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Music Industry Looking for Lyrics Payoff

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the those-lyrics-look-unlicensed-there-kid dept.


theodp writes "U.S. digital entertainment company Gracenote has obtained licenses to distribute the lyrics of more than 1 million songs. Music publishers are still mulling legal action against Web sites that provide lyrics without authorization." From the article: "Ralph Peer II, Firth's counterpart at peermusic, said licensing lyrics should boost worldwide music publishing revenues, estimated at about $4 billion annually. Peer said he hopes the unauthorized sites will seek licenses. 'I think we'll see a reasonable increase, as much as a 5 percent increase, in industry music publishing revenues five years out from where we are right now,' Peer said."

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Comments? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730393)

WHere are all the comments?

Re:Comments? (5, Funny)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730482)

WHere are all the comments?

"U.S. digital nerd news company OSTG has obtained licenses to distribute the comments to more than 1 million slashdot submissions. Editors are still mulling legal action against users that provide comments without authorization."

From the article:

"CmdrTaco, head honcho at slashdot, said licensing comments should boost worldwide comment publishing revenues, estimated at about $4 billion annually. CmdrTaco said he hopes the unauthorized users will seek subscriptions. 'I think we'll see a reasonable increase, as much as a 5 percent increase, in nerd news publishing revenues five years out from where we are right now,' CmdrTaco said."

idiots (1)

neocontrol (956964) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730522)

And they wonder why music sales suck. Besides that there is nothing good coming out anyways, lets just go and make part of listening to music enjoyable, unenjoyable. I know half the part of liking music, is learning lyrics. For me anyhow.... How soon will this affect stuff like guitar tabs? Oh no, there's lyrics in those too, when am I going to have to pay for tabs now? Morons.....

Re:idiots (1)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730542)

"How soon will this affect stuff like guitar tabs?"

Have you been sleeping under a rock?

Re:idiots (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730654)

There was licensing for sheet music long, long before there was licensing for audio.

Re:idiots (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731002)

I know that my unique experience does not a trend make, however, EVERY time I have ever searched for lyrics, it has been because I liked a song and was trying to find out about it, and 90% of the time when I search for a song by lyrics, I end up going straight to ITMS to buy it.
Why do they want to make it harder to find and buy music???
If I can't search for lyrics, the I propose that all songs have a CLEARLY sung chorus (Sorry Bob Dylan), and the song name be required by law to be the chorus. Then I could at least find the song I want. I haven't been in a "record" store since about 1999. And even then, I hated humming or singing a couple bars, and hoping the clerk knew what I was talking about...

Re:idiots (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731034)

So you're suggesting that they fix the problem of regulation by more regulation? I'm sorry, but this strikes me as a hideous idea. Part of the reason why music has been around for 500+ years has been due to originality. If you start regulating what musicians can and cannot do with their music, you've effectively halted music in its tracks (at least until the Musical Revolution comes around). I was under the impression that the RIAA does all this under the guise of protecting the intellectual property / rights of the musician. Of course, this is, by no stretch of the imagination, a severe obfucsation of the truth, but this would be beyond hypocritical. To even consider forcing a musician to do this or do that is what composers and musicians fear most. To lose control of their music would be akin to a sysAdmin losing control of his server.

Re:idiots (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731148)

Hey, I never said it was a good thing; in fact, I think it sucks! I was just pointing out the reality of the situation.

Re:idiots (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730793)

Tabs came under fire a long while back. The MPA (Music Publisher's Association I believe...) just up and decided that tabs (no matter how musically inaccurate they may be) were infringing on the sound of their copyrighted material. The head of the MPA went as far as to say he would push to have owners of tab sites fined AND jailed - needless to say, I don't think the latter has happened.

Anyway, this shut down many popular tab sites, most notably (along with their forum on a different domain) and While Taborama remains closed, MXTabs argued that they pay music associations to licence the material on their site, and hence have the right to offer tabs and lyrics to users. They, along with most tab and lyrics sites, remain open.

As far as I know, the MPA really hasn't made any effort to actually enforce or take action on the threats they made. Most speculate that they just used the 'scare tatic' to get their way.

In my own personal opinion, the worries of these music associations is quite farfetched. Tab and lyrics sites are notorious for being somewhat inaccurate, which is scary considering that these groups are going after things that almost violate their copyright, although they may not always do so.

What' next? Lawsuits against people who happen to overhear their coworkers playing a CD in the cubicle next door? Against people who sing along with their favorite song? Against songwriters who use words in their songs that happen to appear in the songs of others ('love,' 'you,' 'the'...)? It's a slippery slope that we know the music industry is dying to tumble down.

Re:idiots (2, Informative)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730961)

MxTabs has recently shut down, if you go to mxtabs [] all you will get is a few paragraphs explaiming that they have shut down.

Re:idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730871)

> Besides that there is nothing good coming out anyways

Aaaaaand we have a winner! This round of "Which Slashbot will be the first to post the 'it all sucks, so why shouldn't I have it for free?' argument?" goes to neocontrol! Congratulations, neocontrol! Your keen insight into this matter will be the stuff of legend for years to come. When copyright laws are finally dragged into the twenty-first century, the masses will look to you for inspiration.

