Is Sorting by Folder Posssible?

I have a rather extensive musical library sorted in folders based on geography. Continent/country of origin/ state-province-region/city/genre/artist/album. Is there a way to incorporate this folder structure into my Roon search tree? I currently find myself often defaulting to subsonic in order to shuffle by country of origin. At the moment for example, I am listening to the music of Mexico. If I can’t easily add my folder structure to the description tree what would be the next easiest way to achieve my ends (i.e., shuffling music from one particular folder and it’s sub-folders in my library?) Would I need to “tag” each folder in Roon? A time consuming proposition I imagine, but I do want to maintain access to my carefully curated system if I can. Thanks in advance.

Roon doesn’t support folder view, and in all likelihood never will.

I’d define each continent as separate storage folder, and then use tags from there. The advantage of going at it that way is that you can quickly exclude large parts of your collection by using the Focus feature (if you click the aperture icon in Album and Track views, then scroll to the right, inspector, storage locations, pick what you want or don’t want).

This probably isn’t practical beyond a certain level of granularity, so you’d unfortunately have to add tags. I’m also uncertain how many folders Roon lets you add.

Geography is an interesting and probably challenging problem… you might want to post a feature request, since RoonLabs might be interested in implementing it (not that that’d solve your immediate problem, since we’d be talking years if it happens at all).

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Roon does consider geography in a couple of ways. These might be sufficient for you, try it first. If not sufficient, then give @Xekomi 's suggestion a whirl.

  1. Artists and Composers have countries associated with them, and you can use Focus in both the Artist and Composer browsers to select people from particular countries.
  2. These two browsers and the Album browser have a Focus that enables you to select by Genre. The sub-genres here under International appear to be fairly extensive (of course depending on your Library). For example, I see that I have music that is categorised as:
  • Brazilian Tradition
  • South American Traditions
  • Latin

For music that is in your Library (streamed or music stored locally), you can define your own country-based genres, if what Roon has is not sufficient.


Thanks for both your replies! I think perhaps using a global tagger to change the genre setting or really any searchable tag I don’t already use might be the easiest option. Most of the genre tags are already set to the country of origin, but I haven’t paid much attention because my folder system provided the best listing and search and shuffle options and I didn’t have to worry about tagging outside of artist and album - oh and recording date, another value that is very important to me. Changing the genre to the country of origin does not entirely solve my problem though as genre does become relevant as a sub folder system - so it gets a little complicated as I’d like to retain that capacity to sort some musics within a country by genre. Sometimes you just want to listen to Malaysian Rock and not Malaysian syncretic music you know? I don’t mind using a combination of category trees and the “roon focus” to get there, I just have to figure out how to maintain the ability to display by country of origin and still search genre within the country. I also recognize that I may have to settle for different software for different purposes. Roon does lot’s of things Subsonic doesn’t and I appreciate it immensely for those reasons. However, it seems to me that roon is robust enough that there just might be a way for me to safely put all of my international eggs in one basket, so to speak.

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Oh! I should specify that I am only talking about music in my own library! Thanks!

If you’re able to use the Genre ID3 tag for your own locally stored music, then you’re able to create your own Genre hierarchy. Sub-genres will get aggregated up the tree, so for example: suppose part of your hierarchy looks like:

 > Asian Music
    > Malaysian Music
       > Malaysian Rock
       > Malaysian syncretic
  • You can Focus on Asian Music, which will bring in all the sub-genres from all the countries that you have defined in your Genres
  • You can Focus on Malaysian Music, which will include both Malaysian Rock and Malaysian Syncretic, or
  • You could simply Focus on Malaysian Rock.

Also, you can create Bookmarks for any particular set of Focus criteria for rapid access to particular slices and dices. The Bookmarks are dynamic, so as you add albums to your collection, and assign a Genre to them, they will get included in a Focus where appropriate.

