Is Roon good for use at a college radio station?

I was wondering if Roon might be the solution to our music library issues at the college radio station I work at. We’ve recently imported over 70,000 CDs (over 800,00 tracks) using iTunes for the importing, but obviously we’re not going to use iTunes to access something this size. Can Roon handle this?

Also, assuming we can set this up for use in a couple of studios, we’re curious if there’s a way to make sure users can’t change or delete music but still have the ability to add notes, such as indicating tracks that are/aren’t suitable for airplay.

Finally, I noticed in one of the sections that special characters (like # or $) will cause problems. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of bands who apparently thought using those characters (and more) in their titles (and even band names) was a cool idea. I have no clue how I can go through nearly a million titles to ensure none will have this problem. Is there a workaround? We currently have the entire library on a Windows drive which seems to have no issues with weird characters in folder or file names. We also have a good amount of foreign characters as well.

It would be great if Roon were the answer to our quest as it seems to work really well with the samples we’ve used so far. Any advice would be most appreciated.

TL;DR : yup, looks like it, but it’s going to require a standalone, carefully designed box (or boxes).

@brian (RoonLabs’ CTO) chimed in on this here. @Jeffrey_Moore, who makes a similar use of Roon to what you’re describing, had an exchange with him further down in that thread.

Users without deletion privileges has been a request for some time (“let my guests pick music, not delete albums” typastuff). Custom tagging already exists, sorta - you could add a “don’t air” artist, for example, and then sort by everything BUT “don’t air”. You could also make the tracks you don’t want aired invisible in roon (“hide track”), but given that “unhide tracks” is directly underneath that, you might want something that’s a bit more resilient to user error assuming “multi user” won’t be in the next update (and I’m sure people smarter than myself would have better ideas than those two).

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If the music is stored on a read only share then you should be ok with users not being able to delete music…but this might still be an issue in the library details.

This KB page sets out the special characters and blacklisted names that can cause problems on Import. Problems arise when files or folders include such characters or have such names. The characters and names can be used in file tags without creating difficulty on import and will be displayed by Roon if found in file tags.

This is what I would do by way of general approach as a workaround (use at own risk):

  1. Make (or check) a backup onto separate media, so you can revert to a known good version if problems arise.

  2. Find someone with experience of the Windows cmd (command line interpreter). This isn’t a project for a beginner.

  3. Write a batch file that can identify problematic files and folders.

  4. Backup those files and folders. Yes I’m deeply paranoid about backups. You can never be too handsome, too rich or have too many backups.

  5. Check that the subject files have proper file tags for Album, Track and Artist names. If checking would be overly tedious, you could write a command in mp3tag or a similar tag editor which wrote file/folder names to the appropriate file tags. Because you have the backup(s) you can always revert if problems arise.

  6. Develop “house rules” for each problematic character or blacklisted name. This might be as simple as stripping out that character or name or substituting a permitted placeholder. Usually the simpler the better, depending on the requirements of other software etc. Remember that you are not changing Album, Track or Artist names here (they are all now properly stored in file tags), just the system folder/file names.

  7. Implement the house rules in the batch file. Eventually you will want to also implement the house rules into your ripping/music import procedures.

  8. Test it on a subset of the identified files/folders. Check that the resulting output doesn’t cause issues for other software etc.

  9. Check that some idiot hasn’t written over or deleted your backups. Offer up preferred prayers, sacrifices etc. to the gods of IT and run the batch file on your files.

  10. Let Roon Import your files, check that Album, Artist and Track names appear correctly for the problematic files (or a representative sample).

Hope that is of some help !

Wow, thanks for all of these helpful suggestions! This kind of support really makes me feel more confident that Roon can do what we need.