Getting back to Roon's core purpose


#1

From Roonlabs.com:

The music player for music lovers
Forget everything you know about music players. Music is an experience, and Roon reconnects you with it.

The problem
In the transition from physical to digital media, something has been lost. We have more convenience than ever, but no feeling of excitement or engagement.

The solution
Roon looks at your music and finds photos, bios, reviews, lyrics, and concert dates, and makes connections between artists, composers, performers, conductors, and producers.

What you get is a searchable, surfable magazine about your music.

Roon understands your content
Music lovers have content from many sources, often acquired over years of collecting. Roon identifies your music, then enhances it with the latest metadata.

Before I say anything else, let me begin with an emphatic admission that I love what Roon has done so far, there is nothing else out there like it, Roon folk are immensely talented and a pleasure to deal with and I’m a very happy user. It’s also great to see the strides Roon has made building a state of the art player and establishing an ever increasing Roon Ready partner network comprised of notable industry participants. Its significance to Roon is obvious.

But, I could be happier…music is indeed an experience…

If Roon seeks to reconnect me with that experience and create excitement and engagement through a searchable, surfable magazine about my music, it’s time for the music and those that create it to enjoy some attention. As a music lover, I have an insatiable appetite for information about the artists and albums I enjoy. I want to know what went into making an album, where it was made, who influenced it, I want to know the significance of a song to the artist, I want to know … but I can’t, not via Roon, unless it’s in my liner notes.

Some features that will (for me) start to deliver on the purpose:

  • add additional metadata sources for information about artists, albums and songs. Leverage available online data sources where not already done and automate the process where possible. Songfacts, Wikipedia etc. come to mind
  • allow me to add lyrics, biographies, album reviews, song reviews/ notes … please find a way, even if it means importing data from user generated text files or clipboard … and please give it some priority
  • make all of the above searchable
  • respect the discsubtitle tag so box sets comprised of multiple albums don’t become an amorphous mass
  • Improve radio capability and give me some control over how it selects tracks. Why should it be a black box and why should I listen to the same artist(s) over and over
  • when browsing or playing an album show me a list of similar albums in my collection
  • When playing a song give me some pertinent information about it when available e.g. if playing Derek and the Dominos’ version of Little Wing, give me the option of seeing the Lyrics and info about the song e.g.:

Eric Clapton adaptation[edit]
English guitarist and singer Eric Clapton has performed “Little Wing” throughout his career, beginning in 1970 with Derek and the Dominos.[49] He explained in an interview:

I found that his lyricism when he was writing ballads, like “Wind Cries Mary” or “Little Wing,” was so different, in a way, that it was powerfully attractive to me. [It was] much more structured than some of his other things, and more melodic, too. [“Little Wing”] stands up so well that anyone could do it.[50]

Derek and the Dominos performed the song in London at the Marquee Club ten days after their live debut at the Lyceum on June 14, 1970.[51] With Duane Allman on second guitar, the group recorded “Little Wing” at Criteria Studios in Miami, during the sessions for Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs shortly before Hendrix’s death on September 18, 1970. [52] Clapton biographer Michael Schumacher notes, “Clapton had intended it as a tribute to a living legend, but now that Hendrix was gone, the song hit on a different emotional level.”[53]

Atco Records issued the song on a single as the B-side to “Bell Bottom Blues”[49] and included it on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.[52] Critics’ comments on Derek and the Dominos’ rendition range from “exquisitely arranged” (Rolling Stone)[54] to “bombastic”(Legends of Rock Guitar).[55] The group performed the song during their tour and a recording from the Fillmore East in New York City on October 23, 1970, was released on the Live at the Fillmore album in 1994.

After the break up of Derek and the Dominos, Clapton continued to perform “Little Wing”.[49] Live recordings appear on Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert (1973), Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies (1974, released 1996), Eric Clapton & Friends in Concert (DVD with Sheryl Crow 1999), Live in San Diego (2007, released 2016), Live from Madison Square Garden (with Steve Winwood 2008, released 2009).[56]

Adding features such as those listed above would in my view make a huge contribution to reconnecting me to the music and creating an engrossing and immersive experience. What say others?