See here:

and here:

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Thanks Geoff! Because of my reliance on folders I haven’t had enough experience with tagging to know the possibilities. I’ll try using some kind of global tagging software to see if I can get the genre tags to follow folder name. If that doesn’t work I’ll give it a go manually. There are thousands of folders so it’ll be a bit of a chore, but I like interacting with my files. It’s sort of like the virtual version of sorting albums in the old days (my age is showing). I always discover things I’d forgotten about.

I just came across this as I googled the same question and am disappointed as I, like Vince, have folders as my fundamental filing structure because if i change servers/services metadata so often will go all over the shop but file structure will not disappear.

So sorry Roon, your strong points should be the cream on top of a reliable folder structure so I won’t be purchasing you when my trial expires.
Even now as I have transferred some existing folders and files into a Roon server for this trial, metadata has got confused or lost by Roon. I have no interest in recovering and re-entering this each time I change servers and one can have no guarantee that Roon or any similar services will survive in the longer term even for those who want to stick with it.

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I’d like to keep this topic active: I just installed Roon, had it organize my 6,000 albums of FLAC files, which are carefully organized into sub-folders, and then was dismayed to learn I couldn’t find any of them in Roon. Even if I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life tagging the files, nothing could improve on Classical/Beethoven/Orchestral Music/Concertos/Piano…

How do people use Roon? For listening to Internet radio? Playing the same 10 albums repeatedly? I’m genuinely at a loss.

The pity is, Roon’s distributed architecture would perfect to allow me to access the same store from different systems within my home, but this omission is a deal breaker.

Hi Gary, it was my query originally and I had similar misgivings as you

I had a trial of roon which was good of them but I will not be subscribing exactly for this reason. The problem is these guys are probably so embedded in the way roon is searchable via so many different tags they don’t see that many libraries being imported simply wont tag correctly once imported partly due to the lack of consistency in how metadata seems to be stored particularly with WAV files which is what I use because I significantly prefer the sound to FLAC.

Like you i do not want to have to retag heaps of stuff but far more fundamentally the beauty of a left brained folder structure view is that it is far easier to quickly search through what files you have, especially when the metadata is wrong or missing.

Instead of developers accommodating this they seem to say “why would anyone want to work like that when they can search in so many ways in roon”.

The answer is that aside from incorrect naming/metadata making that not work, in order to search you have to not only remember the file is there but also hope you remember it’s correct name. It’s sometimes far easier and more successful just to scan down a list of folders you have catalogued in a way that made sense to you even if not to roon developers.

It’s a similar thing with my computer files where I can search for a file by name and when it works it’s great but quite often I actually have to engage the left brain and find the folder it would logically for me be in and then locate the file esp as search sometimes it brings up too many possible candidates.

Lastly, if you ever want to move on from roon, extricating your file content in a folder structure makes it easy to move on or certainly would be for me. Nothing is around for ever and certainly even new management at roon could make changes where one might want to move. Never go into a new partnership without your exit strategy planned.

Here is a small example of one kind of situation where folder view is much better for me. I sometimes get favorite artists that have worked with other musicians in entities that have a name different to the artist. I put those in a global folder with the artists name as I best remember it so I can just look at that folder and find the less obvious files. Theoretically with roon i could search by artist and it might be in the metadata but also might not and I still get a much quicker overview in folder view.

I hope they add Folder view and quite frankly given every other player I have used has it I find it either arrogant or stupid of them not to, Perhaps it eats up some computer resources but I can’t imagine it’s that much. If I have carried on bit it’s because it took me a lot of time and mucking around to understand roon, borrow compatible equipment and get the trial to work. Even the fact I prefer Squeezelite player with the Roon server took time so it’s just a pity this was a deal breaker.


Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I used to work in software development, and I know that one of the surest ways to go out of business is to devote time on features that hardly anyone will use. I accept that, for Roon, apparently that is you and I. I’m still at a loss how others organize large collections of music with Roon, but, at the same time, personal ownership of musical collections is going the way of the dial telephone.

My intention with Roon was to use a single store for two endpoints in two rooms, and to control play with a nice, modern interface. But I can get the same functionality for free with MediaMonkey and an interface that is based on the folder structure.

