Easy genius playlists

One feature that I really like in iTunes, even if it never worked as well as it should have, was Genius playlists. Roon’s granular control is very good and allows me to slice & dice pretty well, but my impatience (& my ADD) would be better served by a version that worked with less conscious input from me.

I’m going to demonstrate what I have in mind with a “key track,” which is Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere [henceforth AAA], by David Bowie. If I play that song and then immediately play radio, I get other seventies-era classic rock, which makes sense.

The behavior I’d like to see, though (and I’ll try not to get hung up on the UI, just trying to be clear):

I’d like to have a little area on my screen (which could be disabled in prefs, of course, for users who didn’t want it), and I’d like to drag AAA into that area. Then I’d like to drag other tracks into the area alongside it and press a little blue button.

If I drag in AAA, “No quarter” by Led Zeppelin, “Money” by Pink Floyd and “Evening blue” by Traffic, Roon generates a 50-song track list that consists of songs released by English pop musicians in 1973.

If I drag in AAA, “Suffragette City” “Fashion” and “Kooks,” Roon generates a 50-song track list of recordings by David Bowie.

If I drag in AAA, “Won’t get fooled again” by Van Halen, “Pinball wizard” by Rod Stewart and “Drowned” by Phish, Roon generates a 50-song track list of songs written by Pete Townshend (or originally performed by The Who) being covered by other artists.

if I drag in AAA and cuts from T. Rex, Roxy Music & Sweet, Roon picks up the ‘Glam rock’ tag and assembles a playlist drawing on it.

And finally, if I drag in AAA, “Fight the power” by Public Enemy, a cut by Bix Beiderbecke and one by Penguin Cafe ORchestra, then Roon deciphers that I’m just feeling schizophrenic and would like a nutty playlist from all across my library. Maybe it limits itself to recording released after my earliest and before my latest, or recordings whose timings mirror those that I dragged in.

Maybe there’d be a “word cloud” component where I could see the metatextual web Roon is drawing so I could cut some lines and draw some other ones, or drag in artists or genres that I think belong.

Mostly, though, I’d like it to be simple and have a graphic component so I can drag and drop without thinking very hard.


iTunes Genius playlists are second only to Roon in helping me appreciate my music collection. In iTunes when I selected a track and hit the Genius button, it was like having a cool friend come over and play my records, selecting songs and tunes that I wouldn’t have picked myself but that I liked AND he didn’t eat all my Doritos. I can distinctly remember dozens of instances when I would go over to the iTunes display just the find out the name of the song/artist that was playing - and it was my collection!

I miss Genius playlists. Something similar in Roon would be awesome. Even if it took awhile to develop.

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Pick one song to play then click the View Queue button and then turn on the Roon Radio on the right. Roon will continue to play similar music just as iTunes Genius.

While I often listen to Roon Radio, the experience isn’t the same as with Genius. Genius had a way of revealing my library. Genuis could make a 25, 50, or 100 song playlist and saving it was easy.

I am optimistic Ron Radio will improve and my fondness for iTunes will fade.

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I’m specifically looking for a version of genius that will be based on the DNA of two or more tracks by comparing them and finding their common threads.


I’d vote for this also. It’s the fact that Genius it’s limited to your collection so nothing new or random, and that it finds music with a similar vibe across it.


yes, features like this would be highly apreciated, overall a more intelligent behaviour would be nice. Even better if it would include Tidal tracks that you haven’t added to your library, including a like/dislike button and learning function.

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(did you know posts must be at least 10 characters?)

I’d like an “include stuff outside my collection” option so I can limit it to my albums, XOR get some new music suggestions.

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Genius was my favorite thing about iTunes/iPod. It really seemed to “know” music, somehow. I expected Roon Radio to operate at that level but as we know, it doesn’t.

I’m encouraged that the team is working on it. I hope that their algorithms incorporate some kind of intelligence beyond randomly playing music that is similar by tag and era.

I don’t know what Apple did, but if something like that could be incorporated into Roon, combined with Roon’s metadata, the result would be incredible.