Roon we need to talk (about genres)


Joining the conversation, representing the voice of Electronic music.

The current classifications are plain wrong. (Prodigy as Techno? Come on…)

Perhaps the solution is to have a community based database. Think about it. Can be a big success (look at Waze with it’s community based maps and reporting) and lot’s of fun for all involved.

Take a look at (RYM)
I think it fits what you’re looking for. If only Roon could use their metadata :pray:

The genre system on RYM is the best and most complete ever, IMHO.


Very interesting. Mine doesn’t behave this way at all. Here are a couple of things to try:

  1. Make sure that under Settings > Library > Import Settings the option for “Use Genres from Roon’s metadata database” is turned off.
  2. At the very bottom of that same screen, check which characters* are entered as “Tag delimiters for genre tag.” Compare these to what is in your actual files. Any character in this field will divide your file’s genres accordingly.*
  3. After making any changes, wait 20 minutes or so for the database to catch up. If you see a spinny thing at the top of the genre browser, it’s still processing. (Mine took maybe 15 minutes to strip out Roon’s genres for a 30K track library.)

If you are still seeing Roon (Rovi**) genres after doing this, it’s definitely time to submit a support request with Roon, because that seems to be a malfunction.

  • Whoa! I made a cool discovery while experimenting with this. If you use the backslash () in your file’s genre tags (e.g. Rock\Psychedelic) AND put it as a tag delimiter in Roon’s settings, it will actually create a hierarchy within Roon (Psychedelic will appear as a subgenre of Rock.) I knew JRiver would do this, but I didn’t realize Roon would too!

** It’s important to note that Roon isn’t doing any genre classification or artist spelling in house. All of this is being imported from Allmusic/Rovi/TiVO. It’s certainly valid to argue that Roon should be paying for a different metadata provider, but understand that they aren’t making any decisions about any individual artist or genre.

In closing, I’ll state again that any issues with genres are compounded many-fold by the fact that Roon lumps all a genres together in a big soup at the album level.


Edit Albums/Genres/Remove

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I have said this before somewhere else on this forum, but the perfect source would be Discogs, as it’s community run and covers just about every album ever released.

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Thanks. That works with a single artist. I do appreciate the suggestion, but it’s not what I am suggesting in terms of feature/function.

Select multiple artists under a Genre to take them all out of the Genre and “edit” disappears and there is no “remove from Genre” option. By contrast, doing the same thing within a Roon Tag, and the option “Remove from Tag” is right there in the 3 dots menu.

So while I can add or remove any object or group of objects from a Tag in 10 seconds, trying to do bulk work within Genres is impossible and even with a single object it is just very clunky. No way to curate a large collection, which most of us have.

Thus my point, let us edit/manipulate Genres just like Tags. Just duplicate the Tag function but specifically for Genres (with a few enhancement ideas I have - for example the Genre management view would need a “view Genres only” option so that the user can simply edit the Genre Tag hierarchy rather than also be viewing the objects to which that Genre is assigned).

This would also allow adding a Genre Tag to a Genre Tag, creating something similar and functionally equivalent to parent- and sub- genres and also allowing applying Genre Tags to more than albums and artists. For example, I have not found a way to assign a Genre to a Playlist.

What I’m suggesting is a bit of re-imagining how Genres work within Roon. The current system is slow and clunky and way too object-by-object driven, and it doesn’t match Roon’s rhetoric for sophisticated data models and flexible use cases. It is somewhat like the Album identification function…clicking those darned tracks up and down to get a match takes forever and just isn’t practicable for a large collection. Sure, Roon can try to improve the source of Genre metadata but that just isn’t the point – music lovers don’t and never will agree on the structure of Genres and we need to be able to build our own structures.

Ah, I see. My example is Album based (3 albums selected). You’d like to bulk edit Artists.

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Yes that would be useful. To be fair, I had not thought of translating artists to albums and then bulk-editing the Genres. So for example I could view all albums in a Genre and then sort by Artist, select albums in bulk and try to edit out Genres that way, albeit that does not take the Artist out of the Genre. It is also pretty clunky and doesn’t have the other benefits I’ve mentioned for my suggestion.

Thanks, Andy.
Yes, I have the import settings to use my genres and I have no delimiters as I only assign one genre per album.
I have submitted a support request but no response from Roon so far.
I am not going through my library and changing all the Genre labels by adding “x” at the end tin the hope that this will force Roon to load the given Genre and not try to place it in a hierarchy.
I have never understood why Roon has such problems with Genre right from the first release. Do we have hierarchies of artists? Album labels? Why do they feel the need to impose Genre structures on libraries that say to use the file tags?
Who knows except Roon, and they are not saying anything.