@GARY_MORESKY and @GeorgeC I am too such a hopeless old/rare case of intensively thought out folder structure and flexible special tagging respectively. I don’t want to be trapped in Roon only, yet love it. Your descriptions and case study fit my situation. Grouping of connected artists via global folders and special tagging I want to solve myself, but Roon has the automatic solution. It took me a long time to internalize the new ordering principle. It doesn’t open up in a short test phase. I always make sure to have it easier. Roon helps with that. Of course I don’t have an isolated solution but an exit strategy.

Media Monkey, JRiver, Audirvana, Plex, iTunes are all small island solutions of yesterday. They have advantages in partial aspects, allow old habits, but large music collections I would organize today only with Roon and additions such as Foobar2000, MP3TAG and Directory Opus. The Apple users certainly have SongKong with in use, so that the move to Roon runs better.

The new solutions, by market power, are called Spotify, YouTubeMusic, AmazonMusic, AppleMusic, Deezer, Qobuz, Tital, Idagio…

Roon, Audirvana, some HiFi manufacturers and Linux developers have real new answers for this. Heard of Lollypop or other advanced players/organizers? Integration of music services is becoming mandatory for survival and even Foobar2000 can play Spotifystream via copy&paste with an additional component besides its own files and even flexibly tag what is not even personally on the disk.

Use the Roon MultiValueFields “RoonAlbumTag” and “RoonTrackTag” and your data will run automatically in import and export. No double tagging and great tagging/organizing always outside of Roon. Use both worlds optimized!

Basically, it’s a waste of time for Roon in the future to address our dying species in particular. The dinosaurs with large personal collection are dying the streaming death and those who do not develop and create new features there will also stop living. The developers are behaving understandably right. For us, there would be old alternatives. I also want the new and previously unfamiliar. A storage for many endpoints - a nice, modern user interface - but for tagging and organizing more top products as mentioned above.

Metadata in WAV for the even smaller group who reject Lossless in established formats, have bad metadata and have to rely only on folders and file names is not an alternative for Roon that will still prevail in the market. If you want to know more about this and improve, read here: WAV tagging or even more specialized here: Metadaten to better differentiate and be more successful with these exotics. It’s not an area Roon will ever move into. The only intersection is the good tone. Common knowledge remains. Incorrect or missing metadata is poison for Roon. Roon can do rudimentary tagging, but rather expects a well-organized library and the left brain working.

Tagging in Roon tends to cause frustration and disappointment. The way to solve this is to build better data and images together. Not everyone should continue to do everything laboriously in their island alone. If this is broken by data corruption after many years, it is even worse. We shoot ourselves so only in the leg and have nothing public to repair automatically. Each LP, each single, each CD and each download needs only one identifier and together well maintained data. In the pictures we see how this process is just emerging. The AI baby is also already starting to talk to us better, but there is still much to do at Valence and tinker personally in our cases. A fate of our own choosing.

The new thing, which gets much better with Roon, emerges invisibly as another object layer that you have to get familiar with. The many links, the look and integration of the whole music world via two HiRes services provide added value even to me with a very large collection.

The browsing of folders and files remains with or without Roon - a modern file manager can also play and maintain metadata - it not only helps with searching and complements Roon, Foobar2000…but also has limitations that are only overcome with Roon.

Should you want to continue to love your personal collection independent of Roon, you must always make sure that their tagging is not lost during import and export. For the rest, I agree that integration for file management remains evolvable until all the dinosaurs and hobbyists are extinct. I have learned to live with what the vast majority wants and make my own additions outside the Roon world.

Streamers will pity us. What are we doing to ourselves?

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This is exactly what good taggers like Mp3TAG, Foobar2000 do for free from your metadata. They can automatically create the folders and file names from this metadata. There are bulk and quick maintenance from names to metadata and vice versa.

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Fundamentally they need a solution for local and streaming files. Folders don’t exist in streaming land so they made the decision to only use metadata.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses.

