Not possible to merge artists when Roon has no meta-data for one of them?

I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this. It seems to me that Roon is behaving even better than a good dictionary by showing you results for all the forms, rather than telling you that you have to repeat your search using a different form from the one you started with…

@Geoff_Coupe I think I understand the point of @pl_svn

Maybe the Wiener / Vienna is not the best example for it. What he means is that you need to know that the Wiener Philharmoniker are called Vienna Philharmonic in english, otherwise you won’t be able to pick the correct pick from the list.

Imagine searching for Tschaikovsky and getting back the composers name in kyrillc, because Roon would have mapped it somehow. Without knowing kyrillic you won’t be able to pick the correct result.

If Roon has mapped Wiener Philharmoniker to Vienna Philharmonic, I think it should be possible to display the found search term, maybe in brackets.

Something like

search term: Wiener

Result list: Vienna Philharmonic (Wiener Philharmoniker)

I agree that it is probably not a terribly big issue for most users, but I get the point.

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that would be just great!

Thanks for the contributions but my issue is unresolved. There seems to be a lot of subtleties. Maybe more detail will help clarify.

To summarise, the strategy roon uses to implicitly map original language and anglicised versions of artist names results in the hiding of 1000’s of albums and compositions from either explicit search or implicit hyperlink in my library. To all intents and purposes they may as well have been deleted. I thought I could solve this problem using roon synonym functionality but there are a lot of circular dependencies in roon logic that means that is not the case. Maybe someone has an alternative suggestion or work-around?

  1. What I get when I do a search on “Wiener Philharmoniker” various considerably depending on where I start the search.

  2. If I start from the top level “magnifying glass” I get a version of what Geoff describes including implicitly mapped links to “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” content. It is nevertheless very incomplete.

  3. If I do an artist search from the “three bars” menu, however, I get no results at all for “Wiener Philharmoniker” or “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” or any other “Vienna” related content. I just get a handful of one-off “composite” artist entries such as “Herbert von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker”. These are hyperlinked but to dead-end landing pages with a single album entry and no further content or links.

  4. I have numerous explicit references to “Wiener Philharmoniker” in both the text and “album artist” of roon pages but none of these are hyper-linked so they are also effectively dead-ends.

  5. When I do a search on “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” the vast majority of entries in my library also do not show in roon.

  6. A folder view search in Windows or even JRiver makes it pretty obvious that roon is not picking up most of the entries tagged “Wiener Philharmoniker” when searching on “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra”. Some are picked up, so I guess this is Geoff’s point that roon is in effect “implicitly” mapping the two when it is able to identify an album.

  7. I tried re-identifying a few of the unidentified albums in roon. But that was very hit and miss and there were still a lot of unidentified albums left. I toyed with the idea of doing a global search and replace of Wiener/Vienna. But that’s not a very realistic solution either because Wiener/Vienna is just one very famous case where the anglicised name is widely known. There are also thousands and thousands of original language chamber and choral ensembles and opera houses as well. What are the anglicized versions of these artist names, or more importantly what are the anglicized versions roon uses? How would anyone know? I guess this is Paolo/Klaus’s point.

  8. As a general aside. In continental Europe, roon’s assumption that “Wiener Philharmoniker” is a synonym of “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” would be considered incomprehensible. It is clearly the other way round but the end result is this choice will likely effect roon’s customer base on both sides of the Atlantic. I have done a quick check on my library that mostly originated from European labels like Deutsche Grammophon and I can see huge numbers of original language tags. It is not just artists, it is track titles as well. I cannot believe that roon is immune from the consequences of these structural features of the way the classical music recording industry works.

  9. This thread has focused on the simple case of Wiener/Vienna but this is just a special case of roon’s general strategy of assuming that original language artist names are the synonyms rather than the anglicised versions. Maybe this is also the reason why titled English artists and composers like Dame Janet Baker or Sir Edward Elgar are treated so inconsistently? Most British labels would assume titled artist names were primary and untitled artist names the synonyms and tag their downloads accordingly. roon seems to view the untitled versions as primary and the titled versions as the synonyms.

