Importing music files without metadata

I have numerous music files that have no album, artist, nor title metadata, just a file name.

To organise them into folders and give them metadata I’m forced to used iTunes?

This is my tedious workflow:

  1. Open new file in iTunes
  2. Edit album, artist, title metadata
  3. That automatically creates the artist/album folder structure
  4. Open Roon
  5. Open Settings > Storage > Force rescan iTunes folder
  6. Search library for track name
  7. Add my tags

Surely importing new music can be made way easier?

Dropping files onto Roon does copy them into the Roon folder, but does not organise them by album/artist like iTunes does so gracefully. Can this please be a feature? Even better, if no metadata is found when dropping, ask for it??

We all pay good money for using Roon. Surely importing and organising new music should be a basic commodity?

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I don’t quite understand. I have used Roon since the beginning, and I have never used iTunes.

My workflow:

  1. I have the files in some folder structure, whatever it is. I certainly don’t have files in just a big pile. Most sources create artist/album, some just make a folder with some random name.
  2. I copy that folder into Roon’s music folder.
  3. Most of the time, Roon recognizes the album automatically. And then I’m done, I don’t care about the folder structure.
  4. How much success there is with automatic recognition depends on the genre, and the age, and whether it is commercial stuff, or private, or bootleg, or niche artists. Note that the folder structure is not necessary for recognition: I have occasionally messed up and put multiple albums in the same folder and they are recognized anyway. I’m lucky, I get 99.9% recognition. I know many get much less.
  5. For the unrecognized albums, I edit the metadata in Roon. But again, I don’t care about the folder structure.
  6. This approach makes sense if the majority is recognized, because I don’t waste time futzing with metadata or folder structure when it is not necessary.
  7. And when necessary to fix it, I do it Roon instead of the operating system or external tools. That’s my preference.

The point is, what is the objective? To me, the objective is to get the music playable in Roon. It sounds as if that is your objective as well. In that case, the folder structure is not essential.

Thanks Anders for your response.

You’re right, the metadata is all that Roon cares about. Which is precisely what many files are missing…

To avoid Roon classifying all those imports as “unknown album - unknown artist”. I feel forced to first use iTunes because in Roon one cannot simply right click on a track and edit the artist and album. On first has to group tracks, make album, then the artist. It’s quite involved, rather than in one place.

As for the importance of file structure. I have managed and grown my music collection for over 17 years now. The bigger that collection got, the more necessary it become to add folder structure for selective syncing to Dropbox. My entire collection would not fit on my computer.

Moreover, the software has changed many times (Winamp, iTunes, Roon, …) but the files have always been consistent and will outlive the next Roon.

I guess I expect a lot from a music app for which we pay so much subscription.

Organising music should be basic feature. No?

You just have to put basic data in the fields or you have, as an analogy, a library of books with no covers stored on shelves so you don’t need covers. Only you know your system.
Have I misunderstood?
Any ripping program will put data in music files in most cases. I realise this is not perfect for all genres.
If it’s not there, you just add at least basic identifying data. I do this for unreleased private material.
I use DB power amp to Rip and if I add data to unidentified albums I sent it to the free data base for others. This is one extra click.

You are not alone in spending time cataloging your collection, we all have to do this when ripping. I wouldn’t want to do it again, that’s for sure. Back up your music and database everyone.

I just cannot see what Roon can do without data in a form it can understand.

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Hello Chris,

You’re right, cataloguing will take time. But surely with such a repetitive task, isn’t that exactly where software can help us smoothen the process?

What about this as a feature?

  1. On import, if the album, artist or title of a file is unknown, then offer the user the option to enter those meta tags before throwing them into the pile of “unknown artist - unknown album” where it’s harder to catalogue them.

That’s what I do when I RIP CD’s in DB power amp. No Data? I add the basics, Artist, Album Name, track names, Dates and Image. This is an ongoing task as I Rip. Mostly I don’t have to add anything.

On import you will be able to see if Roon identifys it, one at a time in the overview page.

I can see you may have a problem if Roon looks at the whole library and plenty are completely unknown or miss identified.
Not sure I have an answer here. Personaly, I have just done the legwork.

Good luck.

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First, I will just note that I’ve posted feature requests and felt frustrated when another user chimes in and says “that is not what you really want.”

But in this case “that is not what you really want.” Here is why: Roon doesn’t write file embedded metadata into your files. I believe it will upon an export, but that is making a copy of your collection. But as a general matter, if, within Roon, you assign a track title, album name, or artist name to an object, Roon will store that information in its database relative to the file but it will not add that metadata INTO the file.

This means that if you ever use that file with any other media player, the work you’ve done in Roon won’t have helped that second media player identify anything.

My suggestion: I assume that you can identify this music because of either the folder name, or the filename, or maybe a combination of both. There are quite a few media organizing tools, many free, that you can configure to extract track, artist, album, and other information from the filename and foldername convention you use. It will embed that as metatag information in a batch process.

I would suggest you do that before you even try to import into Roon. Get the basic data in their first. Then Roon should have at least a 75%-90% success rate in identifying from there.

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Thanks James.

I was not aware that editing an artist or track name in Roon does not change the file metadata…

That bolsters the idea of, like you said:

  1. first use software to add metadata,
  2. add folder structure and only then
  3. use them in Roon.

That brings me back to using iTunes first.

This may be a reason why I cannot continue with Roon. This paradigm of “That beautiful music library you made there with tags, ratings, complete metadata, you can only use that within our app, never outside” is not quite future proof. I’ve kept my music collection for over 17 years now and need it to last another 50.

What is this export function you speak of?

@Brian said it well: I don’t expect ever to use a music system that is less capable than Roon at metadata based play.

Agreed. Hands down, Roon is currently the savviest of all music apps out there. Hence why we love it.

Though if I want my music collection to last another 50 years, the files themselves need complete metadata, not the Roon database.

It’s described here.

mp3tag is particularly good at this.

ive used the mp3tag but cant use the discogs which asks for id which ive tried to look on the forums of discogs without luck,a few years back i didnt need to input id,any suggestions how to get the discogs working in mp3tag?

sorry, i don’t use the discogs function of mp3tag.

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