Solve the library/non-library conundrum and all the complexities it creates for tagging, focus, playlists etc

I can’t:

But that depends on what I’m playing: If I play an album from my library, it works. If I play a playlist, it doesn’t work. (At least for a playlist that contains titles that are in the library as well as titles that aren’t.)

EDIT: And, as the screenshot shows, Roon already knows that the track is in my library, because I can’t add it. That button is not greyed out for titles that are not in the library. So why can’t I add it to a tag?

Yes, that’s what I did.

Here is an example of a Playlist I made myself (based on an Album Tag - Nederlandstalig).
Most albums are Qobuz albums added to my Library, only some are local.
In the Playlist I can add a track to a Tag

If I now click Play Now to start playing the Playlist, and then click on the Queue, I still can add a Tag to a track in the Queue.

Still wondering what we are doing different!?

I did a few tests, and it seems it depends on where the title was added from:

Note the missing hearts on two of the tracks of my test playlist: Where there are hearts, I can add tags, where there are no hearts, I can’t.
Note especially the two identical tracks at the end: Both are the same track, one added from a Qobuz search in Roon, one added from within my library.
As the playlist I was talking about was copied from a Qobuz playlist, all tracks were added from Qobuz. Roon knows which tracks are in my library and which aren’t, as on those that are, the button to add them to the library is greyed out, even on tracks that were added from Qobuz. But still, I can’t add tags to those that were added from Qobuz.

Trying to explore with you.

First, I create the same playlist as you do, starting with the 1st 3 tracks, none of them in my library.

Than I add the KIDS album from Noga Erez to my Library.

And I add the same track Cipi to the playlist as track number 4

At this moment, in the playlist, I can add a tag to Track 4, not to track 1-3.

I.e. tracks in the playlist need to be in your library if you want to add a tag to them.
So far, everything as expected.

If I click Play Now for the playlist, and look at the queue, I can not add a tag to tracks 1-3, but I can add a tag to track 4

To me, everything still consistent.


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@anon90297517 See this post below, and some of the other posts earlier in this thread, that describe it issue. It mostly manifests itself when playing Roon Radio or a Tidal/Qobuz sources playlist. Those situations are playing Non-Library references to the track, even if the track actually exists in your library so adding it to a playlist will add the non-library reference.

Conversely, a playlist can contain both library references and a non-library references to the exact same track at the same time. The Library reference will be Taggable and show play counts etc, the Non-Library reference will not.


@anon90297517 & @zottel The thing, as I understand it, is as follows.
First you need to understand that the exact same tracks can exist in two versions in Roon: a library version and a non-library version.
Then you have to know: (1) when you make a local copy of a playlist, by default it are non-library versions of the tracks that you will find in your playlist. Even if the exact same track is also in your Roon library.
(2) The same is true if you are listening to a track (e.g. from Qobuz or Tidal) and you add it to a playlist, it is a non-library version that get’s added. Even if you first chose the option “Add to library”.
So, in all these cases you will find the library versions under My Library > tracks. There you can tag them, heart them, see the number of times they have been played etc.
If however you are playing a playlist or you are playing from Tidal/Qobuz, you will always be playing non-library versions, even if library versions exist. This implies that you will not be able to tag the track from the now playing screen or the history screen or the queue.
If you do want to tag them, like @zottel says, you first have to look up the library version under My Library > tracks and then you can tag from there.
Is this ridiculous? Yes, it is.
Is there a way around it? Yes, with much effort and time it is possible to replace the tracks in your playlists with library versions. And it is also possible to make sure that when you add a new track to a playlist, it is a library version that you add. This also involves extra (ridiculous) steps.


More or less. However, I would expect to be able to tag a song that is currently playing if it is in the library regardless of whether it was in the library when the playlist was created. Also, even if a track is already in the library, but I don’t search it there, but search it in the Qobuz part of Roon and add it to the playlist from there, that means it won’t be taggable.

@brian I understand that getting rid of the artificial Library boundary would be quite an engineering effort. In the interim, I wonder if it would be easier to make the “Add To Library” operation an implicit, and behind the scenes action when any Tidal object is Added to a playlist, tagged etc.

This, along with a clean up of existing non-library references, would go a very long way towards improving the user interface quirks and difficulties highlighted in this thread. While the larger Library re-engineering effort can continue behind the scenes.

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To my way of thinking, I want “Add to Library” to be an explicit action on my part, I would not want it to become implicit.

I think of browsing the Tidal and Qobuz catalogues as browsing in the record store. I may even ask to hear an album or two to see whether I like it. And if I do, then Adding it to my library is like purchasing it, taking it home and adding it to my record collection.

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I am with Geoff on this. There are possible knock on issues with having an implicit add. For example, if you are just adding tracks to a playlist using your concept, you are adding just a track to the library, but, you are adding the album object to the album screen. So, you will get a ton of albums on the album screen that reference one track.


Not sure if I’m overlooking something, but as Roon already knows if a track is in the library and greys the corresponding button, even without a large redesign I think it shouldn’t be too hard to make it work.
It might well make things ugly internally, though, and being a software engineer myself, I could understand a decision not to do such a thing if the great redesign is already on its way.

@Geoff_Coupe & @Rugby I understand your reasons not to make “Add to playlist” imply “Add to library” (and use the library version to put in the playlist). So maybe it could either
(1) become a part of settings (when I add a track to a playlist, always make it a library version right away: Y/N, or
(2) a two-step decision, after adding a track to a playlist: Do you also want to make it part of your library and use the library version in the playlist: Y/N.
Or, third possibility. You could have an option in and for each playlist. “Add all tracks to my library and replace the non-library versions in this playlist with the library versions.”