  10. Maybe I’m completely off-track or I have totally misunderstood but from Geoff’s comments, roon synonym handling only works for “identified” content. It doesn’t work for “unidentified” content. I would argue that the need for synonym handling was greatest for unidentified content. The end result is a rather circular catch-22.

a) Because roon has already implicitly mapped “Wiener Philharmoniker” as a synonym of “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” there is no mechanism under any scenario by which an artist called “Wienner Philharmoniker” will ever be created as a separate entity within roon. Consequently, I will never have a “Wiener Philharmoniker” to highlight and so no means to merge the name “Wiener Philharmoniker” with “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra”.

b) All ‘explicit’ searches on either “Wiener Philharmoniker” or “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” return incomplete results even taking the ‘implicit’ returns into account.

c) There is very patchy “reachability” of original language artist names from the hyperlinks as well. It is simply bizarre that although roon maps Wiener to Vienna there are no hyperlinks from Wiener Philharmoniker to Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. That would at least be something.

d) The Wiener/Vienna case is just a special case of original language / anglicised artist name handling which in turn is a special case of unidentified content handling.

e) The combined effect is to render 1000’s of albums and and compositions in my library invisible to either explicit or implicit search.

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@tripleCrotchet - re your comment 10:

Maybe I’m completely off-track or I have totally misunderstood but from Geoff’s comments, roon synonym handling only works for “identified” content. It doesn’t work for “unidentified” content. I would argue that the need for synonym handling was greatest for unidentified content. The end result is a rather circular catch-22.

I don’t think this is true - I have examples of albums that are not (cannot) be identified in Roon, but where Roon recognises the artists and synonyms.

You say that “All ‘explicit’ searches on either “Wiener Philharmoniker” or “Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra” return incomplete results even taking the ‘implicit’ returns into account.” Is there some common factor in the missing results? For example, if some of your albums have “Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan” as the artist (instead of two artist entries “Wiener Philharmoniker” and “Herbert von Karajan”), then searching on “Vienna Philharmonic” will fail to return these albums (because the synonyms will fail), whilst searching on “Wiener Philharmoniker” will work, because the string matches part of the concatenated “artist”.

I’m just throwing out ideas here, if you have “1,000’s of albums and compositions” that are invisible, it may be symptomatic of some systemic issue, and if we can get a handle on what it might be, then it may be possible to improve your currently broken experience.

I freely admit that how Roon goes about its job of parsing and linking is pretty much a mystery to me. Perhaps @joel or @vova may be able to offer some additional advice?

Thanks for all the constructive feedback Geoff. Unfortunately I cannot see a pattern in the missing searches though I continue to look. It is just an observation but I have a lot of European tags and content sourced from European labels in a large classical library built up over 15 years and that doesn’t seem to suit roon very well. By contrast my pop library which is very Anglo/American in orientation has no problems.

I wasn’t expecting miracles but I was hoping to improve the situation with some manual synonym creation. Long term the only thing that is going to work is a grueling re-tag. It turns out that I have a use case where unidentified artists are not being explicitly created and this has the knock on effect that I cannot explicitly create my own manual synonyms.

If there is a pattern, it is just that roon’s default synonym handling logic is working against me in the following way:

  1. Roon automatically creates implicit synonyms when an album is identified.
  2. Roon will not create explicit artists from unidentified content when an implicit synonym from identified content already exists.

Overnight I’ve tried a bit of diagnosis and re-tagging. Improvements are clearly possible but it will be quite a slog. It would be easier if the roon default approach of “implicit” rules was configurable in some way to also cater for more “explicit” behavior. Also, some old school file/directory functionality would be very welcome but I can see that is very controversial on other threads. A European focused classical library seems to bring many of these issues to the fore that are not so critical with an Anglo/American pop/jazz focused library.

  1. Implicit delimiter handling in my artist lists is causing a lot of problems. “;” and “\” work consistently, for example, but “,” and “/” do not. Re-tagging poorly performing delimiters makes a big improvement but it is guess work really as I have no idea what roon’s “implicit” artist parsing rules actually are. Unfortunately both “,” and “/” seem to be relatively common in the sources I have used, especially where there are long artist lists for example in large-scale choral and operatic works. I am quite prepared to do a massive search and replace in a library of over 450k tracks but it would be better if roon “explicitly” published it’s delimiter handling rules as there is scope here for a great disaster and just making things much worse.

  2. We are gong to have to agree to disagree on this but I also found myself wishing that I had some kind of explicit search option returning only strings I searched on. The additional “noise” of all the implicit links was not always welcome. It is not much fun randomly clicking on 80 “implicit” links looking for something that you know is in your library but for some reason roon has filed in a different way. The advantage of an explicit search is you know immediately there is an issue and can start the process of fixing it so that it comes up on an implicit search next time. Personally I find that the effect of this is I must constantly leave the roon environment to use tools that do have an explicit search function.

