Roon metadata vs file tags = hell

Can i say that tags/metadata in Roon are driving me crazy? I don’t really understand the tag logic in Roon, and as far as I can see it’s not explained. So, some questions:

  1. As I can see in “Roon - File Tag Best Practice” it seems that Roon does not read the ARTIST tag but only ALBUMARTIST (multiple). Is that correct? WHY? It seems quite unusual…

I get A LOT of inconsistent situations:

  1. Situation 1: two artist (tagged both as ALBUMARTIST and ARTIST, recognized with no problem as primary artists

  2. Situation 2, identical as the previous one (same tags structure) but only one primary artist recognized.

    it seems that 2 of 3 artists are recognized as performers and not artists? Is that correct?
    BUT, the 2 artists ARE main artists of other albums (and of this one). And so? I don’t undestand.

  3. Situation 3: I have only one artist (identical ALBUMARTIST, ARTIST, BAND tag), and none of them is accepted, and album is associated to Various artists.

    In this case, it seems “Academy etcetc” cannot be a primary artist? Maybe in roon, but in my tag setup it is a primary artist…

NOTE: in the 3 situations, my settings are to prefer file tags (artist, album and so on) over roon metadata. So, really, I don’t understand what’s going on.

  1. Finally, situation 4: in general, I undestand that roon treats artists and composer at a different level (i don’t like this, but anyway, it’s ok). So looking to Ornette Coleman I get a list of albums as a performer, or a list of compositions as a composer (but i would like the option to see for composer also a list of albums with tracks of that composer: the composition list is appropriate for classical music i guess, but not in general…).
    But looking at J.S. Bach I obtain in the performer list albums like this one:

    in which it seems that Roon has recognized Bach as a main artist (and why is it on a second line below pepe romero?). in my tags (every album) Bach is never an artist/performer, but it’s always tagged as a composer. and then? in some albums it’s recognized just as a composer, in others (like this one) also as performer. no difference in tags structure. i can only notice that in this album Bach is the only composer. But i also have TONS of albums with composer=Mozart that are randomly recognized as primary artist=mozart or primary artist=various artists (like the one in situation 3). Even though in my file there is alway a precise ALBUMARTIST tag.

  2. situation five: three albums, same album but different versions, files tagged in exactly the same way (albumartist=stevie ray vaughan and double truble), two different results:

    In one case roon’s main artist is SRV, in the other one is SRV & double truble. i say, tags are identical. besides, i have asked to prefer file tags.

result, my library is A MESS.

one more observation: Roon is not a new thing on the market. there are people with thousands albums tagged properly for other softwares, and i think that if you want them to migrate to roon… you should give proper and correct informations. the descriptions in “Roon - File Tag Best Practice” is far from being sufficient. just to evaluate if roon is ok for me, if i want to try to correct some tags levels of my files to get a better result in roon, or if this job is so devastating that i give up immediately.


Welcome to the wonderful world of Roon.

I was definitely in your camp for a long while, the strange composer, artist, assignations have been driving me nuts also for the past year.

Now, Im going into my 2nd year with a sense of Zen, I’ve more or less only very recently accepted now that Roon is an idiosyncratic brilliant friend who will never be perfect and will annoy me on occasion, but someone who I couldn’t do without.

Moving past my OCD associated with years of tagging and collating music is not easy; now I am just ensuring basic tags are in place and that files a embedded with images, and that the art folders and multidisc folders are labeled correctly and then I let our mutual friend do its stuff with the data, as mad as it may appear.

Now I am trying to simply relax and enjoy the stream of conciousness listening which Roon can provide (aided mainly by the reviews, and comprehensive linking between artists and musicians and such) which is marvellous.

Maybe you’ll get resolution to the issues you specifically mention, but sure as anything there’ll be ten more quirks which will pop up and niggle you over the coming months if you let them. As one who has lived through all that, I urge you to consider just kicking back and enjoying what Roon does well and trying to ignore the relatively minor things it’s not so good at.


Also, feel free to ask questions when you hit a roadblock, but try to search the forum and the Roon Knowledge Base before asking — many of your questions have already been answered.

And there’s always the Feature Requests area. The Roon guys monitor the feature requests very thoroughly.

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Why embed art in the tags when a simple folder.jpg in the album folder will do the trick? It makes it a lot easier when you are looking at the folder structure to view the album art and replace it if you find better art later on.

Purposes outside Roon. For example my car audio system can only display embedded album art.

@dpstjp Yep James is right, mostly for portable use. I do both in fact, have folder.jpg or cover.jpg in the folder and embed also.

