Is there a LMS-style Random Play feature?

Daniel, I think if you select those 2 albums and select play all then play rather than radio It will randomly play from those 2 albums, similarly with any focus.

@John_Roberts, here are screen shots of what I’m suggesting.













.sjb

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I can make a playlist of all of the albums that have not been banned/panned by one friend or another. It should be a rather large playlist (I have over 30K tunes) and the Radio. It sounds like there are a couple of things to try.

LMS’ Random Play function was not all that random. There was always 10-12 albums that it frequently sampled from. I ended up rebooting LMS to refresh the “re-runs.”

I did put in a bug report about 8 years ago. About 3 months ago, it was closed because they considered it impossible to rectify.

“Randomishness” seems like a reasonable expectation. I hope that Roon finds a way to provide that option.

Thanks, again, for your help. While trying this out, I will keep monitoring the blog to see what else is suggested.

The devs have said that Radio is not where they want it to be, but 1.3 has changes to various things under the hood that would have made earlier work on Radio obsolescent. So they will give it further attention once 1.3 is released and bedded in.

I have found that banning a particular album can avoid Radio getting stuck on it. For me this happens with albums that have a wide variety of genres or artists. “The Bridge” Neil Young tribute album is one such album in my collection. I like it, but I had to ban it in order to stop Radio getting stuck on it.

Go to Tracks, select the favourite Heart then play those random. It only plays your favs then.

For the past month or so, I have been using the Radio function, sometimes unintentionally. At times, I thought I was going to play an album but Radio had a different plan. After a track, it shifted to another band. It was kind of funny and a bit frustrating at the same time. Trial and error a fun way to learn.

I like a lot of things about Radio, especially when I am able to figure out how some (or all) of the Radio selections resemble the tracks I was playing (and it analyzed). I am still struggling with getting past the Random feature (on LMS) which picked out stuff that I hadn’t thought of for a while. With Radio, you kind of have to have a general idea of what you want to hear and, if/when you do, Radio will follow.

I have learned to create a pretty varied playlist before turning it over the Radio. Over the week-end, I got captivated by Santana’s Abraxas album and, after it played, Radio seemed to toggle through maybe 5-6 other albums (interestingly, none by Santana – but all from about the same year of release and in the “classic rock” genre). I am going to play around with it before I get “too judgy.” It is probably more about learning to use the tool than expecting the tool to read my mind.

Radio does a pretty good job, however, of finding similar music. At several points, I got distracted by something for a moment and it actually took me a while to realize that “we weren’t in Abraxas anymore.” It kind of reminds me of how my lab was when he was a puppy – he did a good job of doing what you expected, that is until he didn’t.

I haven’t become acquainted with Focus yet. It will probably be one of the next things I will try.

Thanks for the suggestions.

If you have any questions while exploring the Radio feature please ask. Also, if you have any suggestions, please add them to the Feature Request section. There have been many threads in Feature Request about the Radio already. You might want to give that area a search and read what other users have requested concerning the Radio Function.

The devs have mentioned that a re look and update of Radio is in their sights. Here is a link to a post I think you’d find interesting/informative:

When you Focus, you can only select Play All or Radio. Unfortunately you do not have the option to chose shuffle once you select Play All.

One would think Play All would be random but it is not. Radio is not random either as it attempts to find albums or tracks some how related to the Focus group.

When I choose Play All, I get the same 8-20 albums appearing. It just does not work - at least as a means to randomly play a set of music.

I would vote for being able to select Random Play, by track, work or album, once you select Play All.

If you select Shuffle play after you choose Play All, it starts Radio - as if it had been selected instead of Play All. As a result, the music played is definitely not random.

Hi @hshrader,

I was curious with this behaviour so did some testing on my system. This is my workflow (in this case Roon is on Windows 7 Laptop):

The starting point is with nothing playing:

Radio Mode Disabled

  1. From the Album Browser, Focus on a some albums

  2. Click the blue “Play All” icon.

  3. Click the “Play Now” icon.
    Roon flashes up:

    @support I think this maybe misleading, as it’s not really radio play as we now it, it’s shuffle play. Perhaps it should flash up "Started Shuffle Play"
    Roon now starts playing random tracks from the albums that were focus upon.

  4. Looking at the queue screen, it reports:

  5. Clicking the shuffle icon:


    As expected (as we are in shuffle play mode) does not appear to affect the play order, … and Roon still reports

  6. Clicking the blue X (above), cancels shuffle mode and displays:

    Then once the current track completes, Roon stops playing.

So other than maybe an adjustment of some prompts, this to me is working as expected.

Radio Mode Enabled
1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 same behaviour as above.

  1. Clicking the blue X (above), cancels shuffle mode and displays:

    Then once the current track completes, Roon switches to radio mode (seeded from the focus) but not constrained to it.

Again other than maybe an adjustment of some prompts, this to me is working as expected.

@hshrader, does your workflow differ from what I did? Can you try out my work flow and see if your results differ.

hi @Carl, Firstly, big thanks for taking this on.

From Step 3: I get the notice Started Radio. In fact, no matter what is selected - Play Now or Start Radio, i get the Started Radio message. @support This is an issue since there is no reason to have choice (Play Now or Start Radio), unless the Start Radil label is incorrect and should read something like random play enabled, as Carl suggests. I don’t think it is mislabeled.

Step 4- Like you - I have Nothing Queued on the left and Shuffle Continues on the right (in the Radio window).

Step 5: I click the Shuffle icon. Here i may have a variance from your experience. Since there is no queue, there is nothing to shuffle. In fact no play order is evident. I only see the next Album up from the Radio window on the right. If there were tracks lined up on the left and i hit shuffle icon, they would change order.

Step 6. I see this step a little differently than you. Clicking the blue X cancels “Radio” mode (not shuffle mode). And when the track ends, Roon stops.

But it is not working as expected. After clicking Play Now, i get the same 8-20 albums all the time (in a 700 album focused set of music). If one clicks shuffle icon after Play Now (without selecting any tracks from the right using the thumb up/down icon) there is no way to tell if any shuffling is happening and play remains distinctly un-random in any case.

If you do select suggested tracks in the Radio window via thumb up/down - say five - and then hit shuffle icon - it does shuffle the queue. But this is not a fix - if i get the same 8-20 albums all the time, why would any one care what order they are played in?

For Radio Mode Enabled - i agree with what you see but interpret it differently. Here we have simply switched on and off Radio Mode and the click of the shuffle icon makes no difference to the order of play, since a) their order is not revealed or chosen and b) because we have always been in Radio mode (Step 3 notification).

Your work has made me look at this more carefully and i am thinking now that Random play from Play Now is just not yet activated. I am thinking you need a queue for the Random icon to work. With no queue, are we in Radio mode. Would love to see a queue generated randomly after pressing Play Now.

If this is so, i think this is a legitimate functionality issue. If it will get fixed, then it would be great if at the same time, new Random icons were created: one representing Track, one for Album, and one for Work or Composition. They could sit besides each other. I probably have gone too far in this thread - key issue is to figure out if we are defaulting to Radio and bypassing a Random play mode.

Again, thanks for opening this discussion so constructively!

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Carl –

I have been trying this suggestion and it seems to work as far as playing a random selection of music is concerned. Thankfully, it also seems to avoid the “hidden music” I have.

I agree that it looks like Roon might have the “randomness” of random figured out, at least well enough for our purposes.

I would like to have several options for random play:
(1) I would like to select specific genres, artists (even from different genres), years (or individually selected groupings of them), and composers.
(2) I would like to be able to select all of the above and then “unselect” specific ones (for gatherings with people whose tastes are pretty eclectic, up to a pretty strongly drawn point).
(3) I would like to review the list of selected tracks as a whole and be able to easily remove ones that I don’t want to be included. This is where the radio function is a bit kludgy – it does a great job, with the thumbs up/down feature, but it is more time consuming than it should be.
(4) The playlist should have a significant length (at least 50 tracks – 100-200 would be good) so that it can be curated once and early and not be “tended to” when music is being played for a number of hours.
(5) I’d like it to also be able to access Tidal – although I do not currently subscribe to it, I imagine that folding in Tidal “random” tracks into the playlist would be fun.