OK, now that I’m looking a little closer, I’m seeing something similar to what @Peter_Davies1 is describing. Two examples:

First, Roon has Americana and Bluegrass as sub-genres of Country. There are some albums in my library that have tracks in all three genres, but nowhere in my library (or in my worldview) are these subgenres of Country.

Similarly, Roon has Disco as a subgenre of R&B, but my files only have Disco as a subgenre of Pop. Again there are albums in my collection that have songs in all three genres, but this hierarchy is not mine.

I’m not sure if this is caused by roon dumping genres together at the album level, but I have to think it won’t get better until that problem is fixed.

So there is a brute force (i.e. dumb) way to subvert Roon’s enforcement of its hierarchies on genre:
I added " x" to each of my genre labels for all 100,000 files and now Roon gives me what it could not do the first time: a flat list of just my genre tags.
Roon: it is shaming that you are able to deliver so much user-magical empowerment but still hang onto your genre tag control like a rick! I guess it must be very important to you…

But if you do this, don’t you lose the nested sub-generes?

Yes, Max, that is true.
In my case, I have been using a ripped library via computer for twenty years. Over that time I have groomed the library to be very consistent with group and album names, formats etc.
Genre has always been the primary access path for me and, because of my intimacy with the library, the genres help break-up the library in ways that are meaningful to me, but not to others. Friends and family often complain about this! Most youngsters have no interest in seeing things more that two years old.
When I look at the Roon hierarchy, I have no idea what I am looking at - it has no meaning to me. I cannot understand those low-level categories nor why they are grouped as they are: French people do not group French music the way Roon does. It is a modern Anglo-Saxon perspective.
All of which is beside the point: Why does Roon impose Genre mapping for people why supply their own Genres and instruct Roon to use those file tag genres and not Roon Genres? Let people tag what they want and build the hierarchy (if any) that they want WITHOUT having to fight Roon for control.
Danny is on record for saying how surprised he was that some users feel so strongly about Genre. I wonder why Roon feels the same way! I am even more bemused that Roon should feel so strongly but do not even display Genre when displaying an album or track!!
In a previous installation of Roon, I did not have these hierarchy problems with Roon’s handling of my tags. It seems that something has changed but it remains indicative of Roon’s deeply conflicted approach to the whole matter of Genre.

Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing. I hope this thread and the other I’ve listed spurs the Roon Gods into reconsidering their approach to genre. Out of interest, what would you like to see implemented?

In fairness to Roon, they gave the Genre issue a lot of attention early one but, for some reason, they must consider it to be a core attribute of Roon that cannot be done away with - even if it looks like the switch to use Roon or tag genres solves the problem.
My one wish would be that the genre switch does what you expect: your genres are in Roon or in tags, including the multi-tag support that Roon does offer. If I set that switch to read tag genres, then I only want tag genres without any influence by Roon.
Now if wishes could come true…

I am really interested in that topic but I still don’t get the issue @Peter_Davies1 is having … I also use the genres stored in my file tags. When I added my music for the first time I also saw that Roon was using the genre-hierarchy of allmusic (which I don’t like at all).

I started to edit the genres and made them either a Top-Level Genre or set the parent genre exactly the way I want.


After doing that for all the genres I use (approx. 20 - 30) everything worked fine for me. I don’t care about the rest because I don’t use them. With this functionality everyone should be able to build his own hierarchy.

The only thing I learned is that the STYLE tag in the music file itself is interpreted as GENRE tag as well and can cause trouble if one is not aware of how things work.


GREAT Papa Jay!
I did not know that I could do that. I will build another database and try to get rid of the Roon genres completely.
Yes, I had learned that Roon conflates Style and Genre so I now display Style in MP3Tag so that I can stop any creeping in…

can anybody point me to a roon page showing the genre hierarchy?

Not aware of a Roon page, best I found when I was searching was a hierarchical select block on allmusic:

Niccolo, go to Menu/Settings/Library then select Genre Mappings (fourth item down).

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I found that for electronica something like the database @ Beatport which includes far more entries, far more accurate and useful genres/styles classification (possibly filled by the producer themselves), includes the record label (very useful for electronica!) and generally produces a good music discovery experience. (Compared to none at all for electronica with Roon/Tidal).

A tend to browser the Beatport catalog and then manually enter the titles in Roon… Worth it but such a shame as it still makes me crave for the possibilities of a better catalog for electronica (like actually usable “radio” for instance).