Gracenote Gets All The Words Right

You know you do it: you’re humming a tune to yourself and you think “What are the words to that song, anyway?” Off to Google or another search engine, which presents you with seemingly endless array of printed lyrics to the tune. Great! Except when you start to poke through the hits, you often find you’re being treated to versions you know are incomplete or wrong, and even find yourself trapped in pop-up-infested, ad-driven link-farm sites which provide only a headache as scammers blatantly game search engine algorithms. And most of the time, the lyrics you see are a copyright violation: like songs themselves, lyrics may be copyrighted and, if they are, they can’t be reprinted legally without permission or license. And the artists certainly aren’t being compensated.

Now Gracenote, the same folks who bring to CDDB and things like the MusicID recognition service, aim to change that by signing lyric licensing deals with major music publishers and opening up the system so other publishers can opt in. The goal? A searchable, comprehensive database of accurate, fully-legal lyrcs. The service will mark the first large-scale licensing of lyrics for commercial use.

“Consumer demand for lyrics is enormous. Lyrics are consistently in the top ten most-searched categories on the Web,” said Craig Palmer, CEO of Gracenote. “Until now there has been no legal, accurate and complete service to provide this important content. Gracenote has been working with the music publishing industry for over two years to find the best way to make this a reality, and with these licensing agreements in place, we’ll be able to offer the most comprehensive set of legal, original lyrics to millions of consumers through a wide variety of products and services.”

Gracenote has obtained rights to available lyrics for more than one million compositions from dozens of publishers, including BMG Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Peermusic, Famous Music, and many more. Initially, Gracenote’s lyric service will be available only in North America at first (that’s the way copyright las work, folks), but Gracenote is looking at ways to tie it in to digital music services, search engines, music sites, mobile operators, and services offered by consumer electronics manufacturers