  3. I can’t help thinking that roon often throws the baby out with the bath water. There is a place for simple old school explicit file/directory functionality that is complimentary to roon’s implicit metadata/fuzzy logic approach. I am not sure I understand why roon doesn’t offer both as I would have thought that these days the file/directory approach has been highly commoditised and relatively easily and inexpensively incorporated.

Talking about delimiters, have you read the “Import Settings” page in the Knowledge Base? It contains some pointers that might be useful.

Thanks Geoff, I had a lot of problems even migrating from 1.2 to 1.3 which roon went to a lot of trouble to fix. So I am only now seeing the new functionality. I hadn’t realised delimiters were configurable. I should be able to do something with that.

At the end of the day though I cannot see how to avoid a re-tag so like a lot of people I just want to know what the rules are. I am ploughing through the “What is optimal classical metadata structure for Roon?” thread where I can see you have been active and there seems to be hints of some kind of roon standardisation. Did anything come of that?

The Roon folks are still developing the metadata model of Roon, so “standardisation” seems to me to be something of a moving target. It’s also, in places, very rich in metadata. For example, there are over 6,000 credit roles available.

I think there’s an awful lot going on under the surface that simply hasn’t yet been documented in best practice or guidance. Like you, I’d like to have a clearer idea of just what the rules are. At the moment, I’m feeling more like one of the blind men trying to describe the elephant.

Yes, it’s a shame that the guidance that is put there is not really joined up. It seems to be scattered around the KB. I don’t think it’s necessary to know very much to get a basic functioning library up and running. It is just difficult to find it all in one place or know where you should prioritise your efforts for the most gain. In my case something along these lines would go a long way.

  1. Where do I put composer, artist, album artist and performer tags?
  2. What is the best way to structure track titles so I get consistent composition hierarchies
  3. How do I avoid getting so many double versions of artists (Edward Elgar, Sir Edward Elgar)
  4. How do I avoid getting so many repeated references of the same artist (Edward Elgar, Edward Elgar, Edward Elgar)
  5. Is there any way of getting synonyms hyperlinked?
  6. What are the delimiter handling rules?

Others probably have a few additional pointers as well. But I don’t see it needs to be very complicated. The tweaks can come later when a basic functioning library is up and running.

I’m not sure I understand what you are getting at with question 1. Are you asking whether it is better to add metadata directly in Roon (thus using the Roon database) or better to add metadata to the audio files themselves?

If that’s the case, then my personal decision tree would go something like this:

If an album has been identified by Roon, then I’d probably tweak the metadata directly in Roon. If the album has not been identified by Roon, then I’d use a third party metadata editor to edit the file metadata.

Re question 3, I suspect that albums that have not been identified by Roon have files using the composer tag of “Sir Edward Elgar”. Personally, I’ve done batch edits on all my files to remove all traces of honorifics - they’re more trouble than they are worth.

Re question 4, can you show a screenshot of an example of repeated references. Is this happening on albums that have been identified/not identified or both?

Re question 5, could you spell out or illustrate for me what you mean (it’s not clear to me what you are asking for).


Just seen this from Klaus - this sort of thing could also possibly give rise to repeated references - and this is coming from poor quality metadata used by Roon…

I’ve got to run so I’l flesh it out later but what I meant by 1) was tagging externally in the file rather than roon. roon’s identification rate in my classical library is no more than 20%, probably a great deal less. I cannot find a clear statement about what roon’s assumptions are about all the most common tag’s. Hunting down every file I have where the composer is in the artist field etc. etc. is going to be a very lengthy task. I would just like to know what roon expects to find in all these major fields before starting.a major re-tag of my own meta-data.

Oh Dear, I can confirm I have every problem being described by Klaus. I hadn’t got on to the topic of incomprehensible composer/performer/production linking yet because I am stuck trying to solve even more rudimentary problems. Looks like this will be a slog.


I’ve been back on Roon for my classical music after 1.3 was released and I’m in my third week of “re-trial” now, after having not used it for classical at all for quite some time.

I had reported my experiences back in the past and have been accused of being melodramatic, but I think the main points are still valid:

There has been tremendous improvement for classical music handling with 1.3, but the general paradigm of the Roon team still seems to be that the system should be smarter than the user.
Honestly I think with classical music this is bound to fail. I just don’t believe that there will ever be even a single source of 3rd party metadata which is properly and consistently maintained and if I understand it right, Roon even tries to harmonize different metadata sources into one DB.

So I would repeat my main point from over 1,5 years ago: give the user control over metadata as an option!