Here’s some musings on Roon that may be completely irrelevant to anyone but myself:

I am old enough to have begun my music collecting on 78s. I remember driving 600 miles to San Francisco from Eugene OR in the 70s just to listen to a rare 78 record. Unthinkable in todays world of immediate access. I then progressed through a major LP collection (some 40,000 records). CDs of course came after that. Then digital files (MP3s, Wave and FLAC, etc.), organized on a hard drive via folders and accessed by myself and others globally through Subsonic. Now, streaming through all the major platforms has become my primary method of listening.

At each juncture I’ve embraced the new technology. What I have found interesting is that each format change has brought with it new listening patterns. Sometimes the format itself encourages particular music. The value attached to Blue Note jazz LPs meant I always picked them up when I found them in used record stores and thus listened to a lot of hard bop. The same was true with RCA shaded dogs, introducing me to late 50s classical recordings that I may not have discovered otherwise. CDs and cassettes meant I could take my music with me in the car and classic rock suddenly became a more prevalent part of my collection. MP3s allowed me to listen while running and working out at the gym and R&B and funk suddenly came to the fore. it’s clear that for me at least, music and format can be like the chicken and the egg.

And I suppose I should be clear that I like it when the format forces me to engage in ways that open me up to new music. Sometimes, as detailed above, that may be where, when and how the format allows me to listen and sometimes its the ways in which the format itself has required sorting and cataloging which has kept me engaged and taught me about the music I listen to. These days, however, engagement is much harder to come by as all the music is immediately available everywhere and technology has taken both the physical and most of the intellectual work out of accessing it. I have found that I have to find new ways of interacting with my “collection” in order to keep it fresh and interesting.

In the main that seems to come down to being part of a global community of musicians and listeners and making sure to keep my ears open and take the extra steps needed to listen and listen well. But I have found that no matter how hard I try to stay in control of my listening habits the interface I use seems to have a major affect on the tunes I play. I listen to different music on Tidal versus Spotify versus Amazon versus Deezer, etc. And I subscribe to them all not because of the difference in catalogue, but because of the differences in the interface and the effect each has on my listening habits.

Now I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have to be a passive listener and I can access and listen to anything and everything and make my own decisions about what I listen to and why. But I really do think that underestimates the power of the interface. For example, one of the best platforms I have found for keeping things fresh is Last FM, which is sort of the closest thing there is to interreacting and sorting my collection in the streaming world. I’m often shocked by my listening patterns and will nudge them in different directions when I feel like I’m getting too complacent. I also adore the “listeners like you” feature, which allows me to explore like minded listeners in far away places who may be listening to artists I’ve never heard of and are immediately added to my queue.

So what does this have to do with Roon? I mean, after all, Roon is not a service provider, it’s simply providing an aggregate high quality access point. Seems perfect for a listener like me. Well that’s just it. I’ve not been happy with the aggregate experience of the Roon interface. It feels like it’s dumbing me down by delivering the most common denominator in my listening patterns over and over again. I miss the differences of the various streaming services.

Now I know my needs are perhaps unique and that I am a member of Uwe’s dinosaur club, but I do wonder where the dinosaurs should go while we are waiting to die. I also have a sneaking suspicion that while lots of people push “play my daily hits” on Spotify and are happy as clams, there are many young dinosaurs as well who want something different and engage in similar struggles as mine.

Some might say that Roon is flexible enough to respond to these problems, if in fact they are “problems” and not just my own personal idiosyncrasies. Perhaps that’s true. If I could solve them through engagement with the music than I think I’d be happy to spend the time making Roon work for me. But my experience is that in Roon the solutions reside more in the realm of software/hardware questions of how do I get all my various services to play nicely together and deliver a high quality stream rather than what cool music am I going to listen to today and how do I expand my choices. I don’t really enjoy tinkering with the program if it doesn’t provide for increased engagement with the music.

And maybe that’s the point and Roon just isn’t my cup of tea. I mean it is an audiophile service designed to solve delivery problems not access problems. It’s like saying my turntable is so boring until I put a record on it. Some folks can spend hours joyfully playing with their turntable set up. Maybe Roon is for them.

