Truly random shuffle

I agree, James. I have a few tracks that seem to come up a lot and had a look at the most irritating one, which comes from Vashti Bunyan’s ‘Just Another Diamond Day’ album.

The title track has been played 35 times according to Roon and these are all generated through random ‘Play All’ (a saved Focus of everything minus classical). The third track on the album has been played 24 times. There are also 9 tracks that have either 1 or zero plays. Minus the two tracks mentioned each track on the album has been played an average of 2.5 times (against 35 and 24).

No wonder that I feel like I’m hearing Vashti sing her title track every time I sit down to Roon.

Exactly! My guess is that if you leave a “Play All” session going long enough, it will dig into deeper tracks. But if you listen to a “Play All” for a few hours, and then change to something else, and then go back to that same Tag and “Play All” again, it kind of starts over with its analysis. It is kind of like my 93 year old mother - we have a conversation for 3-5 minutes and then she forgets and we start over…

Right on cue, there it is again! Oi! Vashti! Nooooo!!!

Thanks for bumping this issue.
Play All is not random. As you say, it doesn’t dig deeply into the collection.
Please can this be fixed?

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Not that I have a vote, but I do vote that Roon 1.4 include improved shuffle functionality as a high priority. This is 90% of how I listen - I’ve been putting up with shuffle following the same, now predicable patterns, but that is on the faith that it won’t be like this forever. If it were the case that Roon would only shuffle like this forever, I’d have stopped using it, despite the other fantastic features. In the end, it’s about listening.

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I don’t have a timeline to share yet, but this absolutely a priority for us.

I discussed this in some more detail about 6 months ago here:

Ok Radio is a priority to fix.
But isn’t Play All something else, and if so does that mean fixing Play All is not such a priority?
Why is that? Please can Play All be fixed?

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Under the hood, these use the same engine and suffer from some of the same weaknesses.

When we make this functionality better, you’ll see the improvement across the board.

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I’ve realized that while I can get better random play by moving tracks into the Queue and using the shuffle function than I can from using the Play Tag function, I have also figured out that doing this does not accurately capture only tracks that correspond to a Tag.

Here’s what I mean: from the menu, click Tags. Then select a Tag to play. From here, one would assume there is a way to choose every track associated with a Tag so that you can Select All those tracks and add them to the Queue, in order to Shuffle them.

But that assumption is incorrect: if you use the pull-down menu to select View Tracks, you only get tracks to which the Tag was directly applied. If you applied the Tag to an album or artist, and not to the track, the track doesn’t show up there. If you instead choose to View Albums, all of the albums whose artists you Tagged do show up. But if there is a compilation (various artists) album that has an artist who you tagged, it also shows up - that’s fine, but when you select all albums to add to the queue, it adds tracks from artists from those compilation albums but which are not Tagged.

So that means I Tag mellow artists, some of whom have songs on compilations, and when I try to shuffle them using the above method, I get an Ozzy song. Not mellow.

Back to Play All Tags. While the engine isn’t particularly random, at least it does capture the correct tracks.

I understand this may be inherent in Roon’s data model. But it does limit the way one can use Roon as an auto-DJ.

This sounds wrong. Can you post some screenshots?

Mike thank you so much for the quick response! I realize that I mischaracterized the issue – there is something – but not exactly that. Give me 24 hrs to see if I can figure it out to describe it better. Also, should we move this somewhere else so as not to derail this important Topic?

[Maybe we should move this support thread elsewhere…]

OK Mike, let’s start with this:

(1) Here’s a Tag I created – all the music from the artists on the Valley Girl Soundtrack. I should explain that generally my method of Tagging is to Tag artists, but I will also include Various Artists compilations Tagged as albums if they fit in.

(2) Notice that the Plimsouls are Tagged as an artist. Here is the Plimsouls Artist Page – you can see the Tag:

Under the artist banner, I have 5 Plimsouls albums plus the VG Soundtrack:

(3) So, back at the screen under #1 above, I click on “View All” and select “View All Tracks” from the menu. I’d expect every track from the artists or on the albums within the Tag to show up here. But it doesn’t – this is scrolled down to where the Plimsouls should be alphabetically but they are not:

Oddly, some tracks from artists that are tagged, where albums are not tagged, are represented here. But not the Plimsouls or most others. This Tag should have about 500 songs, but only 92 show up here.

Even stranger still, I cannot for the life of me figure out how a single Pop Will Eat Itself song is showing up here. They’re not on the soundtrack, not in the Tag, and there’s nothing differentially tagged with this one song. Just doesn’t fit at all.

I thought maybe I had some other Focus characteristic in play, But I reset that and still get the same results. And that would still not account for why PWEI shows up in a Tag for the VG Soundtrack.

Finally, if I “Play Tag” from the Tag screen under #1 above, then I do get plenty of Plimsouls. And the Plimsouls are just an example - this is across a number of artists.

I’m confused.

I’ll bump this since I think it really does identify a good question about how Roon Tags work and I did go to the effort of posting screen shots and to clarify my questions…

Thanks for the bump – missed this one. Let me confirm I can reproduce what you’re showing here and we’ll follow up about whether there’s a bug here.

Thanks Mike. Much appreciated.

Thanks for this idea. Just done it and randomness is restored.

I can reproduce, and its a bug, and it’s fixed for our next release. :slight_smile:

Just keep in mind that when you tag an artist and then “view all tracks”, it will be looking for that artist to be credited at the track level.

In most cases, that’s going to work like you’re expecting but there are some examples (whether due to bad metadata, or for example, because it’s a DJ mix where the album artist didn’t actually perform the song) that won’t show up in the Tracks view in this case.

Thanks for the report @James_I!

Woo-hoo! I haven’t identified an actual bug in software since I founded a dot-com 20 years ago. Thanks Mike - glad it’s a bug and not intentional, because Tags will be much more functional for me with that fixed!

I know - and appreciate - that this is being worked on and I don’t need to bang on about it. But I’ve just found a track that Roon has a bigger fixation about than poor old Vashti.

So. Moody Blues album, ‘Days of Future Passed’. 7 tracks.

3 tracks have never been played.
2 tracks have been played once.
1 track has been played 10 ten times.
But the track ‘Forever Afternoon’ has been played a whopping 54 times!

Fortunately it’s a very good track.

On the other hand, ‘Play All’ does bring some nice tunes to the table that I haven’t heard for a long time. Otherwise, I’d have changed my listening habits (like turning off Radio) and waited for the fix.

Looking forward to that.

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Me too. Where I find the current Roon shuffle behavior most frustrating is when going back to some pre-determined selection (like a Tag or a Bookmark) and it seems to follow a similar pattern to the last time I listened to it.

In other words, if you just let a Tag or some other “Play All” play for a long time, Roon does dig deeper or at least the pattern becomes less obvious. But if you, say, play music to work to during the day, then music for happy hour in the evening, then music to work to again in the morning, etc. etc., then each time you switch back to that prior Play All selection, the pattern becomes more obvious. It’s a little like a conversation with my 93 year-old mother.

Roon really loves Angst In My Pants by Sparks, and always plays it within a few songs of starting my Valley Girl Soundtrack Tag, for example, even though there are 400-500 songs in that Tag.

EDIT: I will also add: Roon tends to have a heavy focus on “best of” albums over the actual album releases with the same track. The issue there is the album release version is much more likely to be remastered, high resolution, or some other superior version.

EDIT: I’ve been harsh on the shuffle function when I thought it was fair. I should praise when fair. Playing tracks similar to David Bowie the Man Who Sold the World, Roon Radio has selected some excellent tracks.