It's the COMPOSER, Stupid!

I got Roon because I thought it might make Tidal almost as good as my own library of mostly Classical music. “Good” in the sense that every piece is labeled correctly with such basic information as the composer.

Instead, Roon seems to be making my own library as bad as Tidal. When I bring up a multi-composer album in my own library, Roon doesn’t show the composer of each composition. Yes, it usually can be found by using the hamburger menu to bring up details, but this shouldn’t be necessary for basic information.

It is understandable that Roon often fails in this way with Tidal albums. Tidal is a royal mess to start with, and Roon has a hard job to put the mess into order. But it’s dismaying that Roon fails this way with my own library, where every classical track is tagged with its composer.

What gives?

Could you post some examples ?

Why dont you use the roon option to use your own metadata in preference?

Here is one example. It seems typical to me, but I could post more if it’s not enough.

The metadata in Tidal is patchy. And Roon sometimes fails to look for better.

In the case you highlight above, the screen shows it is “unidentified”. Have you tried a manual identification in Roon?

did you set the genre to classical?

Indeed, can sometimes bring the right stuff forward!

Yes, the albums as tagged with genre as Classical.

The album shown is from my own collection. I have not tried what you suggest; I am not sure how to do it or why such a thing would be necessary. If Roon doesn’t know the album, why wouldn’t it be looking at the carefully entered tags in the file itself?

it may be tagged as classical in your file tags, but it does not show on your album screenshot. It would show next to the green tag symbol. Depends on your import settings if file tags for genres are used.

Try to maintain it via album edit --> edit fields. I’m pretty sure the composers will show then (if maintained in composer tag). This worked for me all the time I had composers missing.

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It might also help matters if you told Roon to show the Composer credits always:

Sorry, I thought it was a Tidal album.

How many tracks is it? If it’s only 5 it may be below the threshold for Roon to make an automatic identification easily. The fewer tracks, the more perfect your metadata has to be (meaning, the more aligned with Roon’s database). An album with one track, but no metadata, will never get a match even if there is only one album in the Roon metadata server with the correct duration. It needs confirmation from good tags.

So all of that means it’s always worth trying to do a manual identification. (Album/Three Dots/Edit/Identify Album.)

Otherwise, I think @Klaus_Kammerer1 has covered your other options for showing more of your tags.

Yes, @Geoff_Coupe , thank you! That did it, and presumably it will help with other albums as well.

I’m still baffled that Roon shows the Genre (or Genres) as blank, when every track of the album is tagged with the genre Classical. (I just reconfirmed that.) Perhaps this is related to Roon’s not having this album in its database.

@Ludwig : Identify Album came up with nothing. I guess it’s not in the database(s) that Roon references. Thanks for the idea.

The album has 5 tracks.

@Klaus_Kammerer1 This is an interesting situation. I’ve set it to use genres in the file tags now, but I am not sure what side-effects that will cause.

What’s missing in the import settings is the (common-sense) option: Use Roon’s genre information unless there is none; in that case, use the file tag. I would have thought (indeed, I did think) that would be the default.

Are you sure that the Genres aren’t showing? Roon shows Genres only at the Album level, not at the Track level. Here, for example is an Album that Roon can’t identify (because I made it myself), where the track has been tagged with the tags “Classical” and “Synthesiser” - and Roon Shows this at the album level:

You need to turn that behavior on. By default, only genres from our hierarchy/system are shown–to keep things very consistent and clean for the 95% of people who’s genre tags are a total disaster that they have never managed manually.

In Settings -> Library Settings:

You should probably take a look through the other settings on this screen, too, particularly if you are meticulous with your metadata.

Also, regarding the other setting you found, Composer credits are by default shown for albums with Jazz, Classical, Vocal genres, and hidden for others, so turning on “use genres extracted from file tags” would have been enough to cause the composer credits to show through without turning on composer credits always (this setting often makes things feel cluttered when looking at popular content).

Just for some background–a very small proportion of people keep their file tags clean. For that majority, a huge benefit of Roon’s out-of-box behavior is that it cleans things up and creates consistency–basically covering up whatever mess they were in before.

We are also aware that some people have very meticulously groomed metadata–and we’ve created lots of settings/options to let them extract value from that grooming work in Roon–but in general, these things are turned off by default because for the people who don’t already have clean files, they tend to create a messy experience.

We have another round of features in this area coming soon–including improved support for manually determining work/part grouping, and support for extracting performance/recording dates from file tags, and allowing unconditional inclusion of track credits from file tags (currently, they are merged using an algorithm that prioritizes de-cluttering over including everything). Most of that stuff will also show up on this library settings screen.

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@Geoff_Coupe - Thanks for the clarification. Actually, I like seeing the composer of a piece, so I’ll leave that on for a while & see how it works for me.

I’m still unsure if there might be some unwanted side-effects of importing my own genres, which don’t always align with Roon’s scheme. For example, I have Classical Guitar in its own genre, while opera in my system is tagged genre Classical with subgenre (a separate tag) Opera. Not understanding Roon’s logic fully, I don’t know whether such differences will cause problems or not.

You have the choice to use just our genre system, use your pre-existing assignments, or mix them–it should be possible to land on something sensible, even if you decide to simply manage the genres yourself as you have in the past, totally abandoning our system.

There is a mechanism for “mapping” your genres at import time, which can be useful for smoothing over differences in naming/terminology:

You can also go edit the genre entities themselves directly, to modify the genre hierarchy:

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@brian : Thanks for the reply. I may take another look at genre mapping.

If I used only my own genres, what would Roon do when I was playing music from Tidal? Tidal is not as carefully tagged as my own music library, and it’s not beyond my imagination that many Tidal tracks might be mistagged or lacking genre information entirely.