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No More Free Lyrics? That Would Be Just…Wrong July 14, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

Regular readers know I’m a big media apologist defender of intellectual property rights, but this latest plan feels like crossing a line. Even to me.

    Technology company Gracenote Inc. has reached an agreement with dozens of music publishers that will allow it to offer digital copies of more than one million song lyrics over the Internet, paving the way for companies that use Gracenote’s services like Apple Computer Inc. to offer lyrics with song downloads.

    The deal — the most comprehensive effort yet to offer lyrics legally on the Web — is also a likely prelude to legal action by music publishers against a multitude of Web sites that post lyrics without permission from copyright holders.

Practically the only reason I use free lyrics sites is to quote a snippet, which has got to be a postitive promotion for a song. And I don’t think “dripping with irony” captures the emotion sponsored by the fact that one of Gracenote’s best products is CDDB. CDDB is powered by friendly consumers across the world painstakingly typing in track listings and other “metadata” so you don’t have to do that yourself when you rip a CD into iTunes.

Gracenote or somebody better build a clean, searchable, pop-up and spyware-free, ad-supported licensed lyrics site…fast. Grrr.

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