Google puts song lyrics websites out of business by adding lyrics to Google Search Knowledge Graph


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Once upon a time, if you needed an accurate script of the words recited in a song, you’d head to Google and punch in “[name of song] lyrics,” right? And Google would simply spit out a list of lyrics websites loaded up with as many ads as you can handle and, eventually, the very list of words you’re looking for.

But those sites could soon find themselves in a pinch thanks to Google’s latest move. The company has started showing song lyrics for select songs in Knowledge Graph, their big database of information that aims to tell you what you need to know when you need to know it (and the main driving force behind Google Now).

google lyrics

Our search for Stone Temple Pilots’ lyrics to “Plush” presented the information in the cleanest layout we could ask for, and even hooked us up with a handy link to the lyrics and the ability to buy the song on Google Play. And the best part is there’s not a single ad to be had.

Convenient, handy and useful. But it’s not all good news, particularly for those whose life this might negatively affect: owners of song lyric websites. While Google still includes those wonderful sites in their long list of search results, most folks might not even see them anymore as Google’s built-in lyrics sit on top of everything else. Viewing the search results on my 1080p monitor forces me to scroll down before I’m able to see the first actual listing (as illustrated in the screenshot above).

The short term effects of this change might not be immediately severe — after all, Google doesn’t yet have lyrics for every song you can think of. But the more deals Google strikes with recording companies to offer these lyrics in Google Search and on Google Play, the more traffic to those age-old lyrics sites will fall off. And knowing how much money Google has we reckon it won’t be long before they snap up more of said deals.

What makes matters worse for those guys is YouTube — Google could leverage the treasure trove of song lyric videos uploaded there to not only offer up lyrics, but also actual songs to listen to while you’re perusing those sweet words your ears have come to love.

Whether those sites will be rendered completely obsolete with the move remains to be seen (worth noting here that Google isn’t the only search engine in the world, though it is the largest), but don’t be surprised if this move eats up so much of those folks’ profits that they’re eventually forced to close up shop. Give it a go on Google Search the next time you’re interested in seeing what your favorite song consists of in text.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This has been around for over a week, no?

  2. Funny thing is that those sites probably use Google Ads of some sort. So Google ends up shooting themselves in the foot. Not life threatening by any means but surely one division of Google has to be complaining to another. (I’ve also always been a little stymied by Google allowing ABP on Chrome since it defeats one of Google’s revenue streams.)

    1. I think it’s pretty cool of them to sacrifice the extra revenue in certain cases, it’s highly unusual but makes me feel Google does have interests aside from having all the money in the world. And it might help build a little loyalty among a few people which could earn Google some money down the road.

  3. http://img.pandawhale.com/41622-Grumpy-cat-good-uUqS.jpeg

    I won’t miss any of the lyric websites.

  4. Meanwhile, back at don’t be evil…

    1. Ever been to a lyrics site? They’re uniformly terrible.

      Also, how does a “Phandroid Team” member parrot the “Don’t Be Evil” line that nobody’s used outside of Cult of Mac for 5 years. They’re a corporation; they are inherently evil.

      Go cry somewhere else, Nancy.

      1. Dear God, it was just a joke. Go outside, take a walk, do something lmao!

        Btw – that’s still Google’s official motto. Not the go outside bit but don’t be evil.

        1. I don’t see how this is an “evil” move by Google, even in a joking way. Those websites were terrible anyways, it isn’t a big loss for anyone, only gain.

          1. I don’t see it as an evil move either.

            They made money on ads at those sites.

            Now perhaps they’ll make more money by simply providing a better service.

            And I have no problem with that.

            Hence why couching it in terms of corporate evil was very, very funny to me.

            Nothing more than that. ;)

            All I did was give voice to the whiners with my first statement. It’s called sarcasm. That others couldn’t see that to the point of calling me names is on them, not me. :D

            I apologize if that’s wrong but for me it’s two laughs for the price of one. ^. ^

  5. The wikipedia helped put down the encyclopedia business. Should we feel bad about that, too?

    1. You should since Wikipedia – comprised of power tripping ego-maniacs – is terrible compared to encyclopedia’s that are filled with actual information.

  6. This just means that the various lyric websites will need to innovate and step up their game. Most of those sites have been stagnant for far to long.

    Something tells me that genius.com is safe.

  7. Good riddance. Those ad plagued sites are terrible. I don’t mind el Goog serving me up results instantly.

  8. Good, these websites needed to go, some were inaccurate and had awful flashy ads. Now we finally get a centralized place to find this type of information as it always should be.

    1. Yeah, smaller user contributed websites are so much worse than a closed algorithm funneling everything to the biggest privacy violator in the world… /rolleyes

      1. Your cynicism has been noted, but not taken seriously.

        1. Your white knighting and fanboyism has been noted… and laughed at.

          1. Sure it has, whatever helps you sleep at night baby.

  9. I wish they had lyrics available to view in play music. Icing on the cake would be karaoke mode. Haha. I wish the play music app experience would be more like the play store experience for music. It used to be you could view band info on the play store. I’m not sure why they don’t unify the experience on the play music app. I’d like more info, album art, lyrics, similar bands, etc.

    1. Amazon is doing something very close to that, one line at a time, in the amazon music app. They call it “X-ray lyrics”. Not on every song though.

    2. I am really hoping that with Play Music’s next app update that you can choose to turn on a lyric display or something, and the words just be be imposed over the album cover area.

  10. I’m surprised they don’t have ads on the right side; seems like there’s plenty of room for just normal Google ad boxes and links.

  11. Too bad the US is such an oligarchy and won’t actually go after Google for another blatant anti-competitive move like this. :

    Do no evil, Google.. remember? So much for that.

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