Best way to organize digital music - not Roon

I’m using a Uniti Star and listen to Tidal, my LPs and CDs.

The problem I’m facing is organizing my music by Artist, Album, Genre, Songs, etc. I can create a Playlist of a genre, but it lists a very long list of songs for each album and I can’t view a batch of sub folders of albums. It’s cumbersome and too many clicks when i want a broader view of albums within one genre.

It seems the likely way to organize music this way is via Roon. However, I don’t want to deal with using a laptop to access music.

What other ways can I organize my digital music that won’t require a laptop?

What are your music files stored on?
The obvious choice is via server software such as Minim or Asset, but this does require the software to run on a PC, laptop, NAS or specialist server. It would require you to spend time making sure the metadata (the tags) are correct for things like genre, but such software does allow nice browsing capabilities. This won’t integrate Tidal or Quboz in the way Roon does (I understand).

Call me old fashioned but I love a folder. For me folder view of my collection is the best way to choose what I want to listen to; because I like to see the album covers.

My collection is organised by a few broad categories: classical, folk, contemporary, jazz, and a couple of niche categories such as films & shows, klezmer and military bands. Within these categories there are sub folders by composer or name of the band or solo artist. I know software can do this for me, but the folder view is bit like flicking through records, as one used to do in days gone past, or in the trendier stores of today.

I have never got on with minim or asset, and the Naim app was adequate. Hence my move to Roon; now I don’t use folder view much in the Naim app as I use the discovery function on Roon. When this fails to prompt an artist or piece of music I want to listen to I revert to folder view.


Roon doesn’t require a laptop to access music. You need to run the server software on something - which could be a laptop - but playback/etc can be controlled from a phone or tablet.

If you haven’t already I’d suggest trying Roon using whatever computing you already have, although a wired connection is wise for whatever is running the Roon server software.


AssetUPnP is exactly the same - control music selection from tablet or phone.

I’m with @AndyR on this one. Roon allows some pretty decent options for filtering with what it calls ‘focus’. Why not give it a go? The Roon core can be set up quickly and easily on your laptop and the control app on your mobile or tablet. Roon offer 30 day trials so what have you got to lose?

The Roon forums are very helpful to help with any questions that may arise. This forum is also very good if you need to ask questions with whichever option you choose.

Same here. Logical, straightforward -and easy to manage. Not using online streaming services other than to check out new music I don’t need to be able to curate that. I found Roon didn’t work with my own library because too much has bad or missing metadata, anyway nothing complicated needed, al the naming and organisation done whenever I save files. Not much use for the OP, though, streaming only online from Tidal.

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This seems like the trick. I thought i had to control Roon via laptop so problem solved. Thanks!

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I don’t really organise my music much. I have a folder for each artist/band, and within those folders I have a folder for each album/cd. In the root of each folder (including the top folder that contains all the bands’ music) I put any tracks that that just individual tracks from albums for which I don’t have all the tracks. So if I have one or two tracks from an album then they will go in the root folder. So in my top level folder I will have folders called Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pentangle or whatever, then a whole bunch of individual tracks of bands that I don’t have enough tracks of to bother putting into their own folder.
I don’t bother with genres - I don’t find they help because they are too ill-defined and have too much overlap.

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Roon might not be what you need - but you need to try it on to see if it fits!

Good luck. :wink:

In my filing structure I use genres as the top level, but much broader than those often assigned where metadata is used. My use is just for convenience of browsing because I usually decide which sort of music I want to play: Pop-Rock (in which will be everything from heavy rock to prog to blues to folk etc), Classical, Opera, Miscellaneous (for oddities like test albums, Christmas music, curiosities), and one for my wife’s music for anything she wants that doesn’t fit with my main classifications (though in practice she never plays anything!) Typical preassigned metadata genres I think are pretty useless!

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Ah - well, it is true that I have divided my collection into classical (or orchestral, I guess), my wife’s music that I’m not interested in and then everything else.

As I have said elsewhere, I have real trouble with genres - indeed, I have problems with classification in general. I used to work as a programmer for Geac Computers, who made and sold Library Automation Systems for public libraries and academic libraries. I would have interesting discussions with the cataloguers. They were dedicated to cataloguing books, and I can understand why they make the attempt. But it always fails, somewhere along the line. And the Dewey Decimal system sucks big time. I upset some cataloguers by pointing out that when a borrower is searching the library, they are interested in only two categories - those books that they want, and the rest.
I remember looking for some books on postage stamps. My first attempt was under hobbies. Nothing there. I tried all sorts of things (using the Dewey Decimal system). No luck. Eventually found them somewhere under Graphic Design. Well, yes, OK - they involve graphic design, but…
How would you catalogue a book titled “On the history and development of the Chemical Industry in Europe”? History? Chemistry? Industry? Europe? Whichever you choose as your top-level - or high level - category, you pretty much cut off the rest, because it is usually too linear. Anyway, I could rattle on all day, and I wouldn’t want to bore people.

