‘Scuse Me, While I Kiss This Guy

Yes, and “Doughnuts Make Your Brown Eyes Blue”, “There’s a bathroom on the right”, “The girl with colitis goes by”, and “Good collie, Miss Molly”!

May you never suffer such mondegreens again. As reported by Michael Liedtke of Associated Press, Yahoo is set to unveil what it calls the Web’s largest legally licensed database of accurate lyrics — 400,000 songs properly licensed from their publishers. While you can find lyrics on other Web sites, many of those sites are technically breaking copyright law by posting the words without the approval of the copyright holders. Many are also inaccurate due to relying on submissions from the world at large rather than licensing the actual published lyrics.

According to other reports including Reuters (brought to us courtesy of CNET News.com), Gracenote, the company that developed the CDDB and technology used in iTunes that automatically recognizes the tracks on compact discs, led the way by putting together the database and licensing deals. Yahoo will share with copyright holders the revenue from the ads that will be displayed alongside the lyrics. Most of the largest music publishers are part of the nearly 100 publishers that contributed lyrics, including BMG Music Publishing, EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell Music.

Yahoo doesn’t actually integrate these lyrics with iTunes or your iPod — to do that today, you need a utility such as Canto Pod from staylazy, which is now available for Mac OS X as well as Windows. It grabs song lyrics from a different database of over 200,000 songs (Leo’s Lyrics) and lets you copy the lyrics to your iPod’s Notes section as well as to the song information (Lyrics tab) in iTunes. The new version is popular among Mac users — on April 16th, Canto Pod was approved on Apple’s Widget Download website, placed as a staff favorite, and downloads have skyrocketed according to staylazy. But  I wonder how long they can stay lazy with Leo now that Yahoo is in the game. But Canto Pod is coolio — its iTunes Song button lets you search for lyrics while listening to a song, without having to type anything.

I expect that a deal with iTunes will emerge in the near future that will use Gracenote’s technology to put the lyrics where they belong: in the iTunes song information field for lyrics. Someday soon you will see all kinds of utilities and iTunes features involving lyrics.

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