I will... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730399)

stop listening to anything for fear of prosecution.

Re:I will... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730433)

How many times must the RIAA unfairly try to exert undue control over IP rights?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind....

Re:I will... (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730630)

Don't think you can evade by simply not listening. After all, you could buy the stuff and not listen it anyway, therefore if you don't buy the stuff you're not listening to, it's clearly piracy, because after all, if you bought the stuff you don't listen to, they would make money from it, so if you don't buy the stuff you're not listening to, it's clearly theft.

Ah, and don't miss the new flat subscription model: At a fixed daily rate of just $10 per song, you're allowed to not listen to them as often as you want!

Oh noes, I'm in deep doodoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730686)

I have the lyrics to the Pete Seeger tune Turn, Turn, Turn that the Byrds recorded a decade later (four decades ago) on my website! []

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Well, I guess this too shall pass... oh hell, that's the title to one of the late George Harrison's albums, I'm fuxx0r3d!


Leeches (0)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730418)

I don't know what else to say.

YARSO-Yet Another Revenue Source from smth.Obvious (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730525)

From TFA :
They thought lyrics had been an untapped resource for them and there's quite a bit of lyrics being taken for free on the Web

In other words : someone with a highly paid job inside a big corporation woke-up from his mid-afternoon doze and suddenly had a new idea :
Let's start charging money for something as stupid and obvious as song lyrics [] . Why haven't we though before ? There's so many new ways to rip money from our client base !

This license creates a new revenue stream which will guarantee that songwriters are paid for their work

More money for my pocket and we can use the image of a starving artist to instill guilt inside the client's head. Just hope they won't notice the pointlessness of some recent work.

Clearly, there are copyright issues involving these unlicensed sites, which are making good income through advertising and other sources, while the composers are not getting their due

Yeah, let's call all free-rider that did provide the same service on their website "Pirates".
They're pirate ! They're ripping money from our starving artists [] . Think of the children, you terrorist !

Photocopying lyrics is killing the music indurty ! Pay us more for this service.
Let's launch suits against those pesky lyrics-pirate.

Are your dollars are belong to us !
You are on the way to legal actions !
Take off every 'Lawyer' !
For great justice and money !

Re:YARSO-Yet Another Revenue Source from smth.Obvi (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730656)

Of course, you could use pen and paper to just write down the lyrics of a song. Therefore it's about time that a fixed payment per pen and per sheet of paper is demanded, compensating for the possible loss of income due to writing lyrics down yourself.

Re:YARSO-Yet Another Revenue Source from smth.Obvi (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730771)

You should also have to pay for the copy of the lyrics that you keep in your head. And if you sing the song out loud, well, people might hear you! And then they could write down those lyrics. Clearly, singing a song out loud should require induce a fee.

Which brings back memory of another post [] I recently made...

Re:YARSO-Yet Another Revenue Source from smth.Obvi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730661)

Why haven't we though before ?

You know, back in the day, before music could be recorded, selling music sheets with lyrics *was* the music business. When the phonograph started to take off, I think it was John Phillip Soussa who made the chilling prediction that one day the product "music" would not be sold to amateurs who performed it themselves, but to simple consumers who merely listened to the music.

Re:YARSO-Yet Another Revenue Source from smth.Obvi (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730666)

Who would pay, anyways? Paying a few bucks for lyrics still won't give you the right to do anything, such as perform the music in public. I think most of the lyrics use is very casual - just looking up a song to buy (OK, buy or pirate), or for amateur musicians to learn the song. But these people aren't going to pay any significant amount for lyrics. So where's the payoff?

Re:YARSO-Yet Another Revenue Source from smth.Obvi (2, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731112)

Extortion, they don't care how the lyric sites come up with the money, they're going to be ordered to pay or face a lawsuit.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730785)

Mafia still breaks kneecaps.

Who is surprised?

Re:Leeches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730813)

Somewhere, someone is actively handing over money to subsidize the RIAA.

It's not me, I haven't paid for or even downloaded music in the last 3 years or so. There's no point.

I think recorded music is nearly worthless - in the same way as a postcard print of a painting is nearly worthless.
It's certainly not worth any sort of effort to obtain.

Live performances are worth something, provided the band can actually play live.

Musicians are still the lowest of the lowest cast nomatter how you look at it. They're either signed into bondage by a record company or barely scraping together. Doomed to be miserable for their entire life either way.

I can't think of a single happy musician - save Ozzy, but that's because he's no longer conscious.

Peer, that bastard! (3, Funny)

shish (588640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730419)

'as much as a 5 percent increase, in industry music publishing revenues five years out from where we are right now,' Peer said.

Not content with a life of disconnecting IRC users for fun [] , he's now joined the music industry? What a bastard >:|

Great... (5, Insightful)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730423)

Now all we need is some form of DRM that makes you pay every time you read the lyrics, or someone reads them to you. And then some lawsuits for people that steal the lyrics by transcripting, storing or sharing them with others... Because we all know you just cannot remember and or write down stuff you hear on television or radio, or even worse, save other people the hassle of having to write them down themselves...

