I can’t really go into detail here about the various ways Roon just doesn’t find albums that Qobuz has in plain view, as if I did I’d never get to listen to anything! But just as an example to offer up to @support tonight I wanted to find all the versions of Art Peppers “The Art of Pepper” album as there are plenty and as usual I wanted to filter out the dodgy remasters by unknown labels and find the original version from the original label - if possible.
First screen shot is of the Roon Art Pepper discography with a filter looking for “art of pepper” - I find this is the quickest way usually to weed out the various versions, as just grabbing the first Art of Pepper and expecting the version page to come up trumps is a no go - it only finds certain versions for some reason, completely ignoring others.
So why are there albums on Qobuz not shown in Roon, which is getting its information from Qobuz?
Particularly the very first album in Qobuz, this album can only be found in Roon by using the generic search facilities, it does not exist anywhere else, not in the Art Pepper discography, nor the Art Pepper Quintet discography, nowhere… but there it is in generic search third album in.
Incidentally looking at the Qobuz screenshot, the third album in “The Art Of Pepper, Vol. 1 & 2 (Two Original Albums – 1957)” doesn’t exist anywhere in Roon as far as I can see.
I’m not really looking for a solution to this as there isn’t one. I’m just really posting this as I’m so frustrated that the best music library system in the world just can’t seem to get it’s integration with streaming services working, not well enough certainly to deliver anywhere near a realistic search result or not even when cataloguing an artists albums into their discography.
I know we keep getting fancy new features like Art Director, but surely, isn’t the basic operation of the system more important? If I can’t go to an an artist’s discography and trust I will see ALL their work pulled from the streaming service I am connected to, then I might as well just use that streaming service surely… I love Roon, I couldn’t live without it, but so often these days as my interests in music are expanding I can’t seem to live with it!
It would be great to hear from Roon as to what exactly is the problem with streaming integration these days and how perhaps they could work to solve it? Because this integration is super important to the survival of the software, as every day new features are added to Qobuz that make it more and more like Roon - ok it’s still only about 30% there, but one day…?
I agree that there are several areas where Roon needs to up its game. Search, streaming services integration, album identification and metadata (particularly when it comes to newer releases). All the fancy AI features can’t hide this very basic shortcomings.
As for the Art Pepper recording in question, the best version is undoubtedly an original pressing on vinyl
(Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!)
After being a jazz fan for over 50 years and listening to recordings like this:
I don’t tend to obsess about versions, I just listen to the music. But that doesn’t mean that Roon shouldn’t present one with each and every possible (digital) version available.
This is really interesting. I am seeing the same as @Marin_Weigel when performing the search in Roon.
However, there is no way to fully reconcile what is available in Qobuz with Roon. One album is shown under “Appearances” and I can find another one in the versions tab, but there are 3 albums I am not able to find in Roon at all, no matter where I am searching.
When taking the Art Pepper various versions as an example, the variable mastering quality is noticeably different. Because many of these recordings are out of copyright any Tom, Dick or Harry it seems can remaster from whatever source they fancy and market. I suppose if they do that diligently enough for every 50’s jazz album they find then eventually the streaming plays add up and the downloads too.
The Fresh Sounds version is quite different from the ‘official’ label release, a boomier bass but better control over the wobbly piano. I don’t do vinyl, had enough of faffing with that when there was nothing else!
I think the problem is Roon tries very hard to be definitive, it takes metadata from various sources and combines them to arrive at what it displays. Qobuz has all the albums Qobuz streams in a list, it doesn’t get clever with metadata as mostly that metadata either doesn’t exist or without manually checking every album is very often not trustworthy.
In fairness the problem is always metadata, metadata and metadata! The record companies, labels and distributors seem to have zero interest in what they peddle as their merchandise. How on Earth they keep a track of who did what, where and when god alone knows! They come from an era when you wrote on the tape box all those details and when you wanted to run some more masters you had the box from which to inform the words for the record sleeve.
Nowadays all of this stuff is files on servers, perhaps dozens of versions, and just because you are listening to an album doesn’t even mean you will be listening to the tracks actually from that album. I have in the past wondered why the volume varies so much from track to track on a streamed album, only to find through investigation (comparing sound, original track length with Wikipedia etc) the album’s track files were pulled from various different sources, some reissues, some even much later compilations!
