Yahoo Music Offers Legal Lyrics Play, Gracenote Powers

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Yahoo Music is now spinning a legal lyrics offering, a collaborative effort involving Gracenote.

The service, which debuts this morning, offers a collection of song lyrics from hundreds of thousands of songs, according to information received late Monday.  All five major publishers – including BMG Music Publishing, EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing, and Warner/Chappell Music – are part of the effort. Hundreds of smaller, independent publishers are also involved.   That critical level of buy-in could tilt the balance in a largely illegal, amateurish sea of online lyrics destinations.  “Finally, a free, legal and definitive way to settle a bet with the guy sitting next to you at the bar who is certain the Ramones’ most famous anthem declares, ‘I wanna piece of bacon,'” joked Yahoo Music general manager Ian Rogers, who recently grabbed the reigns from the exiting David Goldberg.

The announcement represents a groundbreaking move into licensed lyrics.  About two years ago, Gracenote began amassing the necessary providers, a process that most recently included deals with EMI Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music.   The concept was sparked by heavy demand for lyrics among online music fans.  “Song lyrics are continually among the top ten searches performed on major search engines, though the results often provide consumers a frustrating experience filled with inconsistent and incomplete lyrics, and annoying pop-ups,” said Craig Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Gracenote.   Additionally, lyrics on unlicensed sites are often incomplete or incorrect, a problem for serious fans.  All of those flaws will help to drive more traffic towards the Yahoo Music play, and generate revenue for all stakeholders involved. The lyrics will be integrated into larger Yahoo Music artist search results.