Sort albums by artist

First of all, thanks for the great update but I found a bug in my setup. I can’t sort my artist by last name. What ever I do they will only sort by first name. Is it something I have missed?


As far as I can see, you can only sort artist by “name”.

I have the option of " last name" or " first name" in Artists sort by

Sorry, didn’t realise that it was in the settings.

Checked it and it seemed to work for me - at least for the artists I checked. For example, John Denver was then filed under D for Denver.

Lucky U! It doesn’t work for me :confused:

This has always behaved erratically. Go to albums (all), and navigate to somewhere you see a individual artist (not a group). Now open settings on top of that, and click back & forth between First/Last. You should see the sort change appropriately. But this setting doesn’t seem to ‘stick’ & often requires repeating the above process.

No change here. I’m stuck in " sorting by first name "

you can sort artists by first name or last name, but albums dont have “artists”. They have “main performers”, and a “performed by” value that is the name written on the cover of the album. There is no lastname version of that value.

tagging @brian here in case he has something else to add.


lol – well, just butchered an edit and then tried a copy/paste to reinstate post, but…

OK – trying again.

I’m ~99% sure that in v1.0 the behavior was different. You could go into albums from the left (or overview -> view all; same thing). Then sort albums by artist in upper-right drop-down box. Previously, in 1.0, the view-artists by fname/lname toggle in the main settings menu would change the way the albums were sorted by artist (as it should) from fname to lname, just as toggling the view-compilations-by various/title did (and still does).

Neither setting stayed ‘fixed’ very well, which is why I remember it so vividly.

Anyway, even if I’m crazy & just think I remember it this way, the scrolling-through-the-albums screen (when sorted by artist) is one of the more enjoyable things in Roon.

Now however, it’s stuck in Fname mode, which is unfortunate. Personally, I hate that mode (Jack, Jerry, Jim, John, etc), and historically, it’s a polarizing issue. Seems like we would’ve seen a number of posts asking to sort either lname/fname…

Any chance you can check on this?

1.0 was different.

See the "Album Artists and “Performed By” in the 1.1 release notes for more information about what changed here.

Sorting by the canonical name of the first artist in the album’s main performers list (what 1.0 did) may have had some convenient consequences, but it was also fundamentally at odds with the notion of “prefer local album artist” and failed to represent some fairly common situations accurately (one example: the same person might release multiple albums under different names).

I love you guys but this is the wrong decision.

1.0 worked pretty much perfectly sorting my 6000 albums by the last name of the artist. After years of dealing with Sooloos sorting by first name (useless) this was a huge relief.

What? Sorry? So an album by artist “Nicolas Hodges” does not have a last name? I can assure you I do in real life, and crucially I did in Roon 1.0, allowing me to be sorted along with the thousands of other artists in my collection. You can’t deny either of those two facts.

@brian, I’m sure you have lots of technical reasons, but the “convenient consequence” you have removed is that albums cannot be sorted by artists in any useful way.

We are back to the Album Artist sort of Sooloos 2.0. Major facepalm guys.

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Ludwig! This is very well said. I agree with you 100 %.
In Roon 1.0 there were no problem getting Zappa an Zetterlund at the end of the sorting. Come on Roon, software updates are supposed to take two steps forward not two steps back. Let us have the choice to sort by last name of first name.

OK – I see that it’s easy enough to change the performed-by via an edit within Roon to eliminate the new fname-default scenario. OK for me, since I was planning to do something wholesale along these lines anyway.

But for others who don’t really have any interest in mucking with this stuff, they are currently stuck in Jack/Jerry/Joe/John mode. Vitriol will ensue…

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Despite attempts in this thread to over-simplify this issue, there is a lot of subtlety here, and this part of the product design is deeply interconnected with others. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we roll back “editing support” or “prefer file data”, right? Because that’s what would be required if we were to simply reverse this decision–refining the approach to album artists was a direct prerequisite to implementing those features.

Also, lets not try not to confuse “technical” concerns with “product” concerns. it was product-level feedback from this community that drove us to change how this works–the technology is equally capable of implementing whatever we come up with.

Fundamentally, we made a mistake in v1.0: the mistake was to eschew the (almost universally adopted) concept of “album artist” and instead use a list of links to main performers to represent the album’s “artist”. This has several serious product consequences:

  • It fails to represent collaborative albums cleanly or predictably. See this thread for background.
  • It forces all albums released by the same artist to spell that person’s name in the same way. This creates many misleading, confusing, and inaccurate situations.
  • Data structured in this way can’t be cleanly unified with album artist data stored in file tags.
  • It’s deeply unfriendly to grooming

A side-effect of that mistake was that in 1.0 we were sorting albums based on the name of the first artist in their (arbitrarily ordered) main performers list. Last-first sorting is an artist level concept, not an album level concept, but since we were using artists to drive album-level sorting, that feature came “for free” in the album browser. It was an accidental (but happy) consequence of a poor design decision.

In 1.1, we’ve corrected that mistake, and created a first-class concept of “album artist” via the “performed by” field, and that has enabled many improvements in the product. It was not a decision taken lightly, or without considering the consequences.

There is no good source for last-name-first sortkey data for the “performed by” field. Last-first sorting is no longer a natural part of the system–it’s something that needs to be built from scratch, in a different way, in the 1.1 model.

From a practical standpoint, sorting albums by an artist’s last name is clearly useful, but the task at hand is not “putting the old feature back”, it’s “designing a version of the old feature that works in the new model”. This is tricky, because it means doing something automatic to generate sortkeys for album artist data.

We’ve spent the past few hours trying to work out a scheme for re-building this functionality in the new model. Obviously, many common cases are simple to handle gracefully, but there are quite a few nasty edge cases here (some of which 1.0 also handled poorly).

We’re going to take a stab at re-building this feature for the next release. Hang tight, guys.


Thanks! :grinning:

@Brian Thanks for your time and attention on this problem.

I fully accept that the technical background is complex, and there are good reasons why this change came about. However, it is not “oversimplifying” to state that the user experience browsing albums by artist has changed, for the worse. The technical background is irrelevant to the user. If the user can’t find the artists because the first name is unknown to said user (as one case in point) the experience is downgraded from 1.0 to 1.1.

I appreciate that fixing this will mean jumping through technical hoops, but if anyone can do it, you can. :slight_smile:

Again, thanks for your time and energy on this.