It's 'bout time them lyrics-stealing pirate bastards start paying for their criminal behaviour...

Re:Great... (2, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730767)

Personally, I'm waiting for them to put an anal probe up our ass and shocking us when we hear a song on the radio if we don't pay.

I don't see the problem here. Songs, by definition, have lyrics/singing in them, and people go to these sites to read the lyrics after hearing the song on the radio and they can't get the whole thing or don't understand some words, or because looking at the lyrics is different than having them sung to you. People hit these sites after a quick google search and they either click on the first one or the one that that gives them the fewest spyware or whatever.

AFAIK, there is not "Official" RIAA compliant version available whatsoever, but these people feel "they are above the law!" and just want to pull access to these sites, even though the song is the canonical source. Its rare, and no business model whatsoever for someone to pay to read lyrics to songs on the web without having the song.

This reminds me of the baseball outfits claiming all our data belongs to us with the web stats sites and/or books. Does anyone else see a similarity between these two, and does anyone know the status of the baseball stats?

Re:Great... (1)

UncleMantis (933076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731017)

Does this mean that every time a karaoke dvd is played at a local club that the patron is going to have to pay?

It will happen (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730432)

There's no way Gracenote would make a deal like this unless they had an agreement that the record companies would bludgeon Gracenote's competition to death with copyright. It's no problem for the record companies and it makes what they are licensing to Gracenote so much more valuable.

It will probably be easier than going after people who share MP3s - lyrics sites are generally ad-supported, with the ad providers like Google mentioning copyright problems in their terms & conditions, so there's no need for lawyers, just complain to the advertisers and "cut off their air supply".

This won't be the first time this has happened, either. Anybody remember [] ? Raided by the police for telling people the words to songs! Does it get any more ridiculous?

What dumbasses (1)

clarin (988267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730698)

Who else here has, in past, heard a song on the radio or elswhere and entered some of the lyrics into to Google to find out what it was? The RIAA is really shooting themselves in the foot here. How can you buy a song you heard if you don't know the name/artist? Lyrics sites are invaluable for that. The RAII should be glad they're out there.

Does it get any more ridiculous (4, Funny)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730791)

Just wait until they try to stop people humming songs on the bus, they may even start a pay for thought service where money is deducted from you bank every time you get an song stuck in you head. It all looks like copyright infringement to me.

Re:It will happen (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731133)

What exactly does it mean to have copyright on the lyrics ? I am pretty sure that no one said "Purple Rain" before Prince's song but what about "Yellow Submarine" ? maybe this slipped out of some sailor's mouth before the Beatles did... And after all if "I want to ride my bicycle" is anyone out there going to make me pay a full ticket to a Queen concert ? Really, I don't understand why lecturers, showmen and PR people can't have all their quotes copyrighted while these guys (backed by powerful companies with powerful attorneys) can do it. Anyone ?

Goddamnit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730441)

Slashdot wont even let me infringe even on lyrics. Stupid "too few characters per line".


Not unexpected really (5, Insightful)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730449)

Afterall the lyrics are copyrighted, the same as music, movies, and books, but it has been a nice way to track down "that song" that you heard on the radio by just typing a few of the lyrics you heard into Google. Well I guess that's dead. The music companies have shown they are willing to do anything to get every last cent they can using their old ways. Watching a subtitled music video has a lot of copyrights attached to it: The lyrics, the musical note order, the performance by the artist, the video, and potentially the font used to show the lyrics in the subtitles. From all the effort that has gone into producing those parts they need their due payment, afterall with rising fuel prices its getting very expensive to run enormous yaghts and exotic car collections.

Eventually the media companies are going to push too hard. Many big companies like to ride the line, and it seems legally that with the current political influence they have the media companies can keep on moving that line so they don't cross it. The question is, where has the consumer market set that line? People might express some negative feelings about record companines extorting money from single mothers living in poverty, but they still keep on buying, so I guess that line hasn't been reached yet either. There's too many other things to worry about these not being able to post a comment on slashdot for 6+ hours because Database maintenance is taking place. Noooo!

Re:Not unexpected really (2, Informative)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730514)

I buy mine from

That way RIAA doesn't get my money and yet i get to download all latest songs...

Re:Not unexpected really (0, Offtopic)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730638)

Does this come up in every discussion? You might as well download them via Torrent/ Usenet.

All does is throwing up a smokescreen that "we're in full compliance with the russian law", which I seriously doubt. So in all likelihood you're just supporting unethical behaviour, since I'm sure the russian law doesn't say anything about exporting (which is what selling to American citizens is, for all intents & purposes).

Bottom line: Downloading from illegal sources is about as kosher as downloading from, and no amount of reasoning will achieve much, apart from soothing your own conscience.

Disclaimer: I have never paid for music online, I just download everything.

Re:Not unexpected really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15731051)

allofmp3 is NOT an illegal source. If you buy a legit copy of a movie from Brazil for the equivalent of 5$, are you illegal because it cost 15$ in the US?

You are buying the track in Russia (if the filesharer is guilty of copyright infringement by making the copy available, then allofmp3 is the one who needs a license and they DO), then importing it to the US.

Now, customs may want dibs on some of that.

