Album artist view

How can I view only album artists, without seeing the individual track artists, classical performers, etc.? Is there an “album artist” view somewhere I’m missing? I’ve found several threads on artist vs album artist but can’t find this anywhere.

The Artist Browser?

That shows all artists, including classical performers, orchestras, etc. I’m looking for a browse of only album artists.

The Album browser, sorted by artist, gets pretty close.

But often, classical performers and orchestras are album artists, no?

No, that’s an album view, not an artist view, so you have to,wade through all the albums - very cumbersome if you’re just looking for one album artist.

I have in my classical separate tags for orchestra, conductor, and soloists. I, as do many classical listeners, use the composer name for the album artist. So who would you consider the album artist, Neville Mariner or Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields? Roon lists them both in the artist view. But besides classical, every track artist on all my albums is listed in the artist browse, and since I can’t seem to find a simple list view on the iPad, that means having to scroll through page after page of artist images. It would be so much simpler to have an album artist view, and a list view besides the image view.

Yes, I know it’s not the same.
But that sort order is based on Album artist, the only one afaik.
And that means you can navigate fairly quickly over Album artists using the scroll bar or the keyboard.

Yes, I understand. But browsing a list of a couple hundred album artists on an iPad is a bit different than browsing a list of a couple thousand albums. An album artist view is pretty basic to most music servers and control points, and there’s a logical reason why standard metadata includes an Album Artist field.

I really didn’t start this thread to debate the merits or alternatives, I just wanted to find out if Roon has this capability and I missed it somewhere.

Hey @antonmb – thanks for the feedback and the questions.

The questions you’re asking are not uncommon, particularly among Classical listeners. I’d also mention that some of the issues you’re bumping up against here aren’t really missing features or shortcomings, but ways we’ve purposefully designed Roon to be different from other players, and more powerful for Classical.

Classical users have unique needs when it comes to organizing a music collection, and the vast majority of apps out there basically just ignore these needs. So, Classical fans have been forced to come up with their own ways of accessing the information they need, and everyone has their own slightly different system for doing this, although this is definitely a common one:

These kinds of tricks work well in most music apps because file tags are basically interchangeable – one field may be called “Composer” and one might be called “Album Artist”, but in the end these basically function the same way, and it’s all just a big spreadsheet of text.

Roon does not work this way. The Composer field has special characteristics designed for proper handling of composers, and the Album Artist field has special handling as well. All of this is designed to ensure you can find an album multiple ways – by the performers on the recording, by the composers who wrote the music, or by the “Album Artist” name on the front cover, which can often differ from the other two.

The point is, Album Artist and Composer are different in Roon, and if you’re hoping to use them interchangeably, you’re going to be fighting against the system and missing out on a lot of the power of Roon.

We’ve heard from a lot of Classical users who read over some of our documentation (especially this and this) and decided to adopt Roon’s powerful metadata model. And we’ve also heard from some Classical users who’ve been unwilling to change how they organize their music, which is fine too.

In any event, just wanted to chime in about some possible reasons why Album Artist isn’t working as you’d expect. If you’d like to give us some more details about how you’re looking to navigate your library, we may be able to recommend ways to find what you’re looking for even faster than you’re used to! And we’re always thinking about these kinds of problems and how we can improve Roon, so the more details the better.

Well, in any event, hope this info helps a little :innocent: Thanks again for the feedback @antonmb!

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The Track browser can list Album Artists and Track Artists in separate columns if you wish. Select the columns you wish to display from the drop-down menu on the right. Each column also has a filter capability. This may help?

Thank you, I appreciate the suggestion. It’s a useful view for other reasons, but just to view album artist it’s a list with 25k items to scroll through, so not very practical for that purpose.

Thanks Mike for your thoughtful reply. I have for a few years now been using Minimserver. My music is tagged with album artist and track artist (using “Various Artists” for the album artist for compilations), and for classical using Orchestra, Composer, Conductor, Chorus, Work, and Soloists. Using these tags I have a browse tree that lets me select views for any of these tags, and drill down levels. Using these standard tags I can select the composer Mozart, and then go to Conductor and see all performances conducted by Neville Marriner, or all played by Trevor Pinnock, or all performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. I’m sure it’s lack of experience on my part, but I cannot figure out how to browse in this way with Roon. While I realize all of these are available in Roon in one form or another, the fact that Album Artist, Track Artist, Soloists, Conductor, and Orchestra, are all grouped together as “artist” makes it more difficult, and in some cases impossible, to browse efficiently, from my perspective at least.

When I first started looking at Roon, what intrigued me was the ability to “swim,” and this is indeed a great benefit in popular music, but not as effective in classical. The lack of the basic distinctions between the various classical roles, and the inability to have a simple album artist view, for me at least are a challenge. Roon has many other great features, and I’ll continue to experiment and learn, and I’m hopeful that I’ll find ways to adapt, and that Roon will also become more flexible in its ability to browse by various categories.

There are ways of doing much of the above, one way or another, but fundamentally Roon is more structured and doesn’t allow you to skin the cat in 100 ways. You either go through the Artist/Album route, or the classical composer/work Route. If you are looking for performances of a work by a particular artist, it’s easy (Composer-Worklist-Work-Filter) but if you are looking to see what works an artist has performed, it’s impossible. Absolutely impossible. And I’ve been moaning about this for coming up for 4 years… (Hi @mike, I’m moody again, sorry.) There’s been a standard format in classical box sets for a quarter of a century, whereby there are three contents listings: by disc, by composer/work/performance date and by session date. In Roon we only get by disc, which is impossible to use most of the time. No-one wants to click on CD1, CD2, CD3 to see the contents of a box set with 160 discs… or even 16 discs. This is the no. 1 biggest problem for me in browsing classical (which is mostly what I do).

Agreed that more granularity from Roon would be appreciated. But clearly that would require a revision of the whole interface, as do many of the classical complaints, which I think is why it is taking Roon a long time to do anything about them…

Yes, and Opera as a whole is a good example of the issues.