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I do web development for a living. The taxonomies that ship with the major content management systems tackle this issue quite well. In WordPress you can create whatever content categories you want, along with unlimited subcategories. To supplement this, you can create unstructured tags as you develop content. You can even create your own taxonomies. The upshot of this is that, with care, you can organise the most complex content in a way that makes it easy - even fun - to browse.

Contrast this with the major streaming services. The only organising unit is the playlist. You can’t categorise or tag your music, only add individual tracks - not albums - to playlists. The only concession Tidal makes (I don’t know about the others) is that you can organise your playlists into a single level of folders. This seriously inhibits browsing and discovery.

I’ve no idea if any of these services have a publicly accessible API, but if they did and if streaming was my major music source, I’d be tempted to build some kind of better interface, solely to provide a half-decent way of organising everything.

Back in 1972 or thereabouts I was a marine biologist PhD student doing some computer programming to help with what I was doing. I thought it would be useful to have a reference retrieval system - so when I wrote up the thesis I could construct a bibliography more easily. I didn’t write it, but I designed it for the computer department to write and make available - which they did. It had the obvious things like title, journal, authors, page numbers etc., and then 21 keywords (why 21? I can’t remember, but probably something to do with storage space). So no cataloguing at all, really (except in the choice of keywords, I suppose).
I once did a consultancy for the Italian national libraries (around about 1983 or 5, IIRC). They were trying to design a computerised library cataloguing system. Back then (and probably still now) the different regions of Italy each had their own national library, and were fiercely independent of each other. They did not want to lose their autonomy, or be dictated to by the other libraries. To hold and exchange data on books and serials, there was the MARC system, which tagged each field with a number and a few other things - so the title might be tagged with 100 (I can’t now remember what the number was) and the authors with 245 or whatever. It was actually quite detailed and complicated. Unfortunately, there were many MARC standards - AUSMARC (for Australia), UKMARC for UK, USMARC, CANMARC etc. And in Italy each region (erstwhile country) had its own version. Which each country fiercely protected. But they wanted (or were told) to create a single catalogue for the whole country, to try to reduce the duplication of work across the regions. It was more a political problem than a technical one. I think I finally managed to get them to agree on which fields were not really controversial, and so produce a system where any region could do the initial cataloguing (title, author, publisher - stuff like that; and that was hard enough to get them to agree to) and put that into the catalogue itself, then any region could add their own tags to it.
Cataloguers are (or were) a very strange breed indeed.


This is the way I used since I listen to digital music:
Band - Album (bitrate), and with the cover as folder.jpg 600x600

And this worked well with all the digital players I got…

When I add music to my NAS (rip or download) I do use a folder- based arrangement, but I very rarely use it for accessing my music when listening.

Rather, I edit the tags of new music before it gets saved (I use Metadatics) and then MinimServer for accessing the music I’m going to listen to. One big advantage of tags is that they can have multiple values. For example, a disc of folk song settings by Benjamin Britten could be tagged as both folk and classical or a Martin Hayes album as folk and Irish. It’s not so straightforward to make that work if the album has to go in one genre folder.

What matters in the end is that one can find and enjoy one’s music easily. For me, Minim, which was written explicitly to cater issues arising in serving classical music is the best I have encountered.


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Qobuz certainly allows full albums to be added to playlists and Roon does the same.

You can also add full albums with Tidal. The only things you can’t do is organise by genre or album release date, as a comparison to Asset over UPNP accessing files on a NAS, for example.

That’s close to mine, although I may have a few more genres than you - e.g. there are times when all I want to listen to is classical guitar, so I have that as a separate genre.

For popular music, below that is artist, then album. For Broadway, the artist is/are the songwriter(s), e.g. Bernstein Sondheim for West Side Story. Classical is trickier. In most cases the artist is a combination of composer and principal artist(s). That goes back to decisions made for my first iPod in 2005. Oddly, the only place it doesn’t work is on the Apple Music app, which no longer allows for a genre/artist drilldown.

What Roon does though, is send your digital music files through the laptop, so it can negatively impact on sound quality in that configuration due to the electrically noisy environment of the laptop. I found this with an iMac, so no longer use Roon and just use the Naim app. It’s easy to do an A/B comparison though.