Re:Not unexpected really (0, Offtopic)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731123)

I'd say the biggest difference between p2p and allofmp3 is the thousands of p2p lawsuits. No allofmp3 lawsuits. (yet?)

I've spoken with people who feel allofmp3 is lower risk.

Re:Not unexpected really (3, Interesting)

shish (588640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730532)

Eventually the media companies are going to push too hard

Eventually? They haven't pushed hard enough for average joe to stop buying, but they're already shooting themselves in the feet in quieter ways -- how are you going to buy "that song" that you heard on the radio, if google won't tell you what it is, for example?

Bad move for music discovery (4, Insightful)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730706)

" has been a nice way to track down "that song" that you heard on the radio by just typing a few of the lyrics you heard into Google."

I do this all the time, and I disover new music that way. I certainly wouldn't pay to do it though - after all, I'm just deciding whether I like something enough to explore further. It's like this - hear it on the radio, search on Google, read lyrics of a few songs to get a feel for the band, maybe download a song or two (or listen to clips on Amazon), and if I'm still interested, buy something.

If I really enjoy music, a large part of that is because I like the lyrics. But I doubt I'd pay someone else to try out their product. You know, in some businesses, they pay YOU to try out the product.

As a musician, I put my lyrics up on my site for free so people can spend more time and thought on my songs, and perhaps be drawn to my site through search. Seems kinda obvious that this is a good thing for everyone.

The only plus I see to the Gracenote system is that "official" lyrics should be accurate. Personally I'd like to get them packaged with a download, so that if I'm listening to a song I can click and get the lyrics to come up with a bouncing ball on where I am in the song. Seems like that would be easy to program and add next to nothing to file size.

Re:Not unexpected really (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730856)

Eventually the media companies are going to push too hard

What do you mean eventually?

Pay for lyrics? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730451)

Fair use is no longer an option and we can look forward to root kits on our computers to 'crack down' on illegal copying? I think it is time to tell the recording industry how we feel about their draconian measures. Could you go without purchasing or even downloading music for 3 months? 6 months? a year? to prove a point?

Re:Pay for lyrics? (1)

Fingerbob (613137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730644)

I've managed to go without purchasing music (or downloading music) for months at a stretch, the last couple of years. I listen to Classic FM, Shoutcast and Pandora - and that covers me nicely, thank you very much. Oh, and my massive MP3 collection i've built up (legitimately, I might add) from records and CDs that I purchased long-time-gone.

the RIAA managed to lose me as a customer a few years back. Too late and too far, dumbasses. It may annoy me to hear a great new tune and not buy it, but at least I get the joy of picturing you leeches starving to death.

Re:Pay for lyrics? (1)

dedeman (726830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730723)

"Could you you go without purchasing or even downloading music for 3 months? 6 months? a year? to prove a point?"

Yes, and I have, but not to prove a point. I don't buy anything the RIAA churns out anymore, because my tastes have changed. The majority of music I listen to anymore comes from northern Europe, written by guys on computers and keyboards.

But that's just me. It's not to say I don't listen to anything from the RIAA, but I don't purchase it (not saying that I pirate/infringe/steal/copy/etc). The fact that I boycott RIAA material is an unintentional side effect.

Of course, I have to do work to get my music, often involving writing to musicians/producers as to where I can purchase. If found that this site [] , and this one [] (no DRM, a little more then $1 because of exchange rates), are great resources for the type of music I listen to.

Also, streaming audio works quite well for me. Lots of different content, and no adverts (or very few).

Re:Pay for lyrics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730769)

You can have your cake and eat it, too. You don't have to stop buying music, just stop buying it from the major labels. There are hundreds of thousands of very talented bands of every genre out there who record on their own private labels and who would love to be heard, and don't mind your uploading to p2p; indeed, they want you to!

These people are the real reason the RIAA wants to kill P2P; they can keep these independant artists off of the radio, but they can't keep them off of the internet! It's really about killing the competetion.

If you must get RIAA dreck, buy it used. That way you get your music legally and they still don't get a stinking dime!

Top Ten Things the RIAA would Like To Make Illegal (5, Funny)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730460)

Top Ten Things the RIAA would Like To Make Illegal

10. Whistling, humming, scatting, finger snapping, head bobbing, and any other form of "grooving" (per the Groove Memorandum of 1982.)
9. Refusing the blue pill after attending an Outkast concert.
8. Not answering your cell on the 1st ring in order to hear to more of "Clocks."
7. Fair use? More like "unfair abuse", am I right!?
6. Quoting Taking Back Sunday on mySpace.
5. Thinking about quoting Taking Back Sunday on mySpace.
4. Thinking about thinking about quoting Taking Back Sunday on mySpace.
3. Being Taking Back Sunday. (I kid, I kid.)
2. Transferring all your iTunes songs to your new bigger iPod. (You've got money for a new bigger iPod, don't you?)
1. Not handing them all of your money, every day, the second you earn it.

Re:Top Ten Things the RIAA would Like To Make Ille (3, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730677)

9. Refusing the blue pill after attending an Outkast concert.

Well, they found a better solution against unlicensed copies in your brain. Just remove the brain by brain surgery.
They already tested the method with their executives, and they found no negative side effects.

