Request: Folder Browsing [Never happening]

Maybe a compromise is a file explorer extension that lets you right click and “play with roon.”

I have used a folder for each of my albums and always have. Even my mix tape albums are in folders with appropriate names. Roon doesn’t identify them, but still displays and plays them. I just search for the folder name.

I don’t know that there are many “anti-folder” people here. As I pointed out previously, it’s Roon that has stated categorically that folder searching will not be supported…ever. I would not care if it were a feature as long as it did not take away from the current user experience. I wouldn’t use the feature as I have never needed it in all of my time using Roon.


One outstanding Roon feature is that it manages to preserve all of its database information even as the storage layout for your music changes. That has helped me a lot as I’ve moved my music between different servers and folder structures. That benefit implies that music storage layout cannot be taken as a part of the Roon database that drives music selection (I’m making this short and simplified, but I’ve worked on these kinds of problems multiple times over a multi-decade career and I can add more detail if needed – just one historical comment, in the original Unix file system – which many more recent file systems imitate – files have unique IDs (inodes) but file or folder names are just labels for a path of inodes leading to a target inode; thus, there’s no such thing as a file’s folder, a file can be in many folders (hard links)). However, I can think of a useful compromise: an option to set a Roon tag (ROONSOURCE?) to a source folder suffix on import.


Like you, I’m also more aware of what’s in my collection with Roon. :+1:

This is the solution that seems somehow obvious to me. Most people are comfortable with a folder system precisely Because it is usually a classification system, like “genre” and “sub-genre”, that makes sense to the user. Being able to add roon tags based on user folder names (classifications) would be helpful to users.

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Probably the main reason why I am not as active in user groups like this one as could be is that they are populated by users who are only too willing to defend the makers of a product rather than addressing the issue being raised. Please stop asking posters why they need X or trying to tell them they really don’t need it and if they feel they do they just do not understand the product, its philosophy etc. This is not constructive. As to the point made by the OP, I could not agree more. I find the arguments by the makers that it is against their philosophy and everything Roon stands for not just infuriating but arrogant to the extreme! I have been a long time user and I too came originally from Sonos. For classical music lovers and possibly some others the ONLY (sorry for shouting) system that really gives complete access to the music is one that also allows folders to accessed directly. Now that its search facility has been improved Roon does a decent job finding my music but it is not perfect, whereas direct access is. When you are balancing composers, performers, opus numbers and all the rest any search system based on metadata will miss or confuse things. Direct access is the only answer. Consider a structure like the following (Debussy’s piano works only) and you may see what I mean (but arrogance may stand in the way):


I said above, I never really use browse by folder, but fact is I use it every time I copy music to my Core. For as long as my music collection lives in organized folders and sub-folders, I will want to browse them. The fact that I can’t do that in Roon is definitely restrictive and cumbersome.

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I use jriver mediaserver to maintain my library. jriver offers a folder view plus database views driven by metadata. I never use the folder view in my maintenance actrivities, rather I use the metadata to write to the folder structure (lossless/lossy on two different drives, artist, album, disk-track-trackname. This would not bee needed, but it keeps everything tidy on disc.

Having said this, there is really no need for this structure when listening and discovering via roon, given the metadata is present and or provided by roon.

Its a completely different approach than accessing music via a static structure. I fully understand why roon is not willing to support folder browsing. They are completely metadata driven.


I personally didn’t respond that file browsing is right or wrong, per se, just that the roon stance has been one of their few unequivocal decisions.
When roon first launched, with no streaming, it was a decision that challenged a large proportion of their user base. I presume as the user demographic moves to the majority being mainly streaming , as stated by roon, that the use case is decreasing so it becomes less likely that they will shift their decision.
Is that right or wrong, I have no idea.

Whilst I can understand people being disappointed that Roon won’t do folders I really don’t think you should be infuriated by it. They have made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of doing it and their reasons for this. Roon is what it is.

There are things I hate about Roon but I don’t demand they see things my way. All it means is that I will look at other software as it becomes available and see if it suits my personal needs better than Roon. Having used Roon from almost day 1 I am still to find anything else I would prefer to use.

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Interesting study of this very question for email:

There are several other papers by the co-authors that cover a lot more territory. TL; DR a minority of user really like the sense of control from folders, but they get less value from their organizational work than they think.

When Gmail came out, such people were very upset it did not have folders. Now…

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I just copy downloaded albums from my PC into Roon’s storage on my ROCK Core, and let Roon sort things out. Since I stopped using Media Monkey in a previous life, I have no idea what my folder organisation is these days. I don’t need to.


Ok, I appreciate that that works too. Must be my OCD that wants me to stick with using: “drive / genre / artist / album” even when Roon doesn’t need me to

I understand why people would want folder browsing, though I don’t feel the need for it myself.

The above quote is incorrect though. Roon’s concept is good, the execution is far from good. Metadata is flaky, handling of classical music is… let’s be kind and say non-existent.

It would probably work if the metadata were coherent and complete, but since this is not the case, we have to use cumbersome workarounds. For some issues, there are simply no workarounds possible.

This is a shame. After all, we are promised that “Roon understands our content”. Up to now, this is simply not true.

So yes, I can sympathise with users who ask for a neat organisational structure that can easily be navigated. I think even the most avid supporter of Roon can admit that it is not easy to find something specific without putting in a lot of work beforehand.


I completely disagree, @Frank_Daman!

Roon’s concept is excellent and it’s execution is more than good, it is excellent, but has room for improvement. Metadata is not in Roon’s control but it would help if they added Discogs. Classical is a problem because the data put out by the labels is terrible. Roon must improve how they handle box sets too.

Roon links all the data that is available in a way that is better than any thing else out there. So yes, “Roon understands our content”. They do need to get better at it though and I believe they will continue to do that over time.

If Roon is so terrible in your mind, why do you still use it?


But for those who dont know it worth mentioning that Roon uses MusicBrainz , and all the data in MusicBrainz is added by users. So if every Roon customer just added a handful of releases to MusicBrainz that would massively improve the database and all Roon users would benefit.


I found adding information = metadata to musicbrainz usually gives good results in Roon. musicbrainz is a community project and the data entered there is available for other use cases, like file taggers or other media management or playback software.


musicbrainz has official style guidelines, also dedicated ones for classical music. Of course not all users bother to read those and of course not every possible metadata combination is covered by the official guidelines. But there are regulars and staff around who are willing to help.

Agreed that musicbrainz needs some time to get used to. But it’s manageable. :slight_smile:


Yes I definitely would. If there was an option to turn it off so that you could not see the horrible folder structure and interface I would not have an issue.

I was a part time photographer’s assistant and used Aperture heavily since the first version, many of the user base lobbied Apple to add an option to use your own folder hierarchy, for the same reasons as you ask here: that’s how you have it set up and are used to using it. I got used to not seeing the folder structure and just letting Aperture do it’s thing. It saved me a hell of a lot of work and never want to go back to that.

My music folders are still structured as you would expect, after all it’s a logical structure but the thought of having to see the abhorrent and outdated folder view on the side of the screen would put me off using Roon and if there were no option to turn it off Roon would lose a user.

Just another date point, this is a forum for Roon users and you are going to get people for and against.

As for Roon being arrogant, well I think it’s arrogant to tell them that they should implement a feature that they have categorically stated they won’t do. If I didn’t like it I would stop giving Roon my money.