Do you embed a thumbnail with the main cover as the folder .jpg?

We use my Pono in the car so embedding artwork for mobile use is unnneccesary.

No, i embed large files, anything over about 4mb, i downsize, however.

Sallah48 has it exactly right. I am in essentially the same position and in a similar mental state about Roon, having lost the will to go on arguing. Seeing the fresh experiences of others will still prompt me to bleat anew though. Eventually, I tell myself, heads will be withdrawn from sand and users will have the option to use their FULL tag information, as opposed to the current inadequate sops thrown to us.

I am a lifer and use Roon for hours every day, but it does not mean that I am satisfied with the doctinaire approach to how we should see the data handled (or ignored).


I am trying to agree with you :flushed:

For Rock etc I am 100% with you. Classical, the jury is still out

I am trying the lie back listen and stop worrying approach , so far so good …

I still think the best way to improve Roon is constructive comment from Real Users , hence why I “bought in “


I feel this sentiment from time to time as well. More often when I post a suggestion and people fight it rather than help refine it. Suggested workarounds are great, if fully effective, and the suggestions are always appreciated (unless the subtext is a fight against the suggestion). However workarounds are acceptable only for so long.

I agree with Sallah. Roon does things I’ve not seen before and that I would have trouble living without (in a “it’s just a hobby” sense), but it also has tremendous idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, really quite a dogmatic attitude on occasion.

I personally would benefit very little from a folder view. But I find the resistance to it to be astonishing and so I’ve supported posters on this point because I would like Roon to be a more open standards sort of application.

My suspicion is that this is more of a conscious decision and direction than it is just the result of a product in-process where we will eventually see this happen:

This is because I think the Roon team is interested in inter-operability only in a way to draw us in, but not in a way that lets us out. I refer specifically to track-by-track, album-by-album, or artist-by-artist level data. And I refer not to the ability to export Roon curating at this level, although that might solve the issue, but rather to Roon inter-operability with standard methods of collection organization which already exist in many users’ collections, which is mainly folder-based organization and embedded metatags other than the handful of standard ones that Roon already leverages.

My gut feeling is that Roon wants us to go object-by-object within Roon to apply Tags and bookmarks rather than to be able to batch import this curating with greater inter-operability. If we could leverage these curating efforts that exist outside of Roon, and import them into Roon, then that means we could continue to curate our collections outside of Roon and then more easily import them in, meaning our collections would have greater portability should Roon cease to exist, lose its Tidal integration, or be purchased by a big company and repurposed (or if a better product comes along).

By requiring this work to be done within Roon, and not usable within other media players, Roon has us in a position of having to lose all this work if we leave Roon. That makes it sticky. It’s a Venus flytrap. It’s a good one. I love to use Roon.

I don’t like attributing such intentions - it seems accusatory. It is also Roon’s product and their privilege to make their own decisions. But I just cannot see any other rationale for some of these decisions. Folder access is not a way to circumvent the wonderful browsing capabilities of Roon. It is a way to augment them and assist those of us who have spent years of our lives – like hundreds of hours on weekends organizing our collections meticulously – fit our media into that Roon browsing paradigm.

Same with our custom embedded metatags - this is really what applies to me, not folders. I have spent countless hours embedding this information, and I know others have as well. I want this logic in my files, not just proprietarily stored within the Roon database, so that I know that this investment of time is not stuck within one application. Yes, there are configurations and decisions within any sophisticated media app. But not at the object-by-object level – many other media players are capable of leveraging the embedded data and not nearly as reliant on their own closed, proprietary track-by-track., album-by-album, or artist by artist level data. To me, this stuff ought to be in the file, or in the folder, or in the choice of folder organizations, or in the filename, or the foldername. Something that can be leveraged repeatedly and not stuck within one application.

OK enough rant for today. I do enjoy Roon. I just think we have to have our eyes open - there is a tension between Roon’s proprietary choices and those of us who like our collections “just so” and do not want the work to make it that way to be trapped only within Roon.


You reflect mine and I suspect a fair number of others opinions.

Being retired I can spare the time to keep my old system up to date. JRiver. The effort I put into my library will not be overwritten by Roon, that in one sense is a good thing.

The converse is that the effort I put into Box Sets is ignored because I used Custom Tags.