The Final Sign That Rock-N-Roll Is Dead (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730463)

Worse still, it will likely put this guy out of business, and that would be a cryin' shame.

When all lyrics are downloaded, and none have to be interpreted, something very important but likewise intangible about rock-n-roll is lost.

Tom Waits, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Woo Woo Woo.

Re:The Final Sign That Rock-N-Roll Is Dead (3, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730497)

Damn. Lost the link in all the /. server screwiness this morning: Here ya go, as originally written circa 3am:

Worse still, it will likely put this guy [] out of business, and that would be a cryin' shame.

When all lyrics are downloaded, and none have to be interpreted, something very important but likewise intangible about rock-n-roll is lost.

Tom Waits, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Woo Woo Woo.

Re:The Final Sign That Rock-N-Roll Is Dead (1)

jimktrains (838227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730684)

Just because you have the words, does not mean that you know what they mean. Something is gained by many songs by being able to know the lyrics. I understand that lyrics are copywrited, but I thought that that meant that you can't pass them off as your own, not you cannot collect and pass them out among friends (while retaining the identidy of teh copywriter)...

Lyrics sites (2, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730464)

I think this is just the music industry looking for revenue where they had previously written it off. Remember that they sued (the original lyrics site) out of existance right before the MP3 phenomenon hit. Then when MP3's hit, people "stealing" lyrics (yeah, it even sounds funny...) looked like small potatoes compared to people "stealing" whole songs. Now that the've more or less accepted the fact that they're not going to be able to eliminate P2P completely, they're going after revenue wherever they can. I think it's going to be interesting to see them go after sites that are hosted in other (non Western friendly) countries. It'll be easy enough to take down the ones in the US, but I doubt they'll have much headway in Belize, Romania, Estonia, etc. They're having enough trouble with, and that's in Russia. (I think)

Here's a dodge... (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730467)

I believe it was the position of (long since driven out by music publishers) that the lyrics they post are not the lyrics to the songs per say, but the interpretations of the lyrics made by their users. Yeah, that didn't work either. (sigh) You'd think publishers would realize that easy access to their lyrics makes their product more valuable, not less...

Re:Here's a dodge... (2, Insightful)

BetaJim (140649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730808)

You'd think publishers would realize that easy access to their lyrics makes their product more valuable, not less...

Absolutely! Easy access to song lyrics has also caused me to buy new music before. Numerous times when I'm listening to the radio in my car a rockin' song will play and the ignorant announcer never tells who the band was. My trick is to remember a phrase from the song and later type the phrase and the work lryics into google. This is how I discovered the White Strips.

Charging for lyrics seems to be a way for the recording industry to continue shooting themselves in the foot.

I can't decide (2, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730469)

On the one hand, this is another of those "it's our intellectual property, dammit" cases that seem so ridiculous - what is to stop lyrics sites from setting up shop in e.g. Russia, where it might be legally impossible to shut them down?

On the other hand, I hate those lyrics sites so much, I wish they would find a way to shut them down. They contain ads, popups, sometimes malicious content, and on top of that they often have mistakes in the lyrics.

So, I'm not sure I care that much about this one, personally.

Re:I can't decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730535)

I agree, ad supported ones suck. I forget where I found this site, but since it is wiki-based, no ads! []

Re:I can't decide (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730608)

I would love if the RIAA or whoever just set up one site, possibly with a few google text ads, or maybe a few simple banners, and offered the real official lyrics to all the songs in existence. Really, it wouldn't be that hard, and it would help people find music they had heard so they could buy it. It would be a nice change from all those crappy lyrics sites with popups, viruses, and other crap that you find while searching for something as simple as lyrics. I think that the music industry could make quite a bit of money just from the ads. Not to mention the added sales from people being able to find songs. Apple, Amazon and other sites who sell music could also pay a fee to work the results into their services, so that not only could people find song by band and song title, but also by the lyrics. I'm sure the customers would love it.

Re:I can't decide (0, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730669)

Infact... that busybody Mrs. Gore should spearhead the effort. It's stated goal would be as an educational tool so all of those frightened middle-america parents can read all of these dastardly lyrics that their children are being exposed to. Although, such an idea may simply make too much sense to old Tipper...

Those lyrics should be freely and readily available as a matter of consumer disclosure.

Re:I can't decide (2, Interesting)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731075)

That's exactly what they want. Of course, you'll have to pay a monthly fee; we can't allow something like convenience now, right?

Their right, but why? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730484)

While this is certainly their right, as they own the copyright to the music, I wonder why they will bother doing this. Lyric sites help to sell more music, which is the industry's primary source of income. Most of the current sites will just come down, because the ad revenue won't cover the cost of the servers, bandwidth, AND licensing. My only hope is that the one or two sites that will remain will stay free to visit and rely on ad revenue.

Great business model. (1)

keyne9 (567528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730490)

Have "singers" mumble out incoherant words during "performances" then charge fans for the lyrics, so that they can see if said lyrics are "deep." Either that, or they can sue the fuck out of people.

I suppose either is a "good" current business model for the RIAA. I wonder when they're simply going to try to make music people want to hear again?