I did think MQA might help deal with this, but in the end Tidal ruined that idea when it simply authorised thousands of tracks without any due diligence at all.
Again, it’s all about the money, the licensing deals, not a true interest in the historical information that goes along with an album. Music lovers don’t record, license and sell records, bean counters in suits do that - except for a few specialist labels (ECM and such) who really care about what they put out.
Even so, digital file metadata is non-standard and hugely lacking, even getting a file with accurate composer, conductor and orchestra tags seems to be beyond some labels! Leaving Roon to do the clearing up as best it can, which as we can all attest is also not very reliable - again because where they buy metadata from is not very reliable in the first place, even though those sources make a business out of selling it!!
When it comes to running through the discography for a legendary Jazz artist for example to find those albums I love and want in my library I usually approach it as such…
First I look on Wikipedia for that artists real and accurate discography, then I go to Roon and see if that album is there in their artists discography. If it is I check the versions and see if the original label release/rerelease is there (if the version list also displayed the label this would save hours of selecting and going to credits and checking there!! Hint hint!), if the original label release is there I play it and usually (if it is a fairly recent rerelease) that will sound great. If not I then go to Qobuz and check the discography there, if Qobuz has files Roon doesn’t display in the discography I don’t usually look any further in Roon - we all know why, Roon is still some way away from being an effective way to search for music on your linked streaming service! I simply ‘favourite’ the albums I want to audition in Qobuz and eventually these will filter into Roon (usually I have to go to the Qobuz section and find them there long before they arrive in my library). Now, bearing in mind I don’t necessarily want all these albums in my library I have to remember to delete those versions I don’t want when I’m done listening.
Phew, and there you go.
Like I say I love Roon and I wouldn’t want to be without it, but I would really like the guys in the programming cupboard to focus on these core issue of usability BEFORE they implement what the design team and bosses think would be the next best greatest feature please!
I just tried that with the three Art Pepper albums I was not able to find in Roon. I.e. I added them to my favorites in Qobuz hoping they would show up in Roon, but no luck, even after manually synching with Qobuz.
Edit: I spoke too soon. The albums show up in my library but not under My Qobuz → Favorite Albums. Strange.
I feel it is incumbent upon me as a very recent critic of Roon search to acknowledge the efforts the team have been dedicating to this issue. I want the best for Roon going forward and even though it might seem we are a moaning bunch in here sometimes, I am sure we all just want the software to live long and prosper…
If you’re complaining about the catalogs being different, your test is an incorrect one. You are testing different “search” engines, not different “catalogs”. Just clicking on discography in both reveals the same catalog (of course) for Qobuz plus my own recordings, which Qobuz has no search for (of course)
First, I want to thank you for posting this thread. It gives us an opportunity to go into this in more depth and clarify things - so that what’s happening here is clearly understood, and free from misinterpretation.
I took some time this afternoon to look into this carefully and confirm some things with our metadata developer before responding to ensure that what I say is as accurate and complete as possible. There’s been some misunderstanding around this that we want to clear up.
In an effort to provide a thorough follow up to your feedback I’m going to bullet some points for visibility that I’ll touch upon further in my explanation:
What you’re seeing is intended.
What you’re seeing is a quality control feature.
What you’re seeing is a concerted effort by Roon to ensure that the legitimate rights holders to this music are being compensated.
What you’re seeing is a concerted effort by Roon to keep dark elements in the record industry from succeeding.
What you’re seeing is our dedication to providing you with the best listening experience possible by only presenting you with legitimate releases.
What you’re seeing isn’t a shortcoming of Roon.
What you’re seeing isn’t a search problem.
What you’re seeing isn’t a metadata issue/problem.
Some of what you’re seeing is a mistake - but not for the reasons you think.
To start, yes Roon does filter the streaming music that appears on our platform for quality and legitimacy reasons, I’ll explain why. Interestingly, Tim, you pointed to a small sliver of the reason in one of your follow up posts.
Yes, the quality of some of these reissue titles is spotty. These Art Pepper recordings are out of copyright protection in the UK, and in Europe. Because of that they can be repackaged and reissued in physical and digital iterations by anyone who wants to take it on. Because of the drop in physical music sales, most of these reissue titles are streaming or digital download only in nature.