Why isn’t there a “Replace external tracks with local tracks” option?
Roon could even use downtime to do matching between the two so it would always use a local version if it’s available.
If you can search external databases for song versions, which Roon does, this shouldn’t be impossible.

This might also clear up the “This track is no longer available on Qobuz/Tidal”, by either deleting the track/album from our libraries, marking it clearly as unavailable, replacing it with a library copy, or segregating it to a special place in Roon where orphan tracks can be reviewed.


@zottel You are right. If you add a track from within your Roon library to a playlist, then and only then, it is the library version that gets added. So, if you are still building your library, a thing you can do goes as follows. You make a local copy of a Qobuz playlist. In it will be non-library versions of the tracks. You add them all to your Roon library. You go to My Library > Tracks. You arrange by date added. You select the ones that you have just added from your playlist. You Add them to a new playlist. Here you have your Qobuz playlist with library versions of the tracks in it. After comparing and checking, you can delete the playlist with the non-library versions.
There are two things that make this extra complicated.
(1) If some of the tracks in your Qobuz playlist, were already in your Roon-library before (e.g. because they are also in another playlist you already imported and added to your library), then those tracks will have another “Day added”, so it will be more difficult to find them under My Library > Tracks
(2) Adding a selection of tracks or all of the tracks in a playlist to your library, can only be done one by one. There is a bug (probably) that makes that if you select non-library tracks in a playlist and you go to the three dots in a circle on top, and you then choose “Add to library”… it does not happen. It does not work. Technical support is aware of this possible bug and has passed it on to the team to investigate. Can't add all selected tracks to library

PS: For Tidal users, the procedure is slightly different (and more complex).


@Francois_De_Heel Thanks for the tips. However, there is another problem: If tracks in the playlist were in Qobuz favourites, they will already be in the library. :upside_down_face:

I like @Andrew_Webb 's suggestion to implement a command to replace all non-library links in a playlist with library links where possible. I would add that this should also take into account album versions that have been grouped and always use the preferred version.

In my library, I have many low quality tracks that I ripped some 20 years ago when sound quality wasn’t an important topic to me. It’s important to be able to tell Roon not to use those, or generally a higher quality Qobuz version of the same track, but also to have control over when a local version should be used, and when it should be a Qobuz version.

And, of course, as I haven’t grouped all albums yet that I will have to group over time, and will also re-rip many of my CDs, it’s important that such a feature would allow a re-run whenever required.

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That’s the same extra complication we have in Tidal. I did not know it was also the case for Qobuz. So yes, this makes it extra complicated. You would need to “de-favorite” tracks in a Tidal/Qobuz playlist before following the workaround procedure. And if you have overlap between playlists (same track in different playlists), it might at some point drive you completely insane to try to get library tracks and library tracks only in your playlists.

Several people seem to want this “replace by library version” functionality for tracks in playlists suggested by @Andrew_Webb (@Seabreeze, @LaurentZ, @Gafflyn, @Jack_O_Donoghue, @killdozer). See in this thread also: Solve the library/non-library conundrum and all the complexities it creates for tagging, focus, playlists etc - #6 by Francois_De_Heel

I would like to check if there are also people who see disadvantages connected to adding such a feature?

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Can I summarize this thread so far as follows?

  1. Roon is aware that the user experience for Tidal/Qobuz and specifically playlist users, is not what it should be. They are working on it but can not share any details about timing/roadmap.

  2. A lot of it is caused by the library/non-library architecture of the database. This issue has been on the table for five years or longer. So there is no saying when it could/would be solved in a fundamental way.

  3. In the meantime, it seems there might be at least two improvements that would benefit Tidal/Qobuz/playlist users:

3.1 Some kind of possibility to replace non-library tracks by library tracks in playlists (not automatically though, but optional - since not everybody wants her tracks in playlists to be library tracks). See: Solve the library/non-library conundrum and all the complexities it creates for tagging, focus, playlists etc - #55 by Andrew_Webb & Solve the library/non-library conundrum and all the complexities it creates for tagging, focus, playlists etc - #6 by Francois_De_Heel.

3.2 When you add a track (from Radio, queue, search…) to a playlist, that you have the option of making that track a library track and putting the library version in the playlist. Now it takes: (1) add the track to your library, (2) go to your library, find the track, add it to a playlist. On top of that, you can only do that after the track finishes playing.

These two things will not solve everything for everyone (like for instance two-way sync or the 10K Tidal limit). But it will help Tidal/Qobuz/playlist users a lot without diminishing or even changing possibilities for others. And it would create a lot of happy Tidal/Qobuz/playlist users because, after that, they could fully enjoy the many possibilities Roon offers (tagging, focus, hearts, etc).

My question for the Roon team (@brian, @dylan). Is there any chance that we will see this improved functionality for Tidal/Qobuz/playlist users anytime soon? Are you (planning on) actively working on this? Or do you choose not to, because you prefer to wait for a thoroughly rethought structure where the library/non-library silos are abandoned altogether?


Thank you, @brian! It’s heartening to hear that this is something you are aware of and working on. I understand that it is complex and based on systems put in place long ago. And no doubt you are at the mercy of Tidal’s API.

If you need people for that focus group, I’ll be happy to participate. I’m a Gen X’er: I grew up in the mix tape era, so playlists are at the heart of my music listening and sharing experience, but I went digital early enough that the library curation features of iTunes (shudder), MediaMonkey, and JRiver are native to me. I’m a librarian, so the metadata aspects come pretty naturally. Also, I’ve spent a good bit of time poking and prodding at Roon’s Tidal integration: Tidal Integration: What's Still Broken in 1.8