Album sorting by Artist is inconsistant

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)
Roon Nucleus
Version 1.7 (build 610) stable
77% of 55 GB available.

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

Wired via ethernet to network
Music files on Synology DS416play on same wired network

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Nucleus connects to Primare Pre60 via USB cable

Description Of Issue
Sorting Albums by Artist gives inconsistent and unexpected results
Name for Artist sorting - Last Name
Name for Composers sorting - Last Name

My metadata has the composer name as the Album Artist and I have ensured that the ‘Artist’ sort name is correct (eg Bach, Johann Sebastian)

Primary artist is set as the primary conductor or soloist which is (thankfully) ignored for sorting.

When I sort my albums by Artist all my (Johann Sebastian) Bach albums are under J (for Johann) and so I would expect Billy Joel to be under B (for Billy) accordingly, but it is actually under J (for Joel). This applies to all my classical Albums (eg see illustration for Joaquin Rodrigo)

It appears that any CD which is deemed as classical is sorted by Album artist name rather than sort name and non classical is by sort name.

Per album, the editing seems consistent:

What do I need to change to ensure that Albums are sorted consistently by Album Artist sort name ?

What is happening is that Roon takes Album Artist as a simple text field, and only if it agrees with the Primary Artist of the album is it considered otherwise.

Thus your “Johann Sebastian Bach” is just a string which starts with a J. However “Billy Joel” agrees with the primary artist Billy Joel, and is thus recognised as an artist object and so will be sorted by last name.

The Last-first Sort Name field is used for internally sorting primary artists (not those album artist text fields) if you want something specific for an artist for whom the final word in the name may not be the appropriate one to sort with. It has no effect on the displayed name.

In order to achieve what you want, you would need to add JSB as a primary artist, then the album artist text field would be recognised as an artist object.

(BTW, I have gone to some lengths to not have composers as album artists, but that’s just me)

Thanks Brian

If I understand you correctly, then Album artist should also be listed as a Primary artist as Roon uses Primary artist for album sorting. If there are more than one primary artists then Roon will use the primary Artist which is also the Album Artist.
Is there a method by which I can do bulk edits of these fields from an external database. I have all my album metadata in a complex Filemaker database with a structure not unlike Roon. (albums, compositions, tracks, composers, performers)

Not quite. I’ve had some fun understanding the nuances of this…

In album browser Roon sorts on the Album Artist field. But how does it interpret that field?

Firstly, if, in that field, Roon can match a primary artist from those listed for that album, it will do so. This may happen for more than one artist. Having done so, if you have a primary artist at the beginning of that string, then the artist sorting by name rule comes into play and the artist’s last name is used.

Perhaps an example may help…

I have edited the album artist string to match the Primary artist links in the order I want. The album is sorted under W.

If I switch the order to Claudio Abbado/ Wiener Philharmoniker the album is sorted under A. Why? Because Claudio is recognised as an artist object and will be sorted according to the Last-First Sort Name field, which is “Abbado, Claudio”

Now suppose I wanted Brahms in there instead in the album artist field - “Johannes Brahms/Wiener Philharmoniker”.
Roon sees this as

and is sorted under J. Note I had not added Brahms as a primary artist for this album. Thus the first artist in that field, Brahms, has not been recognised as an artist object and so the whole field is simply taken as text, even though Wiener Philharmoniker is recognised.

Clear as mud? Logical when you understand the rules Roon is using. I wanted to elucidate in some detail so when you do the bulk editing, you achieve what you want.

I invite others with better knowledge than I of bulk editing in metadata editors to comment here.

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@BrianW has already given you lots of useful information, but I just wanted to comment on this:

Unless your composer is actually performing the work on the album in question, putting composers’ names into the Album Artist field is not a good idea. Roon has the Composer Browser for dealing with composers, and distinguishes between Composers and Performers (i.e. Artists).

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Thanks Guys for your replies. I think I have it covered.

Looked at the option of using composer browser but that is a bit clunky if I want to select the entire album that the selected composition is on.

I will experiment with using Roon’s Album Title in lieu of my own.


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