Why I VERY nearly didn't Renew my Membership
Why aren't all your friends using Roon?
(John B) #2

Good post Evand and I totally agree. The focus seems to have moved to the technical arena and away from the metadata /experience arena.

I dispair slightly when I see things like Alexa control being worked on before improving the radio algorithm or increasing metadata sources or finding a way that the original album art and notes are available as in the picture on the Roon website.

As always with the caveat that I love Roon and it has had a huge positive influence on my music enjoyment but apart from compositions there has not been much change to the experience from the metadata/ information perspective in a year and a half.

I suppose Roon are so far ahead of the posse that they feel they need to concentrate on the aspects that will get them most new customers (Devialet being a good example) but yes I would like a little more action on the information/linking/bios area.

.sjb


(John Walker) #3

Interesting how different people have different interests :wink:

I pretty much totally ignore the artist bios, essays about albums, etc., and only use Roon as a music player. Where it really shines for me is the technical features; e.g., easy routing to multiple endpoints, DSP, TIDAL integration, etc.

If they never made another change to the “experience”, I’d be perfectly happy once we get MQA and ISO :slight_smile:


#4

Then jriver would suit you to a T.


(John Walker) #5

I use it, too :wink:


#6

I totally agree. I was happy to see a new big update and was disappointed after reading the release notes and realizing that the update focuses on special interest stuff like deviajet and mqa. In my opinion uodate on radio is overdue and would have been a benefit for most users and not only a small group.


(John Walker) #7

. . . whereas the first thing I do when adding a new endpoint is to turn off “radio”. LOL


(Mark Edwards) #8

I completely agree with @evand’s post but I think we have to be extremely patient. I believe that there is a huge long list of functionality that Roon want to implement but they only have so much time and so few staff.
Roonlabs are still a very young company and relatively speaking the software is still in its infancy even though most of the team came from Sooloos. My apologies if I am speaking on behalf of people I don’t know :grinning:.

I would like to see everything that Evan asks for and I think that we will in time, I personally would like to see user interface improvements first and I believe that Roon are now working on this to bring all the app’s in line (please add vertical scrolling as an option, I’m not a fan of the horizontal paging as it feels dated and unintuitive).

Seeing liner notes, full screen with-in the app with smooth scrolling would be fantastic and along with the other items Evan mentions would be mind boggling compared to opening a LP or CD booklet.


(Nick Baker) #9

With 2 Devialet’s in 2 different locations it’s not really a specialist upgrade to me :wink: And without knowing the amount of time and resources used for this there is no way to decide how much it ‘cost’ It may have been there all the time and needed the end of a NDA with Devialet to cause it to be switched on.


(mike trogni) #10

I like evan’s point of view, I agree with it. Roon’s deep integration with metadata is enjoyable to learn more about the music and the information surrounding it. I would like to see the ability to add ‘info.txt’ information in plain text or RTF that describes recording information, players, background, lineage in a free form format for ROIO’s (Recordings of independent origin) . Also, live albums or albums that had a live album and a studio album need more information (like Cream’s Wheels of Fire for example).


#11

No, jriver is not an alternative. It does most of the player functions, but there is nothing like RAAT in jriver. And the new Devialet integration is just fabulous! I started using Roon when the DSP was included even if I have followed Roon since it started. Roon’s DSP is even better than the one in jriver. I do not mind the bios and other stuff, but I would prefer to turn off display for all of it. Rating, Favorite, Focus and the social media stuff is just an annoyance to me. I am all with jhwalker here. I do not use Radio and I’ve turned off gain analysis.
I do think that deep information on music is important. I use it some times, but unused features take up too much display real estate so, for me, it would make sense to hide it


(Chris ) #12

I like the original post and would love this also. The problem, as I see it is that all the work has to be done and priority decisions have to be made. Whatever ROON chose will be unimportant to a section of users and so they can’t win here.
I don’t think for a moment they have lost sight of the ultimate vision and it will all be a part of the evolution of ROON. Should they forget I am sure the community will remind them lol.


