Roon prefers Tidal to local library

This seems like a recent phenomena, but I could be mistaken.

I have a pretty large HD library accessible to Roon but, when selecting an artist (or radio), I’ve noticed that the tracks being played are almost always sourced from Tidal rather than my own library.

No particular issue here that I can put my put my finger on as being a concern.

Just curious as to why this is the case.

Roon Radio uses machine learning to identify tracks that best match the seed track. This is based on millions of plays and consequently a much larger selection than your library. Selected tracks are based on release information—there may be multiple versions of the same song—not media. So it is inevitable that more tracks are played from streaming services—Radio is about discovery.

Is it about Discovery? I actually do not think so.

If it is about Discovery, then it should never choose music in your library and should be about discovering new music. It doesn’t do that.

If you want to argue that it helps you discover your own library, well, then it should be playing tracks selected from your own library, preferentially, if they exist, and especially, if they are the higher resolution. It doesn’t do that either (which is the gist of the OPs post).

There is no discovery value, at all, in Radio playing the exact same track from Tidal/Qobuz over what you have in your library.

Radio for me plays a lot that isn’t in my library and therefore is discovery.

I disagree. Radio is the primary way I broaden my listening horizons and discover new artists and new material by artists I already know. Inevitably some tracks will be in my library since machine learning is based on what people are listening to for a given seed. I think that’s fine too since it connects the new with the familiar.

Restricting Radio to your own library is about (re)discovering music you’ve added to your library. This still picks music from TIDAL/ Qobuz and I for one add a lot of albums to my library based on Radio playback, forum recommendations etc. but may not get around to playing them for some time. My small library has almost 50,000 tracks and I need a little help finding those hidden gems every now and then.

I think resolution is irrelevent too; I’d rather listen to a poor recording of something special than missing out (Roon does select the highest quality for a given release.)

Different horses for different courses I guess.

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I agree. If I listen to my favorite Billy Stewart album, I like that Roon Radio then follows that with tracks from within my linked library (Tidal and Qobuz) as well as tracks not linked. I am usually in a certain mood depicted by the album I just listened to and, most important to me, is to continue that mood. I have discovered a lot of new material as well as artist I had not thought about in many years. Like most other aspects of Roon, it just works for me.

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But wait, gentlefolk. I’m not just referring to Roon Radio. For instance, I have Cat Stevens flagged as a favourite and I also have a FLAC 192 kHz 24 bit version of Tea for the Tillerman in my own library.

If I start playing Cat Stevens as a selected artist (not Roon Radio nor the album), invariably Tea for the Tillerman will kick in pretty quick and every track played from Tea will be Tidal’s FLAC 44.1 kHz 16 bit version.

I’ve noticed this over and over again. I’m more of an artist/album Roon user than Roon Radio and almost always see Roon ignoring my library, with higher definition items to play tracks from Tidal.

This is in no means a major issue. Just curious - shouldn’t Roon prefer the higher definition item readily at hand?


Has there been any more discussion about this? I’m noticing it too. If I’m playing Billy Joel as the artist, I’d like it to source my 5.1 tracks from my library, not the same track on Tidal. This seems to happen more and more, it just never seems to pull from my library.

One work-around for this problem is to “shuffle” the artist as explained to me by Scott G.

Using “shuffle”, Roon will only source from the local library. I like this much better because I can more effectively curate my tracks. I have found that disliking a track in my local library will not stop it from being played from Tidal if I just “play” the artist. That can be frustrating.


Since I noticed it, I have been paying more attention to see what Roon does. To my observation, Roon does not EVER play a track from my local library when there’s a streaming version. This does seem recent.

It is certainly not a fatal issue. But does seem like a waste of bandwidth.

Actually, I have just noticed something. I don’t think the problem is with Roon Radio per se. And I am pretty sure I would have noticed this issue before if it had been around a long time, so it MUST be recent:

Go to an identified album in your library. Click Versions:

Click a Tidal or Qobuz version (not in library). From the screen for that album, click Versions:

The library version isn’t there! Roon is not translating from Tidal/Qobuz back to library/local versions!

Something broken maybe?

That’s odd, I tried the same thing and saw my library version both times, not sure why you don’t see yours… Thanks for sharing the updated discussion on it. It’s pretty frustrating as Roon never seems to pick my local version. I’ll need to check to see how it counts the number of plays I give each track. I assume it lumps them back together - it looks like it does. That means it knows it’s the same song, so why default to lower quality version?