The feature is powered by Musixmatch, which previously worked with Spotify to provide lyrics to users in India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
Spotify announced today that it will make a new Lyrics feature available to all global users, both Free and Premium, across platforms, after years of ignoring consumer demand for in-app lyrics, particularly in the United States. The feature is powered by Musixmatch, and it builds on a previous partnership between the two companies to provide lyrics to Spotify users in India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
After testing the feature in 2019, Spotify made real-time lyrics that sync with the music available to users in 26 global markets last year. According to the company at the time, this was the first time 22 of the 26 markets had ever received any kind of lyrics support. Later, the deal was expanded to include 28 markets. Through a separate deal with SyncPower, Spotify users in Japan have also had access to lyrics.
Users in other markets, on the other hand, have only had access to “Behind the Lyrics,” a feature that was introduced in 2016 in collaboration with Genius and featured lyrics interspersed with trivia about the song, its meaning, the artist, and other commentary. Meanwhile, thousands of Spotify users have expressed to the company over the years that they would prefer a feature that provided real-time lyrics rather than lyrics that are interrupted with facts and other background information via the company’s community feedback forum.
Users will now be able to fulfill their wishes. Spotify told TechCrunch that “Behind the Lyrics” will be phased out in favor of the new Lyrics feature.
Depending on the platform, lyrics will be accessible from the “Now Playing” view or bar.
Users on mobile can swipe up from the “Now Playing” screen to see the lyrics scroll by in real time as the song plays. Instead, from the “Now Playing” bar on the desktop app, click the microphone icon. You’ll also enable Lyrics from the lyrics button in the Spotify TV app by navigating to the top-right corner of the “Now Playing” view.
The feature will be available on the big screen through the company’s app for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, Roku, LG, Sky, and Comcast.
The new feature also includes built-in sharing via a button at the bottom of the screen on mobile, allowing users to select the lyrics they want to share as well as the destination.
According to our sources, there is no difference in the Lyrics experience for free or premium users.
The history of real-time lyrics on music apps is complicated. When music publishers don’t provide lyrics, businesses turn to a third-party provider. However, those providers don’t always play by the rules. In 2019, Genius accused Google of plagiarizing its lyrics collection, which Genius detected by cleverly embedding secret codes into its lyrics that spell out “red-handed.” Later, those lyrics turned up in Google.com search results. However, Google blamed its partner, LyricFind, for the problem. It didn’t end the partnership because there are few other options for major lyrics deals — most companies use Genius, LyricFind, or Musixmatch (or a combination).
That’s why it made headlines when Apple announced a partnership with Genius in 2018 for lyrics across thousands of its top songs, and then became the exclusive web player for Genius two years later. Pandora says it works with LyricFind, among other services, and Amazon says it works with both LyricFind and Musixmatch, according to its website.
Lyrics will now be available in all markets where Spotify is available, removing one of the major competitive advantages these rivals have over Spotify.
Lyrics, according to the company, will be available globally beginning today.
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