(Steve) #13

Goes to show how different all our needs are. I’d happily have everything you list @evand , but wouldn’t really want/use any of it particularly - apart from the above which I really feel is a huge omission at the moment. ‘Focus on similar’ is ‘that button’ I guess, but is utterly useless as implemented, and just shows about half my library. While I use the various Roon tools to discover similar bands etc, it’s all very indirect - a true ‘find similar’ on albums would be hugely beneficial, probably what I’d use most of the time if it was intelligent enough. For me it needs to include stuff not in my library too, and I think it would have to chew up and make sense of a lot of data sources (assuming no one provides this service already). Perfect task for team Roon… so definitely giving that one the tick.

Whereas there have been lots of technical additions lately, I feel lots of those things were actually already missing rather than being superfluous additions. But of course Roon went the extra mile and made them great when finally including them.

It’s unlikely every feature Roon adds will be of use to everyone, so it will always seem like they’re working on things for ‘other people’. I can remember the announcement that the next big release would concentrate on metadata and classical and I shrugged a huge sigh of disappointment - no interest to me whatsoever - so a longer wait for new stuff I like (personally I’d like to disable all classical features I hate the different way it displays what I consider non-classical tracks on CDs as classical). But I can see it’s a key feature for some so it’s all fair. I too shrug at Alexa but I’m sure it will change some people’s lives - and there are a huge number of users that might come via Alexa hardware.

Personally, I would sacrifice metadata for more social things (a much more advanced ‘what are you listening to now’), Ui improvements, more ‘intelligence’ in finding new music, more services, mobile Roon, etc etc.

I’ve been spoiled with Devialet integration too I suppose, but these things bring new customers and generate more PR so it has to be done and hopefully they’ll crack more brands. More brands, more features, more customers, more money for Roon, all equal company expansion and more developer resources for other features.

Having used the BBC iPlayer radio app lately, I think it has some aspects of a really fresh, visual design. Full screen graphics with text overlays and in some areas seems quite a bit more modern than Roon now in the visual sense of the ‘magazine’ that’s mentioned. Roons UI is great, but why stop there - I think it can be even better.

Would much rather that than more metadata. But if Roon stay on track and keep evolving with the times, we’ll probably all get what we want in the end, just not quickly…


(Jeff) #14

The Devialet worked with roon before, besides the Linux support it’s more of a nice to have not a huge new customer draw.

The ability to sync content to remote devices for playback would bring a a lot more users as portable devices are the most used playback devices in the world.

Other than the above which is huge in my opinion, metadata improvements would be great. I agree with Evan on this.


#15

I too would love to see Roon heading in a more content orietated direction. The focus on this forum seems way too much about the technical side of it. I would like to see a form of intelligent recommendation system for Tidal content. Include Tidal content in the “focus on similar” function. Include a form of smart radio wich learns my listening habbits. (The reason I still have a Deezer account besides Tidal) That’s the future and that’s the part where concurrence is going to be ahead of Roon pretty soon if they don’t keep up.


(David Orgel) #16

I’m not a huge fan of “the social,” but I’ve taken to using the “what are you listening to now” thread as a significant component of my music-discovery approach. It would be great if I could search for recommendations from Roon users I’ve come to identify as having similar tastes to mine, or by genre, or by composer, etc.

(This is, of course, in addition to @evand’s original points, which I think get to the heart of things.)


(Chris ) #17

Luckily I don’t think we will have to sacrifice anything in the fullness of time. Development just takes time.


(John Walker) #18

FWIW, I’ve never understood the “recommend something for me” model, even less “radio”. I know what I want to listen to, I don’t need or want someone else to tell me. LOL.

Again, just shows what is “vital” to some is utterly useless (even abhorrent) to others. Would love to have the ability to completely turn off some of these features!


(Nick Baker) #19

I think this just proves that whatever they do, some will like it and some won’t. Not sure who missed out because of this though.


#20

And how do you find new music? In my opinion a good recommentation system based on the music you heard in the past is a great potential to discover new music.