Populating library Album version metadata

Specifically as it applies to a library of local media, I have commentary on “Album version” for library metadata.

I appreciate that an “Album version” can be collected from an album’s “metadata” to be included with the album information that is displayed in the library UI, as this is one way to add personal version information to an album in the Roon library. But, I was conflicted with respect to how to populate this effectively and consistently.

First, my understanding is that this information can be extracted on import via the VERSION tag, from Album title, and the file path per information encapsulated in various bracket types: (), {}, , <>. I did some experiments with this and have some feedback.

  1. Why a tag named “VERSION”, why not “ALBUMVERSION”? OK, I realize that ROON is using what was already out there, and there does not appear to be any use/definition of a tag called ALBUMVERSION. I did some basic research on the correct interpretation of this tag. At Ogg Vorbis Documentation (xiph.org) it states:

The version field may be used to differentiate multiple versions of the same track title in a single collection. (e.g. remix info)

This would imply that VERSION should/could be track specific (see my 3rd point below), but Roon is using this information in an album context, like ALBUMARTIST would be used.

  1. Unless there has been a change, if my experimentation was valid, and I recall correctly, it was my interpretation that when multiple VERSION tags existed in a single file, that only the first tag was used.

Why not concatenate the contents of all VERSION tags in a file?

  1. Also, the last time I experimented, I found that the contents of the VERSION tags on all the files of the album, if they differed, were used. This implies that a multi-element Album Version can be effectively created from aggregating the VERSION tags from each track. I am album centric, and I am not sure what cases could manifest a need to tag various files of an album with a different version (per context of Album version), other than the overcome the point made in (2) above.

  2. If Album version can be determined from a single file with a single VERSION tag, then why bother tagging all files with the same VERSION tag?

  3. For the example of having “(Remastered)” in the Album Title, where that can also be considered an Album version, Roon provides the ability to extract that information. Although I found that having this information in parenthesis can generate significant conflict with other album titles that do use parenthesis in the title, as as such I have disabled extracting Album version in parenthesis, and thus need to encode this information using another method if I wish to have it used.

  4. There a fundamental conflict of using a tag that was intended to be used define track specific information in an album context, and my conclusion was to disable “Extract Album version from VERSION tag”.

Maybe consider making the tag that is used a configurable option?

  1. What about the cases where you want to add something that is more personal/user library specific? This is what I was interested in.

In the end, I ended up deciding to add my personal album version information in the file path, in , per the folder name containing the files for the album. This allowed me to:

  • Keep the definition in one place, and keep it specific to the album (per its containing folder)
  • When the album version is comprised of multiple-parts, to enforce the order of how the parts are presented. I most typically use [DRxx, CD] to encapsulate the TTDR album measurement and the media source as Album Version information. Other information like media format, bit rate, etc is already part of the UI.
  • Potentially concatenate my personal album version information with any version information already in the album title, like {Remastered}, that may be in the album file path or album title.
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