In retrospect, in all of the music listening I’ve done, I think the best times were those spent with Subsonic. I mean records were great, but the palette was very limited and it was too easy to fetishize the object rather than listen to the music. Subsonic made me engage with the file just enough to get to know it and recognize it when I heard it again and still feel engaged with my “collection” and my “collection” definitely became way more diverse as time went on.

Of the streaming services, Spotify seems to win in the diversity and engagement department. Largely because so many people are there making the social aspect so much better and therefore exposing me to more music. Though I must admit Spotify also just seem to put together better playlists.

I do enjoy the audio quality from Tidal and Roon’s ability to deliver it, but I can get that from Tidal without Roon and I like Tidal’s interface better.

Roon does offer multi point sound delivery (though it tends to be somewhat buggy in my experience), but so does Sonos with an easy to use family friendly interface and it never drops the signal or plays out of synch.

I know most folks are looking for a one stop solution and that my scattershot approach may seem needlessly expensive and redundant. I justify the expense by remembering how much I spent on records every month and redundancy is only an issue if you leave the interface out of the equation.

Anyway, I had recently decided to give up on Roon thinking my subscription renewed in January, but when I checked I found that it actually runs through October 2022. So who knows? Maybe over the course of the next 9 months I will discover that magic place where Roon delivers what I need in a way that keeps the music alive.

In 1967, I was a sophomore in college, renting a house with some friends. The first thing we did was combine our record collection, which resulted in some repetitions. I told my roommates, “We shouldn’t have to own these records at all. We should be able to get our music sent to us over the telephone.” I guess streaming is an intuitive idea!

OK, Roon says I have 6,000 albums. MedaMonkey finds 25,000 files, so I guess it’s true. Astonishing. Roon catalogued these albums and then threw up a wall of album covers. I couldn’t even find the albums on which I wanted to perform SQ testing. Now, I didn’t spend much time with Roon (I post too quickly), but from what I did see and what I read Roon has no way to present my library acceptably. Their database cares about how the tracks are tagged, not where the files are located. That’s how I would have designed the system.

I need to look into streaming services, although some of what I have is pretty obscure. Although MediaMonkey does allow you to control from one PC and render on another, so, really, it has me covered.

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The experience of playing LPs together is also familiar to me from my school/student days. Great was also to browse in a record store, but a long time ago. Today I used Roon for that with the thoughts that came to you even back then.

It doesn’t always work out right off the bat. I spent my first year with Roon in frustration because I wanted to continue discovering and organizing in the traditional folder structure (practically like the shelves in the record store). I practically just walled myself back into historical experience after all.

Nevertheless old experience count and make your valid points!

I have not abandoned that with Foobar2000, but with Roon now significantly enriched and cleverly connected.

I would not do it without streaming service. I want to put at my feet the 70 to 90 million titles available in streaming almost without gaps.

Now I have three paid streaming services and all possible competitors have tried / compared for some time also paid. The offer is comparably extensive. Soundcloud, CD-Baby or Bandcamp have even more exotics, these catalogs are probably only necessary for absolute experts. In principle, every artist who wants to make a living from music streams today. Unfortunately, only about 100,000 artists succeed in the initial launch phase. I have cataloged around 80,000 and no longer follow current charts. Many millions of people will hardly see a penny and will remain without any perception and without public performances in the national area, despite the digital offer.

I have Qobuz/Tidal for Roon and Spotify for Foobar2000 and I ask myself the question whether I should continue collecting. The own music is practically only starting point for my further musical journeys. Here in the forum, the experts of different genres send you additionally on great journeys.

But there are also days when only the music of the student days is warmed up again. There brings in the own collection sometimes things to the surface, which would be purchasable only second hand.

I gave away my physical collection during good conversations. Took me decades to see value in no longer owning it, but enjoying it.

My profile on Spotify also suggests obscure tastes based on about 70,000 songs. Many popular songs do not have high popularity. Likewise, it shows Roon about the 75% indicator artist images not available. Which only happens when hardly anyone else listens to it. But I’m also rolling in all genres that had a short popular period. It makes no sense to still support the Rolling Stones when streaming. There the local library becomes the value and the smaller artists get my streams when discovering.

