I really like to have automated playlists of compatible music. It’s a great feature of modern playback software. So one of the things that attracted me to Roon was that it had what sounded like an advanced version of this. Play something, and then let the software serve up tracks that go really well with whatever it was you played. Great. And with valence it learns, and gets better over time? Brilliant.
But for some types of music, Roon Radio’s choices of tracks are, frankly, bloody awful.
Every time I play an extreme metal track or album and let it run on to Roon Radio’s choices after the selection finishes, it picks a succession of completely inappropriate tracks. Jarringly different styles, multiple tracks from no-name artists, track after track from the two albums I gave a thumbs up, no tracks coming up from obvious good matches (so I can’t ‘thumbs up’ stuff that actually does match), multiple successive tracks from the same artist, etc.
Jumping from choosing Emperor to hearing Origin via some brutal death band with one EP that nobody has ever bought is the stylistic equivalent of going from Sinatra to 9 minutes into ‘A Walk To The Peak’ or some other ‘deep cut’ just because some people would use the word jazzy to describe both of them. I might want to listen to those other things at other times, but they’re not appropriate choices next to each other, just like Leonard Cohen and Mahler are both great, but don’t go together.
To be clear, this is nothing to do with highlighting appropriate tracks which I may not have come across yet, by way of encouraging new music discovery. It’s just terrible choices. I’ve spent ages rejecting tracks and so on in an attempt to help Roon learn, but to no avail. It feels like I’m constantly fighting the software, and makes listening to music an annoying, frustrating experience.
Then when I go to the Tidal app on my phone and pick a track and select ‘got to track radio’, an automatic playlist appears instantly, filled with just the right sort of music. Bliss. It’s not perfect, and Spotify’s version is better still, but I switched to Tidal because of the Roon integration.
It’s leading to me using Roon when I want to play specific pieces of music, but if I want to let the music play on, I’m using the Tidal app on my phone and airplaying it to my Roon endpoint instead of using Roon.
So my request - alongside Roon Radio, please consider adding a feature where Roon uses the selections from Tidal’s track radio feature. At least until such a time as Roon Radio can learn to make better choices.