As I mentioned above , the jury is still out for Classical music. Navigation in Roon is VERY different to what I had previously so a mind set change is needed

I keep wondering if I should stay put with old system for actual listening and use Roon for information only. That should raise an odd eyebrow

It’s the classic love hate bit, I am determined to give Roon a fair bash, so we’ll wait and see


Sorry, I really don’t share your misgivings. I really don’t think the Roonies are approaching this as building a better Venus Fly Trap, but rather building a richer object-based data model for music (plus a better delivery mechanism) than anything else that is currently available. Sure, the inevitable result will be that it becomes an effort to step back to a simpler model based around ID3 metadata, with all its shortcomings (that still remain after all these years). I’m happy to use their product, and I reject any notion that I’ve been drinking their Kool-Aid. I’m also keeping my eyes open, but at the moment, I like very much what I see. More power to their elbows, I say…


I fully agree James, it feels sometimes “disdainful”. When a user “did not stubbed his toe against a missing feature”, why make assumptions a feature is not implemented. If I ask for something it’s important for me, otherwise I wouldn’t request it.

And for some others: “c’est le ton qui fait la musique”.

Im in this position now, just beginning to accept that I’m going to have to get more heavily into tagging object by object, as you say, to improve things.

But, and it’s a big but, if Roon want us to invest heavily in this, timewise, then they’ll have to make the whole shebang more portable, or more easily migratable between computers. And they’ll need to be able to provide this on portable devices, so we can take a portion of our collections away with us and have access to them in cut-down form with all relevant tags/playlist/bookmarks appertaining to the available albums on the other devices as we need them. THEN I’ll be happy to invest more heavily my time in tagging and bookmarking within Roon.

You don’t have to do the tagging within Roon (and I’d assert that tagging within Roon often isn’t the most efficient approach). You just have to use a good tag editor and understand how Roon handles tags.

Hi David. Thank you for the suggestion. I have reviewed that KB article before but I will give it a close second look. My initial reaction to it was that it wasn’t really what I am referring to.

Some of us have used custom embedded metatag fields that are not standard. For example, I have metatags called “mood” (i.e. Sunday morning mellow) and “group” (i.e. “Chicago 80s bands”). I want to import those into Roon in a fairly automated fashion so that there is minimal manual work involved. Roon does not support just any tag - there are defined, limited fields. That is the challenge.

Since I am not a huge classical music buff, I may try to repurpose one of the fields that Roon supports for Classical purposes. But this would be a workaround and actually pollute the metatags in the files. I would just love for Roon to allow focus or sort based on custom embedded metatags.

This is probably not news to you, but the kind of ad hoc classifications you’re describing are well suited to Roon Tags (Hamburger menu > Tags). I only use these in a limited way, and candidly, I don’t know how you’d automate the process of moving/copying these from your embedded metadata. Maybe one of the Roon guys has an idea?


The Roon team has made some suggestions, but they are pretty time consuming, manual, and static. The best suggestion was to create an M3U playlist out of all the files with a given embedded tag and the import that playlist into Roon, then tag the files or albums that way.

That would likely work but (1) Roon only recognizes tracks within the same storage location as the M3U file and cannot cross storage paths (which is kind of weird…it really should work as long as the paths are consistent with the paths from the Roon core), so it would be quite laborious; (2) it is hard to navigate to all the objects I want to tag by this method, from a playlist of tracks, but Brian from Roon did have a workaround to get to albums, and (3) it is a static, manual import. I’d like something that is dynamic, although forcing a rescan is fine.

Short of Roon just fully supporting focus, search, sort by custom embedded metatag directly, here is the best suggestion I have seen:

(1) User file-embeds a custom metatag with a field named something like ROONTAG-ALBUM; value=Bootleg

(2) Then upon forced rescan, Roon tags the album as TAG=Bootleg; it should support multiple instructions like this

(3) Roon also remembers each file that was a source of these tagging instructions so that if they change (i.e. I edit the embedded metadata in my file) then it is updated dynamically

That would be quite helpful. The other part of this potentially glorious solution would be the Boolean logic support for tag combinations discussed in another thread. Those together would be quite powerful.

It was a similar situation with respect to how the queue used to behave. I was firmly in the “non-destructive” queue camp and the suggestions the Roon team made to those who wanted to approximate such functionality were largely unworkable (and, as with folder views and custom tag support, I found the vitriol directed at users who wanted such a feature astonishing). But the Roon team did listen to the feedback on my hear forums and tweaked the queue to give me what I needed. That was enough to make me sign on for a lifetime subscription. Based on that experience, I hold out hope for robust support for custom tags and a search/funnel/filter interface that lets me find what I want regardless of which icon or box I clicked on when I started my search (as I’ve said in a number of other places, the fact that you can’t sort your search results is just baffling to me).