“Here we are now; contain us?” …or was Kurt Cobain singing “Here we are now, entertain us?”…hmm…
Ever wonder what the right words were to some song? Ever been positive the words were one thing, only to find out they were actually something else? If so, you’re not alone. Mishearing song lyrics is a common phenomenon. It is so common, in fact, there’s a word for it: mondegreen. There’s a website where you can submit your errors; or laugh at other misinterpretations (the site’s name is amusingly based on a misinterpretation of a Jimi Hendrix lyric). There’s even a book of collected mondegreens (amusingly it’s titled after the same Jimi Hendrix misappropriation though there seems to be no relationship to the website). Now, there’s also a way of finding out the definitive answer.
Though lyrics are routinely among popular searches on the web (according to various Buzz indexes), this will mark the first lyrics catalog to be released under licensed approval from the music industry. (There are a wealth of free lyrics sites, many of which contain mistakes, and many of which have been shutdown for unlicensed reproduction of copyrighted material).
Last summer Gracenote initiated the process when it secured the rights to the lyrics from the North American catalogs of BMG Music, Universal Music Publishing Group (Vivendi), Sony/ATV publishing and others. In partnering with Yahoo on the distribution, Gracenote (which already does a solid business licensing its CDDB song database to online music distributors) will gain a sizable audience beyond what it draws to its own website. The two companies will share advertising revenue, presumably both with each other and the music publishers (the extent or terms or the revenue sharing have not been disclosed.)
Initially the Yahoo hosted database will include lyrics for 400,000 songs from 9,000 artists, spanning generations and genres. More than 100 publishers have agreed to participate and license their catalogs. More will follow if the site proves popular, and advertising revenue lucrative.
According to the press release, Gracenote Lyrics will be integrated into Yahoo! Music in a handful of ways:
- Yahoo! Music Search – Consumers can search lyrics from the Yahoo! Music Search box.
- Yahoo! Music Artist Pages – Each Artist section within Yahoo! Music will offer a lyrics page
- Yahoo! Music Top Songs – Top songs will provide links to lyrics
- Yahoo! Search – Yahoo! will be adding lyrics to its main search index, allowing users to search for and find lyrics from any Yahoo! Search box.
- Yahoo! Audio Search – Yahoo! users will be able to find links to lyrics through Yahoo! Audio Search, which helps consumers find music from a wide range of services, as well as non-music audio files from across the web. Audio Search will also provide technology that will allow users to search for songs by typing in segments of lyrics to find matching song titles.
The added content will most likely help the Yahoo music destination retain its current lead over competitors. Last month it edged out AOL music by approximately 5 million additional viewers (22m US visitors for Yahoo.) MySpace, the social network originally founded with a music centric hook, had 14.8m (Comscore Media Metrix numbers)