Bye Roon, why I am not renewing my subscription


#1

After using Roon for 3 years i decided to cancel my subscription. Am sharing my experience as i think it reflects issues others may have.

I do not use Qobuz or Tidal, so only local files. I am quite demanding when it comes to the accuracy and completeness of metadata.

Roon’s model is not satisfactory to me as:

  • it relies essentially on Rovi (and to a lesser extent on MusicBrainz)
  • there is no process to correct errors or omissions other than by logging them in AllMusic, so no leverage of the large community of Roon users (no collaborative model)
  • many labels are not identified
  • what metadata exists is not sufficiently precise (for example, musician credits are not really available at track level)
  • any changes that are made manually within Roon cannot be reflected back in tags (and the export functions are limited and have bugs) so basically it entails a lot of efforts that are lost if you opt out of Roon.

Of course, some of these issues reflect the general poor state of music metadata today, which suffers from the absence of a common reference for artists, albums, etc…

Yet i just do not get the feeling that metadata management is a high enough priority for Roon.

I will continue to follow Roon’s development.

The Roon interface is nice, probably better than anything else available. As a substitute i have been developping for my perdonal use a web based interface using LMS, which integrates markdown files i manage in my music folders, with credits and notes on albums. A lot of work, but the result is exactly tailored to my needs.


(John Aiello) #2

I listen to music not metadata. Roon works for me. I hope you find what you are looking for.


#3

If you’re not using the local/streaming functionality, you really only have half a product, so probably not the service for you.


(Andrew Cox) #4

My understanding is that your description of each unsatisfactory issue is correct, so I think you are making a well informed decision.

Are you able to say what would lure you back ? Would a collaborative metadata model with user editing be of interest ?

You are right about the generally poor state of music metadata (particularly classical). Roon is currently a metadata “resupplier” rather than a metadata originator. Further, my understanding is the licence terms currently preclude users writing supplied metadata to their own files, hence the limited functionality for Export.

I wonder whether there isn’t a niche for a metadata product that permits users to contribute and write to files. The metadata providers I can find are all in the “wholesale” business and lack depth in Classical. Does anyone have any suggestions ?

Edit: I thought this was an interesting article about Classical metadata and this sounds like an interesting project.


#5

Not having this feature is pretty much the only reason I let my trial lapse without paying for a subscription. I’m now about to explore other metadata editing options before reconsidering my options.


(Rudy Taylor) #6

There is so much to like about Roon and some of the other music management and listening solutions. Whichever one I’ve chosen it’s always been about the music and the listening experience. I can’t imagine giving up the Roon experience solely because the liner notes aren’t perfect. I do however understand the importance for the classical listener. But to stop listening to what is essentially the best product available?!? Come on back and contribute to the solution.


(Ken Lesniak) #7

My 2 cents is that Roon will never live up to their rhetoric on the rich metadata experience as long they are using a 3rd party service. They need to own it. Literally. Buy one, start one, whatever. I especially dislike being told that it’s up to us to supply changes to allmusic, et.al.

Imagine taking your new car in for warranty service because of a defective part and they tell you “we buy that part from a 3rd party, you’ll have to go talk to them”.

The collaborative idea is certainly one solution, although I think that’s more appropriate in free software, not something I’m paying for.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Roon. These sort of things are definitely important to me, but not a deal breaker for me (I’d be happy to elaborate why I’m a Roonie. FWIW)


(Fernando Pereira) #8

It hits the nail on the head when it advocates moving away from exact-match database retrieval to best-effort information retrieval. Metadata will never be clean enough or complete enough (I’m professionally familiar with some of the largest industrial metadata reconciliation efforts and their challenges). But this seems anathema to fans (not me) who have invested so much in curation.


(Andrew Cox) #9

Yes, I dislike that also. Even though I understand the reasons for it, I want Roon to handle metadata errors, not leave it to us.


#10

Disagree that it’s only half a product without streaming. It really depends how large one’s collection is and which features one deems as being important. I suppose I’m saying each use case of Roon is different :slight_smile:


#11

I love these “why I’m giving up on Roon” threads.

Not because I’m pleased to see people go, or want to see Roon fail. No, I am sad to see people go, and I absolutely want Roon to succeed.

It’s because I absolutely and fundamentally want Roon to pick up the pace and address fundamental issues which have plagued it at least since I discovered it a few years ago. Namely, better metadata management, and generally more ability to tailor our own “Roons”.

With each member who leaves, and makes a big noise about it which then catalyses a whole chorus of “yeah!!! me too, I agree” then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some fixes, action, updates, whatever, from Roon in the next build.


#12

I’ll expand a little bit on some of the questions and comments in the replies to my initial post.

First of all, I do believe Roon has a use case for those who do not subscribe to streaming services. I am sure there are a lot of Roon users with large local collections who prefer buying CDs or digital files.

I am 52 years old. I have always loved music, but my musical tastes have evolved, and in the past 10 years, I have been focusing essentially on Jazz. While I spend a lot of time listening to Jazz, I also “research” Jazz: read articles, books, watch videos, etc…

There is a lot of talk about the challenges of “classical music” metadata. But Jazz also poses some specific challenges for the “music collector”:

  • leaders playing under various names/formations (Sun Ra Arkestra, Sun Ra and his Astro Solar Infinity Arkestra, etc…)
  • musicians recording both as “leaders” and contributing as sidemen(women) to numerous sessions with different “leaders”
  • numerous original albums recorded on small (now defunct) labels (and unfortunately not always available in CD format)
  • numerous reissues on specialized labels (ex: Mosaic Records)
  • a huge body of work dating from pre-LP days during which there were no “albums”

Yes, we listen to music, not metadata, but having the metadata is interesting to better understand the music: who is playing on this track ? when was it recorded ? who collaborated with who on other sessions ? is this track an original composition ? etc…

So at 52 years of age, I see myself pursuing this “hobby” for at least another 20 years (hopefully): I could “manually” fix or organize the metadata that is in Roon, but:

  • manually editing data in Roon is cumbersome
  • you cannot edit everything (ex: notes)
  • edits are only stored in the Roon database, which is proprietary, and you risk losing everything

Roon is a great product, and I do not know how it will evolve, but will continue following its progress.


