Still missing in Roon

I know this must have been discussed to death allready in this forum but I’m not such a regular visitor and I don’t read everything. But here it goes.

There has been a lot of request for browsing by folder structure. I know everyone has it’s own systematical way of organizing their music and if a folder structure helps with that that so be it, no arguing about it. I for one have another peculair way of finding music and that is by date of purchase. I know when I purchased something and I arrange my music in folders like that. My database is organized in years of purchase, not in genres, not in artists, albums, release date or whatever but in the date that I purchased it. Thats something I could organize in my previous program MP3Toys (yes I know silly name, but absolutely great program)

I know I can tag albums in Roon but I don’t want to go through my entire databse manually to do this, besides within Roon it is very hard to find out where your music is actually stored, it’s not a one click activity.

What I would like to see is a way to show album collections based on whatever criteria I wish. Not playlists, based on folder structure. I don’t feel the need to browse through a folder structure in an Itunes way in the sidebar. All I would like is a row of buttons that represent my folders wich I can click on and off, lets call it a collection of several libraries. I know this could be done by adding a tag to the albums but that’s sooo much hassle.

In MP3Toys I always worked in this way just by letting the program scan the music collection per folder, not the entire music collection at once. This way the collection showed up in year numbers, again years that I purchased the music, wich has nothing to do with any tag, any relationship to the music whatsoever other then the date that it came in my collection. I’m sorry but my memory just works best that way. I can find any music within seconds this way. In Roon it takes me pretty long some times to find anything when I’m looking for something wich I can’t remember the name of, but I always remember when I bought it. I know it might all sounds strange but I think flexibilty is key in trying to make the best music player out there.

What I also like to see is another behaviour of the overview button. It know shows recently added content firts by default and there is no way to change this behaviour. I would like it to go to the excact point where I left off. Makes a kot more sense to me.

Just tinkering.

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Nothing as satisfying as picking the scab…:grinning:


I understand the point, I often have Roon show albums sorted by Date Added, which lets me focus on recent stuff. I don’t remember when I bought older stuff…

I would imagine you could do this:
Instead of adding the root directory to Roon, add each Year directory as a separate storage location.
Then you can use the Focus by Storage function to select each year, select all albums, and add a Roon tag with that year.
After this, you can filter by purchase year together with other Roon focus functions.

Yes I was concidering the same thing but I have read somewhere that Roon seems to have problems with adding too many storage locations. Don’t know if this is true but I think I’m just going to try it out.

There are other ways. The point is, you want to create usable Roon metadata (e.g. Tags) that meets your needs, leveraging the directory structure you have without a lot of manual labor. You can do this:

  1. Remove the music directory with all the year directories from Roon. Go to the Album browser. If Roon is now empty, fine.
  2. If you have other music in Roon, select all and tag it Other. In Roon, select the Other tag and invert it, do you exclude the Other music. Roon should look empty.
  3. Create an empty directory Roon Music next to the directory where you keep your year directories. Add it to Roon.
  4. In the OS, drag the latest directory, e.g. 2017, into the Roon Music directory (this is a fast operation, doesn’t involve any copying, the OS just manipulates the pointers in the catalog; this is why the Roon Music must be in the same place as the existing directories).
  5. In Roon, select all. Tag the albums 2017. Select the 2017 tag, invert it so you exclude the 2017 albums. The Album browser should be empty again.
    6 Repeat steps 4 (in the OS) and 5 (in Roon) for each of the previous years.
  6. You are done. Reset all the tags, you now have all the albums, tagged correctly by year.

This leaves the music in a new place. If you don’t like that, if you have backup procedures pointing to the original location, you can drag them back, or reorganize the procedure to avoid that.s

I have a similar way of listing my albums. By date of acquisition. Each album has a unique sequential number added at acquisition and unique folder for each album. Problem I have found is that chucking a whole hard drive of folders at Roon results in an inconsistent “date added” view; ie it’s not perfectly aligning to my sequential numbering system.

To get round this am now adding album folders one at a time to a Roon-pointed folder using a mouse macro application to avoid RSI from dragging and dropping each folder into the Roon folder, at a rate which Roon can keep up with and genuinely put them in date of acquisition order when viewing “date added” - Phew!

It would be so much easier if Roon could browse by folder :slight_smile:

Would using the date the file was created help?

