Yahoo Licenses Lyrics… Meaning More Pressure Coming To Unofficial Lyrics Sites

from the need-to-make-money-off-every-little-piece dept

We’ve never quite understood why music publishers have been so vehemently against various lyrics web sites often shutting them down. Lyrics sites only help serve to promote the music further — but when you have an industry that believes everything (even promotional uses) deserves to have dollars coming back (even if it shrinks the overall market) that’s what you get. The situation is about to get worse for various independent music sites with Yahoo announcing that it’s officially licensed the lyrics to 400,000 songs. That really isn’t that many and plenty of unofficial lyrics sites have a lot more. However, with Yahoo willing to pay, publishers will use it as an excuse to shut down more of these other sites. Again, though, this seems short sighted. It limits how widely available the lyrics are. It makes it more difficult for people to figure out what song it was that they heard (and which they might want to buy). All because the industry needs that immediate dollar for licensing the lyrics.

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Comments on “Yahoo Licenses Lyrics… Meaning More Pressure Coming To Unofficial Lyrics Sites”

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Maryland Guitarist says:

um, reallly… will anybody pay to just see lyrics???

regardless, there is a workaround. i’d just make my lyrics website “educational poem site” with reference all noted and one line analysis for each song so that it’d qualify as fair use.

yahoo for dumbass who’s spending money for nothing!!

Omar Cruz (user link) says:


Is Yahoo! desperate in getting revenues? I mean, they are hoarding free information saying that they’re the official lyrics site. I am personally against this move, not that I own a lyrics site.

What Yahoo can do is to offer lyrics that are accurate and most of all free. They don’t have to license all of the lyrics of every song there is. They don’t have to be a bully in the market by minimizing the competition. If they do that, I’m sure Google has a better idea.

Just my opinion.

Paul says:

I'm down

If Yahoo presents the lyrics in an easy to read way with unobtrusive ads then EVERYONE will start to use Yahoo to search for lyrics.

As it is you have a choice between a handful of sites whose lyrics are questionable, have horrible site design, and have more annoying flash ads than a “free porn” site.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“hmmm, 9 times out of 10 the lyrics are in the CD insert…”

Ok… what about that song you just purchased on iTunes, or that 2nd hand CD you bought at your local non-chain music store that doesn’t have the insert? Or that “otherwise ligitimatly aquired” digital copy of a song? Or if you lose your insert or can’t find it when you’re curious about the lyrics.

How long until Yahoo (being the only “ligit” provider of lyrics) starts charging you to access that info through thier service? That’s why the independant sites are so important. They understand what they’re there for. A simple distribution of information. Not to get rich, not to monoplize that info, just to provide access to it.

Welcome to corporate america where everything must have a dollar sign attached to it. Anyone else curious about why the rest of the world views us as greedy, money-driven bastards?

Ben says:

Re: Re:

Is posting Lyrics technically against the law then?

Posting lyrics is technically a copyright violation, because you would be hard pressed to illustrate fair use. However….

You hear a song on the radio, and you get that catchy chorus in your head, but you don’t know the name. Or, you’re a parent who isn’t sure what your kids are listening to. Well, sorry, the record industry shut down all of the “illigit” lyrics sites and Y! doesn’t have it. In the first case, you lose a sale. In the second case, a parent is less inclined to make a purchase without having the tools a responsibile parent would use (advisory labels are not always the answer).

So the labels are surely within their right to “protect” their IP — even if the free promotional value gets squandered. Short sighted, indeed.

Django Bliss (user link) says:

Silly RIAA

Yahoo, please don’t encourage them. The RIAA only becomes more of a bull in a china shop when you feed their delusions.

The whole lyrics thing has always really blown my mind. It’s really irrefutable proof that the RIAA is intent on killing its own industry. Would any other industry try to kill something off that 1. Doesn’t harm them financially, and 2. Actually brings them revenue? Any other industry would even help enable that kind of situation, and gladly welcome it.

Desco (profile) says:

Figure it out...

It’s pretty simple why the recording companies are so against lyrics online. The RIAA is protecting it’s business. Since the only value-added reason anyone would buy the CD as opposed to iTunes or say… BitTorrent… is to have the physical media, book/insert, etc. If you can get the lyrics online, one less reason to buy the physical media.

CRTisMe says:

Some Background

Whoa- here is some background.

1. Publishers are not the RIAA. Publishers place songs for the lowly songwriters and try to derive income from them (and themselves). Some recording companies own publishing companies but they are kept at arms length because of conflict of interest issues.

2. I have spoken to several songwriters and they are upset because invariably on the non-liscensed sites their work is credited to the singer (who did not write the song)

3. All we are talking about here is the ad revenue from people looking at the lyrics on Yahoo. Half would go to the publisher (and since many songwriter-publisher deals are 50/50 then the songwriter would end up with 25% of the ad revenue). Contrast looking at lyrics on Yahoo for free along with ads to the right and the songwriter getting 25% to looking at lyrics free on another site and the songwriter getting zippo. Which do you think is more fair?

4. Mike- I am surprised that based on your long series about bundling the “scarce with the non-scarce” series you wouldn’t laud this development as a perfect example of how this backs up your theory. Here is a scenario where benefits accrue to 1. Yahoo (don’t complain-buy stock if you want in the game) 2. the songwriter derives a small income source 3. the end user continues to get stuff for free and look at ads which can be ignored 4. the end user gets more accurate information about who wrote the song

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