(Mike) #13

Agreed. Perhaps this is a long term goal? Then Roon could provide users with a direct “submit correction” mechanism.


#14

One doesn’t need Roon to listen to music and contributions to the solution are for the most part roundly ignored. I like Roon and I’ll keep on using it, but I was an early adopter and lifetime subscriber. Had I not signed up for lifetime it’s highly likely I would have abandoned it by now, for the same reasons @anon49565150 has. As I don’t use DSP or streaming services (and both are available in LMS) there’s nothing of value that Roon gives me that I can’t get with LMS, a few LMS plugins, Squeezelite and iPeng.

Roon’s value proposition (for me) lies in the richness of its metadata model and how we as users can leverage the metadata to drive how we interact / explore our music. On delivering high quality metadata, enabling that metadata to be enriched and leveraging existing tag based metadata Roon has become an abject failure. We can’t add bios for artists, we can’t add album reviews, we can’t see all performances of a track in our collections because Roon doesn’t leverage existing metadata relationships to fill in the blanks, we can’t easily add meaningful tags across large sections of our collection, box sets remain a complete mess etc. etc.

From where I’m sitting I’ve had enough of the rhetoric that it’s important, whilst effort is expended in any other direction other than metadata.


(Patatorz) #15

Hello to the community and Roon ! Don’t you think there is space for collaborative work on metadata as it has been done for translations ?


#16

It’s been dismissed as a messy solution that’s difficult to implement and I can understand why. There’s musicbrainz and there’s discogs, there’s Tivo/Rovi, there’s Gracenote, and a whole lot more. None of them have perfect metadata. Creating yet another community driven source wouldn’t yield better results. Carefully conceived machine learning leveraging the various metadata sources may generate a much better result in a fraction of the time. But like anything, it comes at a cost.

It’s unfortunate also that Roon’s primary metadata source have poor adherence to standards and consistency and are frankly lazy and sloppy when it comes to completeness of metadata. Too many albums, old and new are simply assigned to e.g. Pop/Rock and have no composer or performer metadata at all. Artists contributing to tracks aren’t credited to the tracks and so on and so on, and very quickly the value of the metadata whole is diminished to its lowest common denominator of poor data quality.


#17

This is why the ability for the user to add their own metadata (reviews, etc) is so important and has been requested a considerable number of times.


(Chris) #18

First of all, for me Roon seems, at this time, the best local player service that I have found. I’m a looooong time LMS user, and I do not stream anything - my library is my library of Music that I have been collecting for over 30 years, ripped by me (it was a month long project, I even bought a CD ripping robot - the meta data that came out of the initial ripping was… horrible. I had to correct much of it by hand - I am STILL correcting much of it by hand).

Let me differentiate my view:

  • on a technical level, Roon is far not as robust as LMS. It is not routeable, and you can’t configure the quality of the (local) streaming to the clients like you can in LMS, so it’s currently a no go for remote listening to your collection. LMS clients on Android are bomb-proof, not so the Roon endpoints/remotes.
  • However, the interaction with the music is leaps ahead of what LMS clients provide. I was so pleased that it even looked for meta data, matched (on the classical and jazz side sadly not so well as for everything else) and then also brought in artwork, recensions, and even displayed the PDFs and further images that I have in the local folders, and sometimes it even shows lyrics, and wow, it even shows lyrics in sync with the song progression. And it makes (more or less fitting) connections to the other music you have in your library, so yes, I have been encouraged to explore my own music!

The Meta Data problem is indeed the problem. How to correct the meta data? How to add to it?

  • My way of dealing with meta data is: if I find a meta data issue, or I wish to add information, I always correct locally in the files. Always. I can not spend time messing with in-app tools that would result in losing all that information should at some point want to use a different music player.
  • The point isn’t so dramatic as: should I wish to not use Roon, it’s that I have environments that I listen to music from where Roon can’t got (Roon’s big technical problem - anywhere that is not on the LAN, and that is of course the entire rest of the world, including my car and my cell phones when not at home.) I need my meta data when I am not on the LAN, so I can’t dump meta data into Roon.

As stated in this thread, it is sad that the Roon user community – the subset that wishes to improve, expand, and really use their meta data – can not effectively do so through Roon.


(Martin Kelly) #19

I’ve posted this opinion before on another thread, but if I didn’t subscribe to any streaming services, and I just used local file storage, I wouldn’t subscribe to Roon either.
That’s not to ‘take away’ from what Roon can do, even with locally-stored music, but the integration of both local content and streaming content is Roon’s ‘killer app’ IMO.
If I was just streaming from my local NAS, I’d just use the free Lumin app to control my network streamer.


#20

Agreed. Not only that, unless in-app tools allowed one to make criteria-driven updates to metadata (and allowed you to export same in a manner that facilitates tagging the underlying files) there’s just no way I’d invest any time in updating individual tracks or albums within an app like Roon.