Re:Great business model. (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730938)

Have "singers" mumble out incoherant words during "performances" then charge fans for the lyrics, so that they can see if said lyrics are "deep."

Already been done, see Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sean Paul ("Fight me Lennon?") The guys who sing "Louie Louie" etc.

But maybe they are doing this to save themseleves from law suits. Remember how long Jeremy from Pearl Jam played on the radio and VH1 and Mtv before they realized Eddie Veder was saying "Harmless little Fuck" If there were no lyric sites then no one would have noticed, and no one would have sued them for playing inappropriate music in Americas Heartland.

This greed drives me crazy! (1)

Alpha736 (710729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730504)

How long is it going to be before we have to start hiring hitmen on the **AAs before this insanity stops?

DRM? (2, Funny)

shish (588640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730515)

Will these official lyrics come in encrypted, DRM'ed text files, and you aren't allowed to sing along once your licence runs out? :P

Re:DRM? (2, Interesting)

zoeblade (600058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730609)

Will these official lyrics come in encrypted, DRM'ed text files

That's a pretty good question, actually. From what I understand, the FairPlay DRM used in the iTunes Music Store (to use a popular example) only encrypts the AAC audio stream of the M4A wrapper file. Seeing as this wrapper also includes the album cover art and (as far as I know) the lyric to the song in question, and I'm pretty sure FairPlay doesn't encrypt either of these, it should be trivially easy to extract the copyrighted artwork and lyric without even circumnavigating DRM.

Which presumably is legal for the fair use purpose of singing along to the song, but probably illegal for you to e-mail the lyric to a friend to tell them how good the song is so they also buy a copy.

Re:DRM? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730625)

Doesn't matter, there's still that damned analog hole! Take a screenshot, print screenshot, scan print, and OCR the scan to a standard text file. Or just retype them. Wait, that's a digital hole! Oh noes, more bullshit will soon be delivered to your doorstep for the cost of your taxes, courtesy a baited congress. Yep, they're going to ban typing. And of course speech recognition as well, people with CTS and disabilities be damned. I suppose USB3.0 will end up having its own sort of HDCP: KRAP (Keystroke Reporting to Avoid Potential copyright violations).

Re:DRM? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731004)

Funny you should ask that. I can't remember whether it was or another popular lyrics site, but when the record companies shut them down, they nicked their domain name, and set up an "equivalent" service. What this actually was was a Java applet that would connect to the server, download encrypted lyrics, display a couple of lines at a time and scroll slowly. You couldn't even scroll back up or copy & paste.

I think they must have had some sort of agreement to keep the service running in exchange for the domain name, but wanted to make it as big of a fuck-up as possible for anybody who actually wanted to use it. When did simply displaying plain text become such an arduous task?

This is actually counterproductive (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730521)

The only way to sell music is to raise a conscious desire to buy it in the minds of potential buyers. Exposure to the lyrics is one of the simplest ways for songwriters to encouarge people to think about the music they write and expose others to it in a way that has no meaningful way of allowing them to substitute copyright infringement for actually buying the song. Guitar tabs, for example, are useless by themselves. They form typically just one of four components to a song, but someone playing the tabs down the hallway at college or on stage at a local bar raises consciousness of the song.

"Rights, rights, rights" is the mantra of the industry and why they're so amazingly stupid. The only way to sell a cultural work is to make it part of the culture and locking it up in a maze of contract law is not going to do that. Let people violate your Happy Jolly Lawyer Land Contract Rights all day long on things like lyrics. If you're in the business of selling **songs**, and that's how songwriters make most of their money on average, you WANT people sharing the lyrics and posting them in public. It's not the song, it's not even part of the actual audio they'll enjoy. It's just a collection of written words that they'd never have a reason to buy on their own as... surprise, surprise THEY'RE NOT MUSICIANS!!

Meanwhile, most musicians, when given the choice, will gladly buy your sheet music at a reasonable cost if it means they get a 100% accurate set of sheet music with lyrics.

Re:This is actually counterproductive (1)

iny0urbrain (965352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730611)

One of the first things that I was *very* excited to find on this facinating "World Wide Web" was the huge amount of user-submitted lyrics websites out there. Confused about what an artist was saying? Bam! You could figure it out with one or two quick searches.

Why the music industry has taken over ten years to get their act together on this little internet island of piracy is mindblowing! If they had jumped on this moneymaking bandwagon years ago, they could've been making tons of money on Official Lyrics Websites. Alas, as with P2P, they jumped into the game too late, and will now sue their way out of their hole.

Re:This is actually counterproductive (1)

Secret Agent X23 (760764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730899)

If they had jumped on this moneymaking bandwagon years ago, they could've been making tons of money on Official Lyrics Websites. Alas, as with P2P, they jumped into the game too late, and will now sue their way out of their hole.
They might have been missing out on money they could have been making for the last ten years, but it's not too late to get into it. It seems to me that an "official site," if done well, could very possibly run the other sites out of business through plain ol' fair competition. If fans want to make sure the lyrics they get are accurate, they'll go to the official site.