Some of the labels who engage in this have good intentions and legitimate motivations for doing so. They’re music lovers, just like you and all of us at Roon. They want to make long out-of-print music available again so it can be properly appreciated. It’s a labor of love. They put real genuine effort into their releases and some of them sound pretty decent. We make those available to you.
But, a lot of the time the sonic results can be uneven - they don’t have access to quality source material for the music and the resulting sound quality demonstrates that. Copyright laws are more robust in the United States. Many of these releases are still in print and under copyright protection. For that reason these UK/EU reissues aren’t streamable in The States.
Other labels have purely nefarious intentions in mind. They don’t care about sound quality at all, it never enters their mind. Their sole intention is to exploit these copyright loopholes by any means possible in order to make money. Zero quality control goes into their output.
Exactly, some of these labels also realize that if their releases masquerade as the real thing closely enough they will make MONEY. They are what are called search engine bombers. They exist in every industry you can think of, music is no different. They make every effort to dupe buyers, and listeners into streaming their releases by creating the false impression that they are the original legitimate releases. They use the same artwork as the original releases in many cases, or they mimic the iconic style of the period. As they did here with this The Art of Pepper Vol. 1 & 2 album. Same art of the original release with just the slightest manipulation. The original release is to the left, in orange.
They also use label names that are as close as possible to the original record companies as they get away with. Original Jazz Sound rather than Original Jazz Classics. Or Debut Recordings in approximation of Charles Mingus’ Debut Records.
These are extremely dark actors who are trying to stack up fractions of pennies for digital plays on streaming platforms. If they can trick you into spinning or adding their fake versions over the original albums they’re going to profit. Some even use the exact album names as the original releases.
Here’s a screenshot of some of the handy work of one of these labels. This is just a small snapshot of their catalog:
Original Jazz Sound using typography and design similar to that of iconic labels to up their game. Notice how they continue to work on the deception by following the red arrow in the screenshot. This Miles Davis album is noticeably, intentionally, similar to Prestige’s Original Jazz Classics subsidiary’s artwork style. They work tirelessly to improve their skills of deception.
At Roon, we do everything we can to stop this dead. We purposefully filter out these junk releases. Here’s why:
We want the legitimate rights holders and artist estates to receive the financial benefits of their publishing catalogs.
Legitimate releases have better quality control and sound quality than these junk releases.
We don’t want anyone who’s trying to experience an artist’s music for the first time to be duped by subpar parasitic releases. Imagine if your first exposure to Coltrane’s Blue Train was the horrible sounding fugazi above rather than the proper Blue Note Records release?! The same can be said for any of the titles in that list. Roon isn’t going to be a part of that.
We care too much about Music to participate in any of this shady nonsense. We hope you can understand where we’re coming from. We take this stuff seriously.
So to clarify, what you’re seeing in the example presented here isn’t an accident. It’s not caused by poor search behavior. It’s not caused by a breakdown in our communications with Qobuz or TIDAL servers. It’s not caused by poor, incorrect, or incomplete metadata. It’s not caused by Roon’s mishandling of metadata. It’s not caused by bugs, or product issues. It’s a concerted effort and a commitment to quality.
You may be wondering about the mistake I mentioned earlier? There are few titles in this screenshot that our filters missed. We don’t set them to be overly aggressive, we’d rather err on the side of caution and allow a few dodgy titles to slip through than take measures that negatively impact legitimate releases. We apologize that those titles got in under our radar.
Now, if none of this matters to you and you still want to hear these albums, and add them to your Roon library having this knowledge, you’re free to do that. Search for them directly on the streaming platform and favorite them. They’ll be added to your Roon library, just like any others. We won’t fault, penalize, or blame you in any way for that. Just as we don’t fault or blame our streaming partners for providing them. We just don’t want you to be fooled into listening to poor quality fakes when you go searching for the real thing.
Otherwise, things are absolutely, unequivocally, working as intended. It’s no accident, it’s a commitment to honoring music, supporting rights holders, and respecting sound quality. We’re happy to admit it and thank you for hearing us out.