Open the additional fields for composition, artist and composer (reviews, biographies, descriptions) for editing and allow the user to decide whether he want to have Roon do its magic. I still would be more than happy to pay the annual fee just to have that structure available.
At the moment I’m entering the Roon environment with a very well tagged collection and I’m constanly forced to correct things that werde not added by me in the first place.
For my feeling there is too much wizardry happening in the background, making it almost impossible to properly document how the system will react to your own metadata. I understand that lots of people like this and will be happy about it, but I think I am not.

Just my 2 cts.

I feel your pain Klaus!

System works fine for me pop/jazz but at the moment borders on the unusable for classical. I haven’t mentioned it but a good 70% of my local library has not been processed at all (ape, cue, wv, iso etc.) and I have no doubt I will be facing exactly the same problems you have been facing with what remains.

Like you I decided I had to be a bit more systematic and just suck it up and go from A->Z in the library. Bach almost killed me. It was then I realised I was staring at decades of elapsed time unless I found another way. I am still hopeful that a relatively small number of global edits will provide enough of a starting point if only I understood what roon’s background assumptions actually are.

You make an interesting proposal. I can see the benefits to those with large, well-maintained systematic local libraries. I’d certainly buy in but maybe we are too niche for roon?

of course we represent a niche, but I still hope that Roon eventually will reach a state where I could regain control even if it would mean sacrificing external metadata - at least they started to provide the structure we need for classical and put quite some effort in getting it right.

Let’s wait and see where it will lead us - in the meantime I’ll keep reporting whatever puzzles me or is unclear to me.

[quote=“Tony_Casey, post:37, topic:21888, full:true”]
I haven’t mentioned it but a good 70% of my local library has not been processed at all (ape, cue, wv, iso etc.) [/quote]
Erm, these are the formats that Roon supports. It’s perhaps not surprising that a large percentage has not been processed.

I hope point 1) is clear. I will carry on with 5). This is only one variation/use case on synonym handling with “identified” content which results in behavior that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. There are a lot of other scenarios for “unidentified” content as well…

This is the roon default screen for an identified album in my library:

A couple of things are immediately apparent.

  1. The album cover (from roon) highlights Wiener Philharmoniker and Herbert von Karajan as a visual clue that these are the “album artists”. This is exactly how I have tagged it and they both appear as the album artists under the album title. However, Herbert von Karajan is hyperlinked but Wiener Philharmoniker is not.

  2. During the identification process roon appears to have made Wiener Philharmoniker the synonym of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and that is hyperlinked with a lot of metadata and album references as follows:

  1. The choice of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as the master synonym makes no sense at all outside the English speaking world. In fact I am a mother tongue English speaker from Ireland but I have grown up with album and CD covers just like the one roon is using and would instinctively use the German form which is exactly how I have tagged it and how it would be tagged in download sources from European labels.

  2. I would like the option of being able to control the synonym choice and for example hyperlink from Wiener Philharmoniker to Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra content but it turns out that is not really possible. This is what happens:

  3. On the artist page a search on Wiener Philharmoniker does not bring up a Wiener Philharmoniker artist so I have nothing to merge with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (that is how this thread started). What I have learnt from the feedback is that this is some kind of consequence of roon making Weiner Philharmoniker an implicit synonym of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the identification process.

  1. However, what I can do is add Wiener Philharmoniker as a primary artist and voila! I have a hyperlink:

  1. I may have a link but it doesn’t go anywhere. It just links back to itself and no other Wiener Philharmoniker references in my metadata:

  1. But at least I can now “merge” Wiener Philharmoniker with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and that is what I tried next, making Wiener Philharmoniker the master and ended up with exactly the screen I was looking for:

  1. The problem is that the screen does not behave how I expected. The two instances of Wiener Philharmoniker (primary artist and the body of the text) appear to be two different artists, just with the same name. So the primary artist only hyperlinks to itself:

  1. On the other hand the instance of Wiener Philharmoniker in the body of the text hyperlinks to several albums in my library but looses all the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra metadata of which it is a merged synonym:

  1. So close but no cigar. I hope this makes it a little clearer the sort of behavior I was expecting. I am deliberately using landmark albums by world famous artists, that many would have in their libraries to make my point. But this gets complicated very quickly with more specialist artists and no one except a musicologist would be able to navigate their way around a system where they didn’t understand the implicit rules roon is making for master synonym choices. I thought, for example, that there was a simple bias towards the English synonyms but as I dig this even that simple assumption seems to be unpredictable. In any case I for one and many others would have no idea what the English synonyms were except in a handful of famous cases.