albums that are not currently in MusicBrainz to improve coverage, watch this space.

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Thank you all for the great info! I will check out SongKong. It sounds like I need to run my collection through SK to fix the metadata, then re-scan with Roon, is that right?

I listen to a lot of underground and obscure music, Techno, House, Italo Disco, Instrumental Hiphop International Funk… My collection is basically 20 years of searching for and downloading interesting music. To give you an idea, here are my newest additions:

was identified in my collection, certainly because the track number 14 fit

I’ve found that Roon can identify around 85% of the recordings in a well curated and well tagged digital music library. What I’ve also found is that identified by Roon and accurate and extensive metadata are not the same thing.

Metadata is both Roon’s greatest asset and it’s Achilles Heel. Sad but unfortunately very, very true.

My current stats: 8,328 unidentified recording out of 61,317 recordings which is 13.6%. Of the identified recording I would say that less than half have “good” metadata.


Hi, yes thats right, MusicBrainz is full of obscure music but you really cant second guess what will be matched by SongKong

Is that you Uwe, front right of the photo? :smiley:

Songkong sounds better than the old Shazam tip I was going to offer.


I see it the same way. Roon is the best I have, but it only identified about 25% of my albums, artists and tracks in the first attempt. That seems low, but with 2.6 million titles, that’s also between 600,000 and 700,000 titles identified. Whereby I assume that many music tracks are available multiple times, so it is really less than half. Many samplers contain the same titles

I think my metadata is over 90% good, but everyone will have bad metadata, so it’s worth improving.

My data comes mostly from the music services themselves, but as the developer of SongKong has already correctly pointed out, they were not accurate in the past either.

Only now is the music industry realizing how important accurate metadata is in recognition and recommendation. That’s why Spotify collects data like a world champion and Roon independently builds its object orientation from existing and derived metadata. Qobuz also has a good focus on good metadata.

I think that anyone who has been collecting digitally for 30 years won’t get everything from FreeDB or Metabrainz. The databases are just still too small. Discogs, LastFM, Soundcloud, YouTube and others offer additions, but not in pure quality either. For me, Discogs is currently the leader.

With many more users and collaboration, it could become Metabrainz and who knows the goals of Roon? Everything is slowly getting better!

There is alot we could do to improve things, I have created a new thread Help requested improving the MusicBrainz/Acoustid database for one such thing

So one has to pay for Roon and then donate one’s time to add metadata to Roon via an online database, all so that Roon then can do what one is paying Roon to do. Sounds fishy to me.

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To be clear this is not a request by Roon but my myself a software developer not connected to Roon and it directly improving an open source database not commercial database.

If you are not interested that’s fine, but it is the reality of the situation that online databases used by Roon and others rely on user contributions, and honestly this is a better situation than a closed database like Gracenote whereby there is nothing you can do about the issues in the database. The fact is a company is always going to struggle to provide a database such as all recorded music without some help, just look at the size of wikipedia compared with commercial encyclopedias.


I understand the complicity of the whole metadata issue but there are still many resources available that are not currently being used by Roon. For example there are online databases of the all (or most) of the live performances by artists such as Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. And there the many quite extensive discographies of many jazz artists. Not to mention the hundreds of information text files that are in my personal digital music library. Since I’m not a programmer I don’t have the skill to parse these resources but then again that’s what I feel that I’m paying Roon to do.

As I stated earlier when Roon has robust metadata available it is truly an amazing resource but without good or any metadata Roon falls rather flat.

Hi, Im not aware of these databases, but the trouble is software development is expensive and I doubt it would be worth Roons while to write new code for a relatively small database , especially as this would not be a one off import, it would be required to pick up new additions to the the database whilst checking the releases are not already in Roons internal database, which is a fuzzy match.

If I had Roons resources I would maybe hire a couple of people to import releases into MusicBrainz, because that does not require any code changes and there are already many scripts available to import metadata from different sites into MusicBrainz


For me the most annoying thing is the absolute state of identification. The album is recognized or not. Period. And it’s very annoying because most of the time at least in my library I have a little error in song duration so the file is not recognized. I have to perform a manual check to see the variations and choose the right album. And all of my “good” music is with complete metadata.

I would like to see an icon on the albums, maybe a question mark, to show partial identification. And If I see that the album is correct to confirm.

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I think that is because the primary Roon album identification mechanism is to do a checksum based on the lengths of the songs in the album in right order, so if your songs lengths are out this algorithm won’t work. If however the songs are already clearly identified (e.g with Musicbrainz Ids) before added to Roon then Roon does not need to rely on this checksum algorithm.

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