Why are there so many primary artist / album artist inconsistencies in roon?

I am finding that Roon is very inconsistent with it’s choice of primary artist and album artist. My intuition is that they would normally be the same. But it is often the case that Roon identifies primary and album artists as different and this leads to all sorts of very time consuming and manually intensive grooming strategies to tidy things up. Maybe there is a much simpler solution someone has but this is a typical use case (I have a lot of similar ones):

Roon has identified “Paris Conservatory Orchestra” as the primary artist but “Paris Conservatoire Orchestra” as the album artist.

What this means is that I end up with duplicates on the album screen which looks like this:

Apart from the duplicates, it looks a mess and I like to tidy things up so that I have one title line at the top (I don’t need all that detail because it is all repeated much more accurately in the body of the screen). And one artist line with the (equivalent) duplicates removed. This is not the greatest example but where there is an album description I will also get the added benefit (beyond cosmetics) of 2 extra line of album text. So what I want is this:

Much better.

The problem is that none of the options I have to accomplish this are very good.

  1. Crude option. I can edit at the roon level. I do this on occasion when I just am not in the mood to edit my own tags (mp3tag for me). But of course it is just storing problems up for the future and depends on me believing that a lifetime licence means my lifetime rather than roon’s lifetime.

  2. I can artist merge “Paris Conservatory Orchestra” with “Paris Conservatoire Orchestra”. The problem is, of course, that I cannot because Roon has not categorised “Paris Conservatoire Orchestra” as a primary artist, instead it has categorised it as a “performer”. This is despite the fact that Paris Conservatoire Orchestra is clearly what Decca UK (not Decca FR) has put on the album cover and spine and that roon has retrieved for the album art display.

  3. I can put a duplicate in my tags so that roon does not put duplicates in its tags. What I mean by this is that I can open up mp3tag and make both “Paris Conservatory Orchestra” and “Paris Conservatoire Orchestra”, album artists in my tags. Then I can artist merge them in roon. Of course this is also just storing up problems for the future if I ever needed to use anything other than roon.

  4. Alternatively, and this is what I normally end up doing, I can just change my tags to align with roon tags. The problem is that I have to do this for all instances of Paris Conservatoire or Paris Conservatory in my library and I will need to do this for ever, and not just once. I am finding that making this manual step is the rule, not the exception in my library. But it just seems so unnecessary and completely breaks the roon philosophy of automating as much as possible. The problem is that all the options seem bad unless someone has a workaround I am unaware of.

I would imagine that solving this problem properly at the metadata supplier level is probably intractable. I am not sure, but maybe having the ability to merge artists and performers as has been proposed elsewhere recently @joel, @Jeff_White would go a very long way to addressing this?


Amazingly well articulated…
Thanks for all of us who agree and struggle with same confusion.

In your example, what happens if you change your Album Artist setting to “prefer file” (rather than “prefer Roon,” as shown)?

If you think the result of that change represents an improvement, you can do that globally, in Settings > Library > Import Settings.

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I was going to suggest the same. I did both File and Roon.

But Roon would help the classical music group by expanding the concepts for
Artist, is a general grouping for contemporary music, but something like:

Group/ Orchestra
Facility / House
Individual Performers

Would be better.

Hi @orgel, @Jeff_White

The short answer is that it doesn’t help at all because I don’t have any orchestra defined in my tag’s (either ‘conservatory’ or ‘conservatoire’), and neither do I want to if I can possibly avoid it.

In general, I most certainly do not want to globally prefer local settings. I know there is a lot of controversy and difference of philosophy on these boards but I am in the camp that tag maintenance is a hopeless task and I really do not want to maintain my own tags anymore. Instead I want to rely where I can on roon’s automation and only tweak when I have to.

So this is a case where in my tags’s I do not have either “Paris Conservatory Orchestra” or “Paris Conservatoire Orchestra”. I only have the conductor “Jean Martinon” and I am more than happy for roon to fill in the blanks for me. It is a good example because the duplicates are entirely of roon’s making so if I “prefer file” for this album, obviously nothing is going to change. I just get the following screen and I am back to where I started:

However, I thought I might as well continue this to it’s logical conclusion just to show how hard I, and many others, find roon is to use in many practical situations. I added in “Paris Conservatoire Orchestra” as an album artist in my tags, because in the past that is what I would instinctively do. That is, copy the album cover/spine, and then “preferred file” in roon and ended up with this:

Oops. So now I have no conductor, an uninformative “various artists” and the wrong album cover. That is when I remembered this is part of a 50CD ‘original jackets’ box set that I do not want to classify as a box set as roon’s box set handling is to all intents and purposes unusable. So I “re-identified” the album but just went back to the start of this thread:

The twist in the fix for this variation on the use case is that I have to tick the album artist screen (not the prefer file screen as you suggest):

Finally after editing a more compact album cover I have what I want:

I find myself having to perform various manual edits in roon similar to the above in almost every case. This will probably be neither here nor there once I have a “roon friendly” stable library but getting there for many of us early computer audio adopters with already large libraries is really hard in roon. As I say, I am no roon expert, so I don’t really know but I have a feeling that being to merge artists and performers would really help.


I appreciate the thorough response, and it’s illuminating to see the results of what you’ve tried, but did you try what I suggested (which at this point would involve reverting the embedded Album Artist tag to what it was previously)? I’m curious to see the result and what you think of it.


Hi Tony,
I am in the other camp but I understand the different view of others. However, if you have around a quarter to a third of your classical albums not identified by Roon and want to have a good experience you need to work with tags. I can’t imagine how to groom my non identified albums only by using Roon tools. It would kill me because Roon understandably is not designed to do this on a big scale. It is supposed to be the exception and not the norm. For me the ratio of “norm” vs. “exception” is just not good enough.