What, and THE REST of the RIAA's bullshit isn't?!! (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730689)


Re:This is actually counterproductive (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730865)

It's true. Proper musicians (read: who actually know how to read sheet music, not just tablature) will gladly pay for the original (read: not some crappy re-arrangement) copy of the sheet music, if only because it's that much more fun to be able to play the music, and know the hard work that goes into it. I would readily fork out some cash for the trumpet line from some of CAKE's music, or the whole score from other music. Tis a shame this will never happen, as I could (gasp!) record my own version to listen to. It's crap like this that makes me glad I don't like music past the year 2000, with a few notable exceptions. Sorry TMBG, Franz Ferdinand, and all you actually decent bands, I guess I won't bother to spend my hard earned cash on your good music, because that'd be funding idiocy that I can't stand.

But overall, my personal favourite, was this quote from the article:

"We anticipate that you'll see different kinds of offers in the market, where lyrics are combined with recorded music in a total package like a subscription. This extra element should help drive sales growth. There are a lot of ways the services will derive value outside of adding an extra charge," he said.

Never mind that including the lyrics has been done for the past, what, 40 years of recorded music? It's the fact that you geniuses stopped including the lyrics with the music that people had to go to the internet (oh noes, the intarweb) to find out what people thought the lyrics were. And please, if you are going to include the lyrics, make sure they're accurate. I mean, for chrissakes, you have the damn music to listen to and the band to double check it with. If I had a nickle for every time I read the lyrics included with the CD that were inaccurate, I could probably survive being sued by the RIAA. Get off your damn high horse and go back to recording music.

rofl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730524)

Didn't the RIAA already give up on downloading via a W.-style "Mission Accomplished" statement? Or is it that media companies intend to fully piss off thier target audiences to the point where no one cares about thier goods anymore?

What about live performances!?! (1)

punkr0x (945364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730531)

You know I was talking to some kids the other day, and they like to get together and download tabs and cover other bands songs! Songs that don't even belong to them! They ought to crack down on that too. And whistling and humming, I think those are big problems. Ooh and maybe they could hide razors in their packaging to slice their customers.

How far do they want to go back? (1)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730534)

I went to a series of concerts in York (UK) last week as part of the York Early Music Festival [] . Will they be looking to enforce copyright on the pieces that Micrologus [] did from 15th century Italy?

I'm just waiting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730549)

..for them to come after guitar, bass, and drum tab sites. And declaring war on the next generation of fledgling musicians coming up and trying to learn how to play.

Apparently, being self-defeating isn't easy. You have to work hard to alienate the customer.

Though I'm suprised there isn't some kind of swell of independent labels being formed and touting themselves as NOT being part of the RIAA. There's a market opportunity out there.

Living a dangerous life here... (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730553)

... since I know the lyrics for more than 200 songs and counting, and I'm not afraid (so far) to spell them out in public, while working in the garden or in the backyard.

Now, I might consider buying a bulletproof jacket, just in case the RIAA sends a couple of goons down my street...

(and before anyone asks, no, I've never had any neighbor complaining about my singing :-)

What next ? Singing song in public 'unfair use' ? (1)

Horus1664 (692411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730560)

This strikes me as pretty ridiculous. The lyrics are only part of the song so I'm at a bit of a loss to understand why the music companies should be allowed to control them in this way.

Does this mean that you shouldn't sing a song out loud in a public place as this could be considered 'publishing' the lyrics such that other 'unlicensed' individuals could collect this information in some way...?

Obviously corporations will try to squeeze the last cent from any asset but shouldn't some judge with a bit of common sense just tell them to go away and stop wasting everybody's time and money ?

Here's what's next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15730879)

Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Korg, Roland, Yamaha and all the rest of the music instrument makers should start suing all the artists and record companies for royalties since it was their instruments used to record all those songs in the first place. Harley Davidson trademarked their "sound" of their motorcycle engine, so all the music instrument makers should trademark all the sounds that can be created with their instruments and demand royalties too.

Re:What next ? Singing song in public 'unfair use' (2, Interesting)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730911)

And this is part of why every restaurant I go to has their own special "Happy Birthday" rendition.

If you want a grand example of why it's good for things to eventually become part of the public domain, then that has to be the prime one.

Ridiculous (1)

Datoyminaytah (550912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730562)

Ridiculous. Lyrics are supposed to be free, and printed on the album liner, just like always...oh, wait, there's no room anymore on the teeny-tiny CD insert. Well, there is if they choose to spend a few extra cents and make it a booklet. The point is, NOBODY is infringing anything by trying to find and understand the lyrics to a song on a CD they have bought, or even a song they heard on the radio and are contemplating buying.

Re:Ridiculous (4, Insightful)

Datoyminaytah (550912) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730568)

Actually, the point is, nobody is going to say, "I don't have to buy that CD because I downloaded the lyrics for free and now I can sing it to myself whenever I want to hear it."

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15731170)

If you read the case closely, you find that lyrics printed on the album liner are "reprinted with permission." I can only gather that it's illegal to print your own lyrics on your own CD unless you go through the proper legal channels.

Poems set to music (1)

nascarguy27 (984493) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730575)

Lyrics are basically poems set to music. I've seen a bunch of poems from various poets online for free. The question I have is: Why are those poems free while the lyrics are going to be not as free?

