I fixed the credits for my entire collection and have suggestions!

I’ve been using Roon for several years now and really appreciate the way it ties my music collection together through genres, credits, etc. In an attempt to improve its functionality, I spent an exhaustingly long time completing and correcting the credits for every single track in my library (about 36,000 tracks). I realize not everyone is going to do the same, but I learned some things along the way and have some suggestions for minor improvements in Roon that would make the metadata editing and viewing processes easier. I thought I would list them all together here (I’m sure some of these have already been brought up by other Roon users).

The main thing I learned is that Roon’s metadata is wrong…a lot. I know Roon is probably innocent here as it gets its metadata from external sources, but I’d estimate that over 3/4 of my collection had one or more of the following metadata issues:

  1. Incorrect credits, where performers who did not actually perform on that track were credited; or a performer with the same name was incorrectly credited; or a performer was credited as playing an instrument they did not actually play.

  2. Missing credits, where some performers are listed but others aren’t.

  3. Superfluous credits, where performers are given many unnecessary credits (e.g. “bass guitar”, “guitar (bass)”, “bass instrument”, “musician”, AND “performer”).

  4. Useless credits, where on a compilation eight different drummers are listed for the album but there’s no way of knowing which drummer played on which track.

I realize there are likely no real fixes to these issues, but as users we should be aware that we cannot necessarily rely on the metadata shown as accurate. These issues also adversely affect how well the Discover feature can do its job.

Suggestions for editing improvements:

  • Ability to copy and paste credits: Quite a few times, I entered a bunch of credit information for a track only to realize that a few tracks later there was another track or tracks that had the same credits. Or I had several compilation albums that included some of the same tracks. It would be extremely helpful to be able to copy the credits, recording location, and performance date of a track and paste all at once to another track. I mean, EXTREMELY helpful.

  • Ability to copy and paste a performer name, or track or album title: Quite often I had a track that came from iTunes with a title like “Watcha Gonna Do When Your Baby Leaves You (Chuck Willis).” However, after assigning Chuck Willis as the Primary Artist for that track, I’d prefer the track to not include his name and just be "Watcha Gonna Do When Your Baby Leaves You.” It would be nice if I didn’t have to retype the whole thing but instead could select and copy the part of the track name I wanted to keep. Same thing if I want to change an artist from “Henry ‘Red’ Allen” to “Red Allen” or alter an album title.

  • When in the Track Editor -> Edit Track window, the tab button on my keyboard should always move the cursor to next field. Simple but obvious.

  • In the Artist Editor, as soon as you start editing a name the current name shown below “Name” disappears. This makes it difficult if you’re entering a new name that’s a variation of an existing long or complicated name since you can no longer see the existing name as reference.

  • Merging artists often messes up the “aka”: If a performer is listed twice, once as “Performer A (aka Performer B)” and once as “Performer B (aka Performer A)”, merging those artists will often cause the performer to display as “Performer A (aka Performer A).”

  • Ability to add custom roles: There are a lot of roles available in Roon, but I sometimes wanted to use a role that wasn’t available, either an unusual instrument that isn’t in the database, or a variation of an instrument or role that is in the database.

  • Ability to designate performer as “possible”: Many discographies lists performers as “possibly” playing on a track. It would be nice to have a check box, notes field, or other way to designate that it’s not clear if the performer is actually playing on that track.

  • Ability to include “or”: Similarly, I came across many tracks where an instrument should be credited to one performer “or” another. Currently, you have to choose to randomly credit one of them, credit both of them, or credit neither of them. I’d like to see a way to show this.

  • When adding a brand new artist and role to an album or track, that artist is not actually added to the database until you’re completely done editing and click out of the edit window. However, I often had to add a new artist who played multiple instruments, so for each instrument I had to go through the whole add new artists process - paste in artist name, click on create artist, then click on the confirmation button - for each instrument. Ideally, I would only need to do that for the first instrument and Roon would recognize that artist if I had to add them again with a second, third, or fourth instrument.

  • Reidentifying an album should have the option to keep user generated credits, Roon credits, or both: I had quite a few albums that 1) were not identifiable when I originally added them, 2) I had added credits for, and 3) were now identifiable. I would like to be able to re-identify these albums so that I can see album reviews, descriptions, new artwork, etc. but not lose the credits I already entered. Currently, I believe that re-identifying an album overwrites any user entered data.