On top of that Roon is understandably using english as its main language and I’m not too happy with having some translations in their works. Admittedly, I get used to having english terms for my classical music, but not for all :slight_smile:

But I’m all with you on the rest. I have the same problems and I also often fail to understand why some artists/primary artists are shown as links and some are not - even if they sometimes use the same spelling.

The only thing that annoys me more is the occurence of composers as album artists… :wink:


I agree that there’s room for improvement, but I think Roon currently accommodates all of those fields, with the possible exception of venue. What I’ve come to understand is that it’s more a matter of figuring out what needs to be done to get everything to display as desired (which ought to be easier, IMO).

I think the underlying dilemma here is that among users, there’s a spectrum (probably more of a 3D scatterplot) of approaches to tagging and display of tags, with one extreme being “let Roon do all the work” and the other being “make Roon display exactly what I want, which is a combination of my carefully groomed embedded metadata and whatever else Roon can dig up.”

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Maybe if roon provides the structure, it could eventually be a roon shared knowledge base… allow any tag edits to be shared… and others to benefit.

Allow the community to approve before put out for others.

This would also create a perfect selling value for Roon and create lifetime customers…



isn’t the dilemma also the parallel and IMHO mixed-up discussion on database structure vs. maintenance workflow? Bring this together with Roons “habit” of trying to be “smart” where being smart is an almost unachievable task and you end up with these discussions that we have :wink:

Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think a piece of software can be smart enough to combine different content sources with different maintenance approaches (or even non-approaches) into a consistent and meaningful set of data.

As far as I am concerned most of my frustration comes from Roon ending up with inconsistent data.

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Hi @Klaus_Kammerer1, Yes, I know you are in the other camp. Probably the leading exponent on this forum!

I still do a lot of tagging. It’s not going to go away. I just want to do less which maybe a few relatively straightforward fixes from roon can alleviate. I am also having problems with composer merge which doesn’t seem to work either so I am raising another thread.


Hi @tripleCrotchet

no disagreement here - I think we should be able to use both approaches. I do know that I am probably in the minority here and I do not want to take any convenience and simplicity away from the “non-groomers”. I believe we can peacefully “co-exist” :grin:

I’m just a little paranoid, believing that I should keep all my tags up to date, just in case we’ll all end up with something like iTunes again…

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Yes, this is along the lines of what I was trying to get at. However, I don’t think the Roon team’s approach is wrong, and I’m mostly in awe of the level of “smartness” they’ve already achieved. I just think they need to be more accommodating to the OCD crowd (in which I include myself, of course). Skipping ahead, I see you have a similar opinion.


Hi @Orgel,

I’m not sure I understand your point. Maybe it is lost in all the detail. I did exactly as you suggested in the above description and I thought I had confirmed that choosing ‘prefer file’ has absolutely no effect. But just to make doubly sure I have rolled back subsequent edits I made to ‘album artist’ and I just get the orchestra duplicates again as expected

I assume the reason why ‘preferring file’ has no effect is that neither of the duplicate orchestras are embedded in my file data. The only reasonable conclusion is that roon finds both versions of the orchestra from it’s meta data suppliers but for some reason arbitrarily defines one version as an artist and the other version as a performer. The problem is that this has knock on consequences leading to a lot of manual editing to overcome.

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Hmm. Not what I expected to see at all. Oh well, I’ll pursue research in this area on my own and post if I come up with any breakthroughs.

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Just to let you guys know that I have been reading this thread.

The specific issue that @tripleCrotchet is up against is that Paris Conservatoire Orchestra is not an object in the Roon database; it is a lump of text. Because the name of the main performer metadata object (Conservatory) does not match up with the album artist text (Conservatoire), the latter remains white and we add a link to the main performer (with canonical English name) on another line.

What we at Roon need to do is to check known aliases of Paris Conservatory Orchestra and then “magic” that lump of text (Paris Conservatoire Orchestra) into a link to the actual artist/performer object (Paris Conservatory Orchestra). There’s no other way to fix this really.


Thanks for the clarification @joel,

I appreciate there is no quick fix but the question really is can roon’s current approach fix this at all? Wouldn’t that require some kind of industry standards? I know there is a system in place for community notifications of these equivalence issues but it must be obvious by now that the pit is bottomless.

I am trying to migrate a 10k plus library and it is really painful.Pretty much in every case I now have to first search roon to guess what roon believes the ‘master’ equivalent to be. Usually I just go with the one with the most bio and edit my tags to match. Otherwise, I often don’t get an identification or I get a dog’s dinner of a screen with lots of duplicates, or both. Would it not be possible to provide a user maintanable ‘local equivalents’ feature? A simple table that would quickly “learn” my equivalents choices and save a lot of pointless grooming time.

As an aside, If I do a search on MusicBrainz for “Paris Conservatory Orchestra”, it actually does not come up. Instead it is viewed as an alias of:

Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatore

The same with "Paris Conservatoire Orchestra. In other words, the master object in public databases appears not to be the anglicised versions at all. It is usually the other way round. It is the anglicised versions that are the aliases.


Discogs even explicitly advises that the long form Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatore should be used although Decca UK obviously believes otherwise.

Roon logic clearly must be different, proprietary in some way. Are you able to share how/why roon decided that “Paris Conservatory Orchestra” should be the master object? In the absence of any standards it is not obvious to me, why that should be. There is a very similar problem with composers, particularly Russian ones where there is a lot of variation in spelling. E.g. Dimitri vs. Dimitry or Sergei vs. Sergey. But I will raise a different thread. It seems to me that a system of random notification of equivalents from the community that roon then fixes manually in the cloud is a task with no end so there must be a better way.