Track tags propagate up to albums, sorta... and I don't think they should

Something we have discussed before, without coming to a resolution.

I wanted to create a party mix, so I tagged a bunch of albums.
But there were a few tracks I wanted where I didn’t want the whole album, so I tagged those tracks.
I intended to construct a playlist by selecting all the albums, and then selecting all the individually tagged tracks, and combining those playlists.
But the albums that had a track tagged “party” also showed up in the list of albums tagged “party”.
I don’t think this is consistent with the general philosophy of how tracks and albums are handled.
And I don’t think it is desired behavior.
But this is a tricky problem, how attributes should propagate…

Of course I can easily solve my own scenario. This is a general observation.

As a general comment, I believe the correct action when tagging should be to propagate down, but not up.

  • Tagging an artist as “PARTY” should tag that artist albums and all the tracks on them.
  • Tagging an album as “PARTY” should tag that album and all the tracks on it.
  • Tagging a track as “PARTY” should tag just that track.

Thus when say focusing on “PARTY” in the album browser, I’d expect to see all albums that have one or more tracks tagged as “PARTY”. However when clicking on one of those albums I’d expect to only see those tracks that have the “PARTY” tag set.

And likewise a playlist was created from the selection, only “PARTY” tracks should be included.

Of course implementing like this may not suit everyone and negative tag focus would be interesting, so it will be interesting to read views from others.

I go along with everything you suggest, but this rule I’m not 100% convinced about. I have a feeling that it would cause a lot of confusion. However, it might well be what folks want, and be welcomed with open arms.

Implied in your rules (I think) is that tagging individual tracks with genres (I’m assuming that this is using the Genre or Style tag) should cause aggregation at the Album level (which is what I personally want). Thus, on an album which is the soundtrack of a movie, you could have individual tracks that have the genre Disco, Vocal, String Quartet, Classical, Modern Classical, etc. At the Album level, the Soundtrack genre would be assigned, but in the collection, the Album would also be displayed with the aggregated tags from the tracks. The soundtrack album for The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) is a perfect example of tracks having very different genres and styles.

At the end of the day, whichever approach Roon takes, I trust that it will be clearly documented so that we all know where we are and what to expect…

This was one of my biggest complaints about iTunes rating system. I could rate one or two songs of an album 4 stars, and another track or two 1 star, and then (sometimes) the album would magically get a user-defined rating of 3 stars. That really screwed up my smart playlists.

I absolutely do not want Roon to do the same kind of thing, with tags or ratings or anything else.

I agree.


Well, I think: it depends… Totally agree that ratings should not propagate between levels, but should be on a Track and Album basis - independent from each other.

However, the example I gave of a Soundtrack album where track Genres/Styles propagate up is, as I say, something that I would want. What is an Album, after all, but a compilation of tracks?

If I have a classical album that contains both a symphony and a violin concerto, the tracks will be tagged accordingly as to which work they belong to. However, I would want to search/focus in the Album browser and expect the Album to appear in both a search/focus for “Symphony” or “Violin Concerto”.

That aligns with what I proposed:

We have to be carefully to distinguish between the prorogation of tags when then are set vs. the behaviour focus when filtering by them.

My comment:

[quote=“Carl, post:2, topic:12369”]
I believe the correct action when tagging should be to propagate down, but not up
[/quote]was in the context of when tags are set and applied rather than how focus works.
Of course Roon may not wish to implement this way and may prefer to rather than pushing down tags (from album to track) when they are set … it could have focus cross reference album tags down and track tags up dynamical [but that might have quite a performance hit].

I believe we are still in agreement, in the over all user experience regardless of how it might be implemented.

I think this has been discussed before, but I can’t find the topic.

If I mark an album “Live” (or Roon marks it for me), then I expect the Live designation to flow down to all the tracks on all the discs for that album. Right now, that doesn’t happen.

I can’t think of a reason why Roon should be designed that way, so I assume it’s a bug?

I’m having to go through all my live albums and designate each track as live. It’s a pain, especially when there’s more than one disc in the album.

It was … and I’ve merged your post into the topic.

I’d like to hear from Roon’s @support to get their views on this subject.

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This is working as designed. Live tracks and live albums are different, and there are some prominent examples of “Live” albums that also included a few studio tracks. The system is built to handle these sorts of subtleties, and our hope is also that our metadata can continue to improve in this area.

Assuming every “Live” album is comprised solely of live tracks would be a bit sloppy, and would do a disservice to albums where we have actually have good data at both the track and album level. Our goal is get that data and do it right.

I’ll agree with you referencing the Marvin Gaye album, but IMHO, “It’s Your World” is not a “Live” album, any more than Jethro Tull’s “Living In The Past” is a live album. Both are studio albums with some live tracks. I would not want it identified as, nor would I mark it as, “Live”. So definitely having the Live designation flow up from tracks to album would be “sloppy”.

But I am getting into minutae here, and I don’t want to cloud the issue.

That is the best solution, and one I know that Roon will incorporate as soon as feasible. The pace of improvements to Roon so far is really impressive!


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It’s a fair point. In this particular case, I like having it clearly marked as live versus the other GSH studio albums, but it’s definitely subjective, and this probably isn’t a live album in the strictest sense.

In any event, having the designation “flow” in either direction is going to have all sorts of nasty consequences, so the real solution here is to improve the data. Day by day…

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A post was split to a new topic: What metadata field does Roon use to designate an album as “Live”