Import dates
You can edit the import dates for your tracks to match the file modification or creation times in the filesystem (multi-select a bunch of tracks in the track browser and use the “Metadata Preference” tab if you want to perform this operation to large amounts of content at once)

good idea, but I’m really trying to minimise further file manips. Ie minimise labour as much as poss.

My current mouse macro system is working like a charm at the mo!! :slight_smile:

Sorry if I missed something but I guess the date of acquisition order in your case is the same as date added. There’s a setting under Settings -> Library -> Import Settings -> Track Import Dates where you can toggle which data Roon uses to determine the order how Date Added view shows the albums. Default is Roon Import tag, which didn’t show the albums in correct way since it imported thousands of albums on the first run and didn’t do it in correct order obviously. I selected the File Creation Time -option and now the albums show exactly as the should, the newest first and so on. I found this option extremely helpful since many other player software fail to show the albums according to Date Created information.

I did have a mess about with that also when I first installed roon, but my files are all over the place, in terms of dates, copied from different HD’s, ripped in odd orders, etc.Ie the date of creation of the files is really arbitrary.

Yes, allready did that but I can’t filter it like that.

The time of purchase was only an example. I also have music stored in directories with names of where it came from or whom I got it from. Some are even named after places I went on holiday…And the most important thing is that I have folders with my own music collection and folders with my girlfriends music collection wich I want to filter out sometimes. I also got folders with music I like to keep but don’t want to hear that often so I can turn this folfder off. This might be totaly useless for others but it makes perfectly sense to me. All I want to show is why a browsing by folder request has nothing to do with being old school or not willing to adapt to the Roon way of handling your music collection. I like the Roon way, please don’t get me wrong, but I would like it in parallel with my own way.

Next weekend I’m going to spend some time to rescan my collection in sub parts. That means that Roon would have about 40 main folders wich it has to watch. I’ll just see what happens. This is the only way at the moment you can at least make a selection in the focus function. That’s all I’m asking really, nothing more, just an easy way to select or deselect folders, not a month of work workaround.

Apologies if I’m repeating myself or telling you something you already know, but there may be a slightly faster and more flexible way.

What you’re describing with multiple watched folders will probably work as well, but there could be performance implications with huge numbers of watched folders – it’s not a scenario we test a lot.

Anyway, say you had two folders you want to focus on in Roon – let’s call them:

  • /External HD/Music/Wife Music/
  • /External HD/Music/Party Music/

Here’s what I would do:

  1. Use the track browser filtering functionality to filter for path /Music/Wife Music/
  2. Tag all tracks as Wife Music
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for Party Music

Once the tracks are tagged this way, you can easily filter for each in the various browsers – albums, artists, tracks, etc – without even opening Focus.

And going forward, you easily tag albums (or artists, or tracks) as either Wife Music or Party Music (or both) from inside Roon. To me, this seems quicker and easier than re-configuring your storage, but different strokes for different folks :slight_smile:

It seems that a lot of people are still organizing their music (and other stuff) in folders. I personally do not like this: it is archaic and clumsy, and it is not a very elegant way to deal with information. I do not mean to me dismissive though, because it is a sad fact that most tools (any operating system for instance comes to mind) do not even allow to organize data in any different way. I would argue that music is the first kind of data that is relatively easy to manage otherwise. This being said, It took me months of work over a period of many years to “convert” my data structure to metadata and tags instead of folders, and I cannot blame someone if they do not want to do the same.

I have also spent years trying to organize my other data without folders, or rather with a method that is better than folders, and I have largely failed, because of a general lack of tools. It is not a good place here to get into the details, but remember how the object file system never materialized, the tag system in OS X is inconsistent and clumsy (and very buggy), and point tools come and go but generally miss the mark (for many reasons). It’s really depressing how little has been done over the past 40 years in this regard.

I have a point with all this though, because there seems to be a relatively easy solution, which does use an existing folder structures but in a better way. This solution is to convert folder names into tags. With this, any folder name that precedes a file at any depth would be converted to a tag that is attached to the file.

I realize that mike is proposing something similar but done manually, however, it would not be very difficult for Roon to have this function implemented automatically, and the folder source level. It could be a switch for each folder that I enter into Roon’s library, a switch that could be named something like “convert folders to tags” and for each song in that folder structure in addition to the metadata, Roon would add the folder names that it sits in (at any depth) as tags.

I believe this would not be very difficult to implement, and I would also argue that it would be very useful to anyone who currently organizes their music in folders, at the very least as a transitional tool when switching to Roon.

My 2 cents … :slight_smile:

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Your 2 cents are worth at least 2 dollars my friend. This is excactly what I mean the whole time. I don’t like folder structures like in I-tunes, J-river or the thousand lookalikes out there. Roon has the ability to make collection with tags wich is a good thing wich I would oike to use. It would be nice if the tags could be displayed as a row of buttons instead of a pop-up menu but tha’s nitpicking at the moment. Problem is that I have allready organized my music in a kind of tagging system by organizing it in a folder structure my own way. Within MP3Toys, my last software this could show up as buttons, wich worked wonderfully. No folder structure in sight but still a possibility to filter on folder content. I have tried to tag it via the tracklist but the filter there has a kind of strange behaviour wich I still haven’t figured out yet.

Speaking of MP3Toys. Another highly favourite feuature of this program wich no other program does is that all albums in the album browser can be displayed with a tracklist underneath. That’s a real great way of browsing through your collection. Looking for a song from an artist you have got 20 albums from but can’t remember the title until you see it but don’t want to go through a sreadsheet like trackbrowser. With all album viewed next to each other with all tracks underneaths it’s no problem, works like a charm. That would be a truly great feature for Roon as well.

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I do both. The reason is that whilst apps designed for music generally use tags and will work fine general purpose apps designed for housekeeping on a computer are not designed with tags in ming and therefore a folder structure can make some tasks easier.

To be useful, the folder structure has to reflect the hierarchy. If we just make each directory a tag, you have thousands of tags, and still no ability to select Mozart or Harnoncourt.

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That’s the trick Anders: it does not have to. However, an ability to select several tags in an AND or OR relationship is a must (in every tagging system, by the way, otherwise the very point of tagging is lost - and still many tools do this wrong). If you have this, no need for the hierarchy, in fact you will have something much more flexible and useful than the rigid hierarchical folder structure, which only allows you a single relation between your criteria (the one that is mandated by the hierarchy).

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Of course, that’s what Roon does.

My point was that simply putting the file path in a tag doesn’t provide that.
Consider some of the scenarios that have been mentioned:

If that string is in a tag, you cant search on HDTracks or Bayreuth.

The system would have to parse the path and construct partial tags. And now a 2,000 album collection gets 32,000 tags.

OK, I see your point. This is indeed not as easy as it first appears.

I just need to mention however that I did not mean to the string to be a tag, that would not achieve anything. In your example, “music”, “roon”, “hdtracks”, “opera”, “bayreuth”, “wagner”, “niebelungen” and “karajan” would become the tags that would be attached to whatever is in the folder. That would allow you to search for “niebelungen” and find all versions, or “karajan” and find everything in your library he conducted.

The problem that I just realized is that many of these tags would be redundant to the metadata, and that we would need to do some semantic tagging to make better sense of the tags, something like in the property store type nosql data structures. Although that would not resolve the redundancy, and also would make tagging a lot more complex. This is not that simple after all.

Despite this, I still think the automated tagging by folders could make sense (as an option), since even your example shows how it could still be useful as an addition to your metadata. You would no lose any information that currently is in your file structure, and yes, it would be a little clumsy to navigate (mostly because you would have many tags), but so is the file system itself. You would get better uses of it though: using your file structure, you could not find anything from karajan easily, nor from wagner, as it stands, because their use is limited by the hierarchy.

The clumsiness could be alleviated by deleting or not including redundant tags, either manually, or automatically (by comparing to existing tags by content, or defining which levels of the file hierarchy you want to keep as tags or not - obviously you have some logic to your file structure that would allow this). Or by adding semantic information to the tags, but this would make the system very complex. If someone had a good idea to help with the latter, that would actually be something.

A picture says more then a thousand words. Horizontal scrolling of albums with all titels underneath. All instantly accessibel. Very convienient way of browsing through your albums. For instance, I have lets say 30 albums of Van Morrison. Having them next to each other with the content shown helps a lot in identifying the album. Roon is absolutely great in other features and other ways of navigating through your music but the album browser is not a single bit different, better or worse then I-tunes or J-river lookalikes.