Monetizing music. That's likely the objective behind Google's latest search engine moves, which now pop up song lyrics at the top of relevant search inquiries. While many other sites and thousands of YouTube videos have been providing easy online access to song lyrics for years, Google can obviously leverage the behemoth power of its search engine to provide its own results first -- then linking to its own sources, such as the Google Play store, to sell you the tunes.
The news emerged last week in a short Google Plus post by Glenn Gabe, Digital Marketing Consultant at G-Squared Interactive. "The hammer has fallen. Google now displaying lyrics in the SERPs (search engine results pages)," Gabe said.
Gabe's post included a sample result showing the page that appears if you're searching for the term "mollys chambers lyrics." The first item to show up at the top of Google's results page includes the complete lyrics to the song by Kings of Leon.
'Makes You Wonder'
Indeed, older music fans will remember 'back in the day' when it was nearly impossible to find song lyrics if they weren't included with albums. That trouble lay behind countless misunderstood lyrics, including the classic -- "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" -- which was really Jimi Hendrix singing "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" in the song "Purple Haze." Not to mention the cryptically interpreted lyrics from AC/DC's "thirty thieves and the thunder chief," which of course was always meant to be "dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap."
While the new search functionality is live, Google isn't yet consistent with the results it returns. For example, a search for the aforementioned "Purple Haze" didn't return a set of lyrics, although it did include links to Web sites that have published the words to the song. The same held true in a search for AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" lyrics.
"Google began quietly rolling out lyrics at the top of results pages last week, but only for certain songs that have been licensed from music publishers, with more expected soon," according to an ArtsBeat article published today in the New York Times.
The article noted, for example, that lyrics appear in a search for Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" but not for the Bruce Springsteen classic, "Born in the U.S.A." It added that Google had confirmed the new search feature with a "playful statement": "There's a feeling you get when you turn to a song and you know that the words have two meanings. Well it's whispered that now if you go search the tune, maybe Google will lead you to reason. Ooh, it makes you wonder . . ."
Lyrics in 'Legal Gray Area'
In response to comments on his Google Plus post, Gabe noted that "there's a lot they (Google) can do to monetize lyrics. And I expect that to happen, sooner than later. :)"
And it does appear that it will be be sooner: "When they do appear, the words come complete with a link to the company's Google Play store, where the tracks can be purchased," according to the New York Times.
After decades of languishing in a "legal gray area," song lyrics appear to finally be making their way into a more easily accessed -- and monetized -- position, according to the New York Times.
In fact, Microsoft's search engine, Bing, launched its new "lyrics experience," in early October. The feature enables users to "view full lyrics for your favorite song on the mainline search results page, without having to click through to a third party site or spend time figuring out which blue link on the page will yield good quality lyrics."
Posted: 2014-12-25 @ 8:29pm PT
If you dig deep enough, you can see some more great song lyrics in a book I wrote called "Crazy Robert's Songs and Potential Song Lyrics." You can download the book for a dollar on Amazon. If Google buys my book for a dollar and lets you search for lyrics...wait'll they see my song about an Aerobics Instructor-2-3-4. For now, I guess you'll have to buy the book.