Leveraging existing metadata in audio files

Having made a lot of effort iro tagging my music library I’m wondering how Roon will deal with existing metadata in files e.g. VorbisComment tags in FLAC files. Will it be ignored, optionally ignored or leveraged in addition to Roon’s metadata sources?

If in any way leveraged, what fields will be read?

Will updates/ changes a user accepts to metadata be (optionally) written back to the underlying audio files?

What is considered the ultimate source of truth regarding metadata - what ends up in the app database or what’s contained in the underlying audio files?

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We pull file tags into the database during import, and use them as part of our identification process. @brian can talk more about which fields specifically, but I believe we pull it all in.

Obviously, we’ll be adding lots of rich metadata, alongside tons of sorting and tagging options – our sincere hope is that users won’t need to resort to hacks like appending version or format information to the album title, for example.

That said, everyone does things a little differently, and we’ve heard plenty of feedback from our internal test team about how important this is. Roon will allow you to roll back to the metadata tags that came with your media files if you are unhappy with the automatic identification behavior.

The initial release will allow for lighter editing, like changing or undoing identification issues. Ultimately, we want any additional information the user cares about to be available alongside the rich metadata we add.

Finally, as a general rule metadata is stored in our database, as opposed to mucking with the underlying files. We do provide options for exporting that will apply the metadata as it appears in Roon.

Thanks for all your questions audiomuze! We really appreciate the interest and enthusiasm.

See also this response by @brian to my question about importing maniacally groomed metadata from Meridian Sooloos.

I’m wondering how Roon will deal with existing metadata in files … If in any way leveraged, what fields will be read?

Everything that we know how to extract is extracted and preserved in our databases. If something new arises, there’s a facility that allows us to go back to the files and re-extract the tags to grab it. I could fill a medium sized book describing what we do with each of the many fields we support, and all of the subtleties involved in how they’re used, and ultimately, I’d still be describing a moving target to you, since this process is constantly being worked on.

Instead of getting into those details (especially before you’ve even seen the product), I’d like to explain what our product philosophy is here.

We take a very serious attitude towards non-destructive behavior when it comes to metadata.

The Roon database is structured in layers, with data extracted from the files (tags + audio characteristics) at the lowest layer, metadata fetched from our cloud services above that, and user data/edits on top of that. When we determine what to display, we merge down through the layers, so edits take precedence over cloud-fetched metadata, and cloud-fetched metadata takes precedence over the tags in your files.

This architecture results in a lot of flexibility, both for us and for you. When we update metadata from the cloud, we can simply swap out the middle layer, without clobbering your edits, for example. And if you decide that on this piece of content, the cloud-metadata layer isn’t for you, it can be turned off for that piece of content, at which point you’ll see only the tags + your edits.

Will updates/ changes a user accepts to metadata be (optionally) written back to the underlying audio files?

Only if you use the export feature. Mucking with your source files creates a large potential for destructive mishaps.

What is considered the ultimate source of truth regarding metadata - what ends up in the app database or what’s contained in the underlying audio files?

I think I addressed this above with the layered approach . What you see on screen is what’s in the app’s database. The files are one of many inputs into what gets displayed.

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Thanks for the detailed response. Having invested a lot of time to get the most I could out of my metadata it’s fast becoming clear to me that it’s likely to be immediately redundant using your software. Where were you chaps 20 years ago when I started all this tagging madness :sob:


How do I do this?

I really would like to designate most of my library as “please use the tags exactly as found in the files” instead of using the metadata that Roon finds. This especially applies to artist, album artist and song title in my case.

It hasn’t been released yet. We’re working on it now, so look for it in our next release.

Just of curiosity, what are you missing most from your tags?

Thanks for the update – looking forward to it already!

Foremost I’m missing the correct casing of song titles in Finnish and Swedish.

In some cases I’m also missing the “correct” artist, especially as it gets scrobbled. For example, I prefer “The Alan Parson Project” over “The Alan Parsons Project / Alan Parsons” (or the scrobbled form with the slash replaced by a comma).

I also have some (Finnish) albums where I’ve used the album artist (TIT1 and TPE2) to group them under a common name, while each track has the exact artist + band name combo that the album actually was published with (TPE1). I don’t know if I can get this result in Roon directly from my tags, but we’ll see. For example, I use the album artist “J. Karjalainen” to group the following:

  • J. Karjalainen ja Mustat Lasit
  • J. Karjalainen
  • J. Karjalainen yhtyeineen
  • J. Karjalainen Electric Sauna

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Karjalainen for more info.

