Problem with "various artists" - inconsistently selectable

I’m having an issue with “various artists” albums/compilations in Roon. Sometimes the “various artists” text on the album page is blue, and selectable -

With other albums, it isn’t! -

In both cases, I have the “primary artist” and “album artist” set to “various artists”, and the albums are set to being compilations -

So why this discrepancy?

On a related note, should one enter “various artists” in the “primary artist links” section for albums with various artists? Or just in the “album artist” section?

Ok, this is complicated…

The two “various artists” are different. One has been added by Roon (the one you can’t select) and one by you (the one you can select).

When you added “various artists”, you had to create the link - it wasn’t there originally - and Roon has created a new primary artist. I don’t believe there is a way to add the Roon version of “various artists” to an album via the Roon interface. (I don’t know the reason for this)

Roon creates that link in one of three ways:
By its own metadata when an album is identified, or
By looking at the “album artist” metadata tag in your files, or
By leaving the album unidentified.

If you want that link you need to edit your tags outside of Roon and set up the “album artist” tag as “Various Artists”. Then tell Roon to use the file version of “album artist” in Metadata Preference for the album.

Now having said that, the Album Artist field in Roon’s album edit screen is a text field describing the album artist. If you leave the Primary Artist field blank, and type “Various Artists” in the Album Artist field, that will effectively do what you want.

Alternatively, add your own “Various Artists” link to all your relevant albums, overriding Roon.

Thanks very much for the info @BrianW; however, I tried various iterations of the above method and it still doesn’t work; see screenshots:

I also tried, under “album artist”, ticking the file version of “various artist”, as well as typing it into the edit window - that doesn’t fix it either. I also checked this album in MP3tag - the “album artist” field is listed as “various artists” there:

Ok, I thought you wanted it to be consistently like Roon. So which way round would you prefer?
If it is to be like Roon, then it won’t be clickable.
If you want it clickable, then it must be your own, added, artist.

In terms of which way round I would prefer - I want the album artist (in this case, “various artists”), to be clickable, so that when I click it it takes me to a screen with all albums with “various artists” as the album artist. That’s the way it works for all other album artists. I’m still not sure how to achieve this.

Make a backup.

Go to the Albums Browser.
Using the filter box, type Various Artists
This should show all your relevant albums, although it might also show albums with “various artists” in the title. Select them all - right click, select all if that’s OK, or select just the ones you want.

Edit > Edit albums > primary artist > remove.
Remove all “Various Artists” (This unselects all the Roon ones and, to make it simple, any you have added).
Add new artist “Various Artists”.
save.

That should do it. You should now only see blue links.
You will have to add the new “Various Artists” to any new such album. It won’t happen automatically.

EDIT… There seems to be a small bug in my Roon (W10 PC)… It wouldn’t correctly do more than 10 at a time - it created a number of “Various Artists”, each of which belonged to 10 albums. You can either merge these, or do the work in three goes.
For the first,select all and remove the “various artists”.
For the second, select 10, and do the create and add edits.
For the third, select the rest, don’t delete the new “Various Artists”, but add the new existing artist… (I think this third go has no 10 album limit).

I’m sorry about this wrinkle.

Thanks @BrianW - that seems to work, at least for the small number of albums I’ve tried. Does this method make the “primary artist” set to “various artists”? Don’t we want the “album artist” to be set to this?

You are in essence creating an Artist object outside of the scope of Roon called Various Artist and forcing Roon to use it. You will have to manually curate this the whole time you use Roon.

Personally, I would instead of doing this, just focus on Various Artists as added by Roon or your file tags and then create a Various Artist bookmark. That way any future album added that fits the focus will just be in the bookmark.

Yes, which is necessary because it’s a link. Links in Roon are the key to bringing other information objects into the mix. Normally the Primary artist link would connect you to metadata about that artist; here it connect you to other albums with that same link.

The Album artist field is textual only - no links. (Although Roon will attempt to find links within it. See here for example). This text is used for sorting, filtering and searching and usually matches whatever description is on the album.

If two albums have the same primary artist then they will appear together as an artist’s work when you click that artist - the album artist is immaterial then.

A good alternative. You would need to use my first post to get all your albums to Roon’s “various artists” first.

Take your pick.

Many thanks both. Another thing that had thrown me off course was the difference between doing a “search” for various artists, and “filtering” the album list for various artists - they give up completely different results, with the latter producing the correct results. I’m not sure why there is this difference.

Whilst using the filter and creating a bookmark is definitely easiest, I like the “various artists” to be clickable when viewing an album, to take the user to a list of all entries with various artists, so I think I’ll go down that route.

Perhaps because magnifying glass search is wider in scope (includes streaming services if you have them) and will attempt to cope with minor alternatives.

Filtering is exact and only applies to the page being viewed.

Anyway, pleased you have got something sorted out.

Because you are searching two different things. filtering is just scanning for the text in the selected cohort. Search is searching database objects, I think. It is not a straight text search like filtering.

Thanks for clearing that up. Every day is a schoolday!