Why should we abandon traditional listening and behavior? We can add to it and go on new journeys of discovery as we learn to appreciate it.

Yep. But it’s not too hard to exploit that to get what you want. Write a little code, a file-walker that adds a tag to each track reflecting its folder position. Then you can focus by tag in Roon and have your folder view. For example, using Python and taglib:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import sys, os, os.path
import taglib

if __name__ == "__main__" and len(sys.argv) > 1 and os.path.isdir(sys.argv[1]):
    for root, dirs, files in os.walk(sys.argv[1]):
        tag_for_this_dir = root.replace("/", ":")
        for filename in files:
            if filename.endswith(".flac"):
                filepath = os.path.join(root, filename)
                f = taglib.File(filepath)
                f.tags['ROONALBUMTAG'] = [tag_for_this_dir]
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I’m encountering the same issues, but with perhaps a slight twist. I did my Roon trial, and really liked how i was able to integrate streaming with my local library. Based on this, I (mistakenly?) signed up for a lifetime subscription.

I quickly realized afterwards that folder browsing was not supported. I can filter by path on the track browser, but can’t seem to find a way to do that for albums. This is very puzzling to me because I would think this would be the absolutely easiest approach to code. My collection isn’t that large (about 1300 CDs), but they have all been ripped manually over the course of years. All of my rips are in .wav format, and when I started ripping my CDs 20 years ago, metadata was a lot more sparse. Quite frankly, I didn’t care since it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the music. I really have no interest in re-ripping all my CDs or manually updating metadata on 40,000 tracks just so that I can find things in Roon.

Searching by path on the track folder also doesn’t seem to be robust. All of my folders that contain individual albums start with “[]” so I can differentiate between album folders and higher level folders. However, when I search for those characters in the filter, Roon comes up empty. I’m forced to search at the higher level and then scroll through hundreds or thousands of files to find the album that I want.

I also include the track number at the start of my file names so that they will play in the right order. Yesterday, I discovered that Roon re-ordered a couple tracks on an album because the song titles started with a number. Note that all of the track names have the number in them, but track 22 - 5 PM Eternal got moved between tracks 05 and 06. Similarly, track 18 - 80’s Capsule got moved to the end (it’s interpreted as track 80). I have no idea how to reorder the tracks so they play in the correct order (outside of creating a new tracklist and managing that separately). The .cue sheet had the right order on it, but I guess Roon ignores that. I have a lot of mixed CDs where gapless tracks run together and if tracks are reordered without any way to change them, this will be a huge issue.

I have a lot of music from anime and video games, which are predominantly Japanese. I’ve always used the English titles with Latin characters in the folder names, but will use Japanese text where available for the song titles. Unfortunately, the metadata for the albums are often in Japanese. I spent fifteen minutes trying to find my Tokimeki Memorial Piano Collection album in Roon, only to find that it was using “ときめきメモリアル piano collection”. Again, if I was able to search by folder, I would have easily been able to find it. I didn’t have a Japanese keyboard installed on my device, but it looks like I will need to do so if I want to search appropriately.

All told, I’m getting frustrated by the “Roon knows better than you” feeling I’m getting from the software. It’s similar to how I feel using Apple devices. Granted, I am a new user and there are probably ways to do the things I’d like to do. Given that I sprung for the lifetime subscription, it’s in my best interest to figure them out.

You cannot and won’t ever be able to search by folders. This is not the Roon way nor will it ever be it’s storage and hierarchy agnostic.

Depending on how your music is organised you can add storage locations as different folders as long as they are branches off and not under another folder. I do this for lossy files and flac. Each is it’s own directory which is added as a watched folder and you can use focus then in albums on that specific folder.

You can edit any album and move tracks about if that’s your thing. But Roon will match them to what release it’s found a match to. I suggest you read the online manual to get a grip on things it’s accessible from the support menu in the app. You can chose to use your own metadata but given your doing some odd things don’t expect Roon to identify albums correctly.