Re:Poems set to music (1)

Kangie (975603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730717)

SSSH. Don't tell the RIAA that. Next you'll have DRMed poetry.

this.foot.shoot(); (4, Insightful)

isomeme (177414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730588)

The most common way I discover new music is hearing it being played -- in a cafe or store, typically -- deciding I like the sound, and remembering a unique-sounding snippet of lyrics to Google later. That gives me the title and artist. From there I can buy the track on Rhapsody, or even buy the CD.

If they shut down the lyrics sites, I will buy much less music. Nice work there, RIAA.

Re:this.foot.shoot(); (1)

ATMosby (746034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730664)

I realized today that I own enough music on cds to keep me happy for years. Granted a lot of it is 80s pop music, but really I don't have a need to buy more music ever. And since I don't listen to the radio or watch live TV, I'm unlikely to need additional music. And now if I hear some catchy rift in the mall, I'll never be able to locate it, so I'll just stay happy with my pre-2006 music collection.

Re:this.foot.shoot(); (1)

KIFulgore (972701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730718)

Me too, that's a great insight. Mod this parent up!

Bob Dylan is going to be rich(er)!!!!!!1111 (2, Funny)

limabone (174795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730622)

I can see the commercial:
"Did you like Bob's latest song? Did you understand a single word he said? Well now you can understand them all! Call 1-800-LYR-IC4U, operators are standing by."

Re:Bob Dylan is going to be rich(er)!!!!!!1111 (2, Funny)

digitrev (989335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730775)

Interesting point, but you made a slight mistake. The number will be 1-900-LYR-IC4U. Like they're gonna give us lyrics at a cost to them.

just wondering... (1)

aleksiel (678251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730647)

who buys CDs anymore from the big companies, anyways?
i occasionally buy some from indie lables and such or an artist who really deserves it, but i just don't feel like paying $15+ for a crappy cd.

FLASH! CD Sales Still Soft (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730665)


        Grasp desperately for any revenue stream available
        Terminally annoy target market
        Stifle growth

  (start)death knell

This is why I don't need commercial music anymore. (1)

KIFulgore (972701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730680)

I haven't bought a "main-label" CD in 3 or 4 years. You don't need the major music labels people, support your local music scene and buy from private music shops.

Oh, and if I can't understand the lyrics to a song, I change the radio station.

Acquire license to human ears and do away with it (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730727)

In one shot.

What the fucking hellhole of a crap is this ?

This galaxy was not created to 'accommodate music industry personas and enrichment and well being of them above all others' ?

To hell with them. Just for these bastards' sake, i am going to go get lyrics from places 'illegal', despite i have no business with lyrics and do not care for them.

Motherfucking load of crap. You u.s. people, are just a crowd to be herded it seems. These rich son of a bitches do WHATEVER they want with you, and through your congress and senate.

Greed (1)

reverend_rodger (879863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15730960)

This is actually more or less old news and has been going before the music industry began the witch hunt for music pirates. There used to be a few really good lyric sites in the early days of the net and I believe they were sued (and shut down if I remember correctly) by Fox Media. On that note, I still find this ridiculous. Much more ridiculous than suing people that download a couple of mp3s on Kazaa. At least when the music industry says that someone that downloads mp3s is costing them money it's at a semi-legitimate claim (though I personally use downloaded mp3s to pick out what CDs are worth buying, then delete what I don't like). To go after someone for putting the words to a song on their website and giving the artist credit for their work is just stupid and greedy. No, I don't want to buy your lyrics also. I bought the right to know the lyrics when I bought the CD.

Something to think about. (1)

Asphalt (529464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731016)

If you put up a completely blank web page, then you have just published the lyrics to every instrumental ever recorded.

That would be like, 50,000+ violations per page.

Don't say I didn't warn you when they knock on your door.

The only reason that we need to have the lyrics (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731067)

in print, is because they are generally un-intellegable on the recordings. What shyte.

whats next? (1)

stewie's deuce (953163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731103)

Are we still allowed to mention the name of singers/bands and their songs still???

I still remeber a little while back there was some issues over people posting guitar TABS.

I believe that postings of lyrics (and TABS) increase music sales. In a way, they act like ads. You want to know what the lyrics are, and you want to know how to play them on a musical instrument. Once you find the lyrics and/or tabs you are more likely to cough up a $1 on iTunes to get the song.

I just want to know something... *WHO* is going to pay for lyrics? Cover bands? right.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.... (1)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731154)

For shame! Suggesting that record company executives are greedy just because they want to license the lyrics to songs? They're just trying to make an honest buck. After all, they've got wives and children and mistresses and butlers and horses and maids and gardeners to feed just like everyone else.

Increase? (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15731167)

Revenues won't increase if they manage to pull this off... There is a finite amount of money people are able to afford to spend on entertainment over any given period of time. The only way they get an increase out of this is if people decide some other entertainment purchase is less worthy than buying lyrics access, and change their buying habits. I think the only likely candidate for the corresponding sales drop is CDs. If people have to buy the lyrics they want, they'll either not buy them, buy less CDs so they can afford it, or pirate the music to afford it.
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