As a new user of Roon, I don’t really know as much as many of you about how Roon functions or is put together. However, given what I have said, it seems to make sense to have Random or Radio added to the first screen (with browse, library, settings, etc). Whenever Radio is activated, there should be a menu for selecting/deselecting the parameters of what Radio will play (as described above).

I do think these enhancements would be attractive to a lot of Roon users. For me, the random feature of LMS, as imperfect as it was (in terms of randomness), was how I listened to music with friends most of the time.

Oh, please. I would love that.

I have a couple of additional suggestions:
(1) include an option in Random (or Radio, if that is how Roon ends up doing this) that allows for the inclusion of music that selected artists perform on other recordings (e.g., John Mayer recently did some work on Melissa Etheridge’s latests album). It would be great to be able to turn on or off that feature.

(2) Add an option for choosing music by date it was added, or how recently it was played (or, conversely, music that has not be played for more than “x” number of weeks, months, years, or whatever).

There may be some additional tag information that Roon collects that could also be indexed to specify a range/s for Random play.

I appreciate the fact this is being discussed and considered.

Seeking feedback from our Roon @support team please.

Can you review and validate the discussion above? Are we doing something wrong to access a true random shuffle from Play All? Is this type of functionality of interest or concern for the design team?

Thanks for flagging us here. The current “Play All” behavior is based on the same algorithm that Radio uses for making selections, the difference being that Radio selects from an algorithmically generated set of similar content, whereas Play All is playing from an explicit group of content you’ve selected (ie, the Focus, your whole library, etc). Play All shouldn’t get stuck on the same artists and tracks over and over, and we’re going to address this when this area of the product gets overhauled.

As I mentioned in the post linked above, we are planning to devote proper attention to the Radio feature, and for now we’re avoiding making changes here piecemeal, or implementing quick fixes. This feature deserves first class attention, and it will get it. I don’t have firm timelines on when that’s going to happen, but we have seen all the recent questions about random playback, and we’re aware that this is a important use case for a lot of people.

What we hear from you guys really does drive how development resources are allocated, so thanks in advance for the feedback, and please keep it coming all.

One more thing:

One thing you might want to look into is our recently-redesigned Tags feature. An easy way to think about Tags is that it’s like a playlist, but with two major departures: 1) it has no order, so playing a tag is always shuffled; and 2) tags can include way more than just Tracks, including Artists, Genres, Composers, etc.

If you tag 10 artists, you can just play the tag and it will include albums by those artists, tracks they’ve appeared on, etc. Same with genres, etc. One thing you can’t do is selectively remove content from the tag. So, if you have 10 Miles Davis albums, and want them all included, you can just tag Miles. If you want all but one album, tag all the albums. If you want all but one song, go to Miles’ page, View All Tracks, and tag all but one.

It’s not yet possible to tag a Focus, but we are hoping to include that in the future, to provide “smart playlist” like functionality.

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Mike, many thanks for the feedback. Very glad this is on the development team’s radar. I think all who have participated in this and other related posts are looking forward to the revision and the improved functionality it will bring.

I for one will explore Tags more in the meantime.

@carl Carl, again, many thanks for the positive and constructive voice you brought to this discussion.

@mike

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hmm, if it is working with tag’s, a workaround could be to create a tag “all tracks” ore something like that und add this to every song. But I did not found a feature to add this easy to every song…

for me by the way a must feature, and I’ve currently a trial license, first thing what I’ve noticed. Lot of media management has this problem with a library > 200’000 songs.

I haven’t had Roon very long, but shuffle keeps repeating the same songs over and over…what a joke!

You may be referring to Radio rather than Shuffle. I find that banning an album that Radio gets stuck on can help.

Hi Andrew,

Thank you for your reply.
I selected 2 specific Genres and afterwards selected “play all” and enabled the "shuffle " icon. Although Roon is only playing songs from the 2 Genres I selected, the same songs keep repeating randomly over and over again mixed into the shuffle. I also have “radio” turned off. Am I missing something?

Thank you,
Joseph