June 29, 2016 3:39 pm

Goodbye song-lyrics websites, Google’s in charge now

A search for 'Eye of the Tiger' lyrics turns up directly on Google Search's page.

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We’ve all done it, especially those of us who were around for the genesis of the internet: looked up lyrics for songs so we can sing along at home, or maybe post some clever lines to social media.

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The days of visiting AZ Lyrics or other similar sites are over, now that Google is integrating a “lyric search” to Google Search. The search giant has signed a multi-year deal with Toronto-based licensing clearinghouse LyricFind, which will let Google display full song lyrics — for millions of artists — in a module at the top of the search page.

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“We’re happy to expand the depth and quality of lyrics available on Google’s services,” said LyricFind CEO Darryl Ballantyne. “We’re working together to make lyrics available to a larger audience in a faster and more efficient way.”

Ballantyne predicts publishers and songwriters will see additional revenue from this deal, into the “millions” of dollars, according to Billboard.

“Royalties are paid based on the number of times a lyric is viewed,” he said to the magazine. “The more it’s viewed, the more publishers get paid.”

“LyricFind has been the main driver behind creating a legal and global lyric infrastructure for all platforms, and its partnership with Google further strengthens this mission. LyricFind collects new royalties for songwriters and rights holders, and benefits music fans who engage more easily than ever with lyrics