What exactly is "original release date" and why is it almost always wrong?

I’m in the process of ripping all my CDs and put them into Roon to enjoy them on my various devices - controlled by the app on my iPad. Most things work really well or could be tweaked to work as I wanted by configuration.

But there is one thing that really annoys me: The “original release date”. For one thing: What exactly should this date be?

Many of my CDs are releases from the 90s (lots of Darkwave, Industrial). All files have the “year” field filled with the release year of the album (automatically set by the CueTools plugin of EAC and manually checked with wikipedia). In Roon I configured the sort order to use the “release date”. But in the album view and on any suggestions by Roon I see this “original release date”. And the dates are mostly far in the future of the original “original release date” (often 2000+).

My approach on this would be “better show nothing than false values” - so can I turn this feature off somewhere?

I’m thinking about writing a script that copies the release year value to the original release date field - what ID3 field in mp3 and flac files is this? Unfortunately that would not fix the wrong dates of albums coming from tidal - but it would be a start.

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Under Settings > Library > Import Settings you can specify that roon should use the release date specified in your file instead of using Roon data. I think that should fix your problem.

No idea but may be closely related to ‘Date Recorded’ if accuracy is anything to go by (from Tidal):

Thanks for the hint. This setting is already set this way. Unfortunately I have only the “release date” field filled and not the “original release date” - and Roon uses the latter on many places.

I’ve found that on several occasions the ‘Originally Released’ is after the ‘Released’ date’ (Qobuz). E.g.

Hi @Stephan_Lachmuth,

Can you share a screenshot of an example album where you’re seeing this? Thanks!


Hi @dylan,

while you’re at it: can you tell me, what “original release date” SHOULD mean?

Thanks for highlighting this. I see it quite a lot in my library and would very much like to understand what this date is actually supposed to indicate too. When it is populated it is almost always nonsense.

Edit, for example…

I have to relativize it a bit: There are lots of “original release dates” that seem to be correct (I would estimate ca. 70-80%).

The wrong ones are mostly German/European “non-mainstream” releases of the 90s.

To summarize my questions:

  • Where do the wrong dates come from (maybe US release dates?)
  • What should “original release date” contain?
  • What tag should I use to set it with a script? For mp3 it seems to be “ORIGYEAR / TORY / TDOR”. What for flac?


I think it’s the same?

Sorry, what I meant was the corresponding “Vorbis Comment” tag. AFAIK Vorbis Comment tags are used in FLAC files. And in the documentation (e.g. https://exiftool.org/TagNames/Vorbis.html#Comments) is nothing to be found like “original release date”.

The problem here is that Roon takes input from different sources, stirs it around and sticks the dates into some release field. In some cases the „Original Release Date“ may be the American release date, the „Release Date“ the European release date. Or vice versa. Or Roon picks the pre-release date and sticks it in one of those fields as it pleases.

What I am trying to say: Its just one complete big mess. I reported this months ago, but as usual with many other bugs, Roon doesnt really care to fix this.

I exported an album from Roon and looked at the tags it exported with the tracks. Here is what I found for dates:


Interestingly, the “Release Date” show in Roon does not match any of the date fields exported. The tags “originalreleasedate” and “releasedate” are the same in the exported data but not in Roon.

This type of text is counter productive. Please try a different tack.

It is a complete mess. Feel free to disagree,

Ok, I will disagree. It can be messy…but for me and what I am doing, it works great 99% of the time. So no, it is not a complete mess or even a big one.

@dylan : Any new information on this subject? Or any tipps / answers to my questions?

In my mind, the “original release date” field is quite straightforward. Many albums, and pretty much all the more famous ones, are released multiple times in different regions, formats, masterings and versions. The “original release date” is just that - the date that the album was first released. The “release date” on the other hand is for that particular version/release of the album.

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So it seems. But then there should be no “original release date” prior to the “release date” :wink: