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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  • identicon
    Xenohacker@hotmail.com, 24 Apr 2007 @ 6:32pm

    Yahoo Scratching From Inside The Coffin

    Well I am glad to see Yahoo is trying something to save themselves. However, Yahoo can buy all the music lyrics that exist and the world isn't going to suddenly switch to using Yahoo. I spoke about this earlier today... here's why...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2007 @ 6:37pm

    Just Great

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Maryland Guitarist, 24 Apr 2007 @ 7:24pm

    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!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Omar Cruz, 24 Apr 2007 @ 7:29pm

    Greed?

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 24 Apr 2007 @ 7:47pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mark, 24 Apr 2007 @ 8:06pm

      Re: I'm down

      Seriously? Do you really find it that hard or time consuming to find lyrics? A simple search on any decent search engine results in 100s of relevant db hits.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Daniel, 24 Apr 2007 @ 7:58pm

    hmmm, 9 times out of 10 the lyrics are in the CD insert... if i really have to, ill listen to it in headphones...turn the volume up and VIOLA! the lyrics are right there for free, even said to me! like anything else this industry has done its more of an annoyance than anything. a hindrance to the art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bill, 24 Apr 2007 @ 8:38pm

      Re:

      Yeah but what if you want to know the lyrics to a Cannibal Corpse song? You're never going to figure out what they are growling by listening to it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gabriel Tane (profile), 25 Apr 2007 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      "hmmm, 9 times out of 10 the lyrics are in the CD insert..."
      -Daniel

      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?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sohrab, 25 Apr 2007 @ 2:42am

    Mike, here is a question. Is posting Lyrics technically against the law then? Because if its not, why does yahoo need to buy the rights to them? What potential benefit can it have by owning the rights while searching for them, using Yahoo's own search engine is so easy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ben, 25 Apr 2007 @ 9:45am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Django Bliss, 25 Apr 2007 @ 6:02am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Desco (profile), 25 Apr 2007 @ 9:34am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CRTisMe, 25 Apr 2007 @ 12:19pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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