If you feel like YouTube Music (YTM) has been adding a new feature every other day, you're not mistaken. With Google Play Music going the way of the dodo soon, YTM has gone into overdrive to match it as much as possible before it's deprecation time. The latest addition is lyrics support on the web client.
Spotify has been working on proper lyrics support for ages. It likely takes this long to implement the seemingly simple feature in part due to licensing issues surrounding songtexts, which already led to a lawsuit against Google. Spotify seems to have finally found a suitable solution, as TechCrunch reports that the company is planning to roll out lyrics synced with music to 26 markets today. The US, Canada, and the UK aren't among these, though.
YouTube Music has been steadily improving and spreading to more countries since its launch. Over the past couple of months, Google has been testing and slowly rolling out two new features in the app: a new player interface with lyrics and an Explore tab for better music discovery. Both of these are now live for most users (if not everyone) in the latest app update.
One of the joys of listening to music is singing along, but if you don't want to make a fool of yourself or if you really want to understand what the artist is saying (or mumbling, humming, growling), you need to have quick access to lyrics. Spotify, one of the world's largest music streaming services, wasstillbehind on this feature until now. The service is now slowly catching up and rolling out proper lyrics support to users.
More than a year after launch, Google is still bringing slow, but tangible improvements to YouTube Music. While the ability to upload your own tracks to the service isn't yet live, we now have confirmation that it's coming. A little less exciting piece of news is that the app is testing a new, improved Now Playing interface.
Songs and lyrics come hand in hand, at least if you don't listen exclusively to instrumentals and electronic music. When you're failing to understand what an artist is saying — be it because they're talking too fast, growling too much, swallowing letters left and right, or speaking a foreign language for you — lyrics help you decipher the mess and understand the song's message. Several music streaming services offer lyrics along with songs, like Spotify (though in its own Behind the lyrics flavor) and Apple Music, and now YouTube Music is getting ready to join the fold.
Google's knowledge graph is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it's great for us users and offers us information at a glance before we ever need to enter a website. On the other hand, publishers are losing a lot of impressions because people don't click through to them anymore. This is particularly evident for lyrics providers; ever since Google started to offer song texts in search, traffic has naturally dropped for them. Now, one of the biggest players, Genius, has accused the search engine of illegally lifting lyrics from their platform and has provided evidence in the form of clever apostrophe use.
For more than two years, Spotify has been offering a "Behind the Lyrics" feature that gives its users the ability to see parts of a song's lyrics accompanied by comments from other listeners, and sometimes by background information from the artists themselves. Now the company is finally working on showing subscribers what they actually want to see: plain simple automatically scrolling lyrics without any bells and whistles.
One of the major benefits of having a smart display instead of a speaker is seeing relevant controls and information on the screen. For music, that means album art, playback controls, videos if available, and most importantly, lyrics. On Google Assistant smart displays, only titles from Google Play Music showed lyrics, but that's now rolling out to Spotify as well.
When Apple announced iOS 13, one of the things that caught my attention was its live lyric implementation in the music app. That was a logical step after the company's purchase of Shazam and I liked how it was integrated in the app instead of requiring a separate layer like Musixmatch. Now, that same functionality is making its way to Apple Music on Android, along with a dark theme.