It looks like Roon might be already doing “the right thing” and the missed ones are files that didn’t have tags for one reason or another.

I have the same issue. Since the last update I ripped a couple of classical CD’s with Dbpoweramp and EAC. I had perfect metadata but Roon refuses to use my metadata and instead of that it replaces them with its own very basic metadata. I tried using the option not use the Roon metadata but the file metadata, but that does not work, Roon still keeps the metadata from its own database.
This is very frustating, anyone a solution?

Hello @Mike_Agsteribbe, to help you we need more info:

I tried using the option not use the Roon metadata but the file metadata

Can you write the steps with which you were trying to turn on this option.

but Roon refuses to use my metadata

I would also like to know what file metadata you were expecting to see in Roon (list of file tags and its content is a good solution - you can send me a PM if you don’t want to show it publicly)

Hi, I uploaded 3 screenshots explaining what I mean:

The first shows the tags when playing, as you can see the tags are almost all the same, another thing to mention is that when this happens the playing graphic below the screen are not displayed.

The second screen shows the metadata are retrieved by Roon, but it is not possible to save them. I save the displayed metadata nothing happens.

The third screenshots shows the FLAC files after ripping.

Hope this helps you to find a solution, I have two or three albums with this problem, all recently ripped.
I also tried to incorporate the metadata in the flac files with a tag editor, also without succes.

Shouldn’t the point of Roon be to maximize flexibility in what you choose to show from your metadata. I would like to display whatever I feel is worth showing (as long as it is readable on the screen).

Hi @Mike_Agsteribbe – sorry for the trouble here. This actually looks like we’re getting some bad data from our providers. As you can see here, the listing for this album contains no track titles at all :cry:

@jeremiah and myself will get this data issue reported and fixed. For now, can you try selecting all tracks on the album, clicking Edit in the top-right, and then on the Metadata Preference tab, set Title to Prefer File, like this:

Assuming your files have reasonable tags, this should bypass the bad data currently in Roon’s database, and allow you to see the track titles in your file tags.


Hey @Mike_Agsteribbe and @mike – I reported the lacking data to Rovi. Thanks for the heads-up.

Quite worryingly though, it seems Roon doesn’t always pay attention to the existing tag information and metadata. I imported my iTunes library and last night went looking for three individual tracks I know I have. One is Skyfall by Adele.

The track is called skyfall, the metadata has Adele in it and the name of the track. Yet roon saw fit to completely rename it, and give it utterly unrelated metadata that made finding the track almost impossible. Same happened again with some Henry Mancini and some Kinobe. The Mancini track had been tagged as “aint no mountain high enough”. Not even close!

It was a nightmare getting roon to accept my own meta data rather than that which it was imposing on the tracks.

Overall I’m still very impressed with the product, but I know that if I go with roon full time, i’ll spent a LOT of time cleaning up metadata that wasn’t broken before.

This is an important point, and I’m not saying you’re wrong as such, however it’s a fact of life that pretty much every music library app in existence has their own metadata schema which differs in some way or another from the competition. The baked in rules of what gets displayed to you means there will always be some inconsistencies from one to another.

You mentioned iTunes, and their schema is about as non-standard as it gets! But they aren’t alone. I remember when LMS changed its default dB from SQlite to mySQL. I thought my tags were nigh on perfect but overnight, LMS became less forgiving about capitalisation. Lower case became distinct from upper case and ‘new’ artists popped up out of nowhere because of small discrepancies in my “Artists” and “Album Artists” tag.

oh I completely understand that iTunes is far from right!

but when a purchased track with the name of skyfall, and a tag of skyfall, with an artist Adele, gets renamed to something that’s not even slightly close, with a different artist and track name, that makes no sense at all. In that case Roon is purely abandoning any of the file tagging, and just trying to make its best guess about the contents of the file.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the extended tag contents via mp3tag. There will be something wacky in there causing it to happen.

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You would like to think a basic system could be intelligent enough to at least understand that the file name clearly bears no resemblance to the data they’ve applied?

in general, roon has been superb and almost all of my media is tagged correctly (although it did try to apply a composer who died in 1842, against “the crimea: tragedy rocks”, which again, was very hard to resolve as roon doesn’t let you edit the composer field)

I have found that most ( but not all) of the issues I (and indeed others) report wrt metadata are either due to something wacky in the file tags or existential anxt in allMusic.

We also know that better editing is on the way.

It would be interesting to try and get to the bottom of the Adele issue though.

Any chance of screenshots of the tags?


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