Suggestions for display improvements

  • Show both album and track credits in the “View Credits…” window: For many albums it’s common to show album credits for the main performers and to show specific additional credits on individual tracks. When in the “View Credits…” window for a track it would be useful if it did not just show the one or two additional performers on that track but also showed the overall album credits. This could be listed at the end of the track credits beneath an “Album Credits” header. Currently you have to look in two separate places to see all the credits on albums like this, and you have to remember the info from each place while looking at the other.

  • When you click on a track that is playing, and the big window that shows the lyrics, artist photo, album photo, etc. is showing, the option to view credits is only there for tracks with credits supplied by Roon. It is not displayed if the only credits for a track are user generated. It should be there if there are any credits at all. Additionally, it would be nice if that Track Info display also showed album credits as in the above suggestion.

  • Better use of the Album Credits page: The main Album Credits page combines all album and track credits into one list. It would be useful if you could easily see which credits were album credits and which were track credits. One way of indicating which credits were track credits would be to show the number of tracks that those performers played on after the credit. For example:
    Bass. . .Track Performer A (3 tracks)
    . . .Track Performer B (8 tracks)
    Drums. . .Album Performer
    Piano. . .Album Performer
    A very useful added bonus would be the ability to click on the track performer credit to go to the tracks that contained that credit, either highlighted on the Album Tracks page or on the track search results page. Quite a few times, I needed to change the credit role of a performer role that only existed existed on some tracks (e.g. I wanted to change “vocals” to “vocals (background)”), but there is no way of seeing which tracks that role exists in, and I had to look through each track one at a time.

  • Search Results windows that show tracks should include “View Credits…” under the 3-dot option button.

One other suggestion

  • Ability to export user entered info: I spent a long time entering all this data and in the event Roon ever goes out of business or I switch to a different product I would like to have this info as an XML or similar document. Of course, I understand that Roon probably cannot allow users to export its own metadata that it licenses from external sources, but I should be able to export the info I entered.

Thanks, Roon, for making such a great product. I hope you’ll consider these suggestions for a future release.


Great post, thanks for the feedback.

Here are a few more…

Display Improvements

  • If a track has two primary artists, and one of them is also the album’s primary artist, Roon displays “Also performed by Additional Artist Name.” However, if you add a recording location or date to the track the word “Also” no longer appears, and Roon displays “Performed Date and Location by Additional Artist Name.” This makes it look like the additional performer is the only primary artist on that track. I’m not sure why the word “Also” goes away, but it would be more accurate if it didn’t.
  • Ability to group credits by performer instead of by instrument: Many albums have performers who play many instruments, and it makes the credits page unnecessarily confusing to see the same performer listed numerous times, especially since most of the time those multiple listings are nonadjacent.
  • I would like to be able to get more specific in my searches, so that I could search for:
    • Tracks that contain multiple specific artists (e.g. Artist A AND Artist B).
    • Tracks that contain an artist playing a specific instrument (e.g. tracks where Artist A plays Instrument A).
  • Ability to browse through all performers: It would be nice to be able to browse through all performers, and not only be able to access them through targeted searches or going through an album’s credits. Currently, you can only browse through primary artists.*
  • Roon only displays the primary artist for an individual track if that artist is not listed as a primary artist for the album as a whole. That makes sense if all the tracks on an album have the same primary artist, but not if there are different primary artists for different tracks. Say for example that tracks 1-6 are performed by Primary Artist A, and tracks 7-12 are performed by Primary Artist B. I would like to credit the entire album to “Primary Artist A / Primary Artist B”, tracks 1-6 to “Primary Artist A”, and tracks 7-12 to "Primary Artist B.” But if I do that Roon does not show the primary artists below the track titles and I cannot tell which tracks are performed by which artist when looking at the tracks list. Only if I do not indicate any primary artists for the album (so, do not credit the album to “Primary Artist A / Primary Artist B”) will the primary artist for each track be listed below the track titles. It would make more sense to always list the track primary artist below the track title anytime a track contained a primary artist credit AND the tracks did not all contain the same primary artist.

I suppose the answer to this is to tag the actual music files instead of just updating Roon’s database, and then make Roon better at using those tags.

Hmmm, wouldn’t help with streaming tracks, though.

Well, in that case entering the data at musicbrainz might yield some result. And it’s not more cumbersome than doing it inside the Roon app… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

That’s good practice and I do start import of any files through iTunes, writing ID3 data - artist, year, artwork, genre, etc. - directly to the files themselves. But other track data such as instrumentation, performers, recording location, recording date (at least the month and day part), etc. are not storable in the file header. If Roon could export a standard XML file with all the manually entered data, it’s likely there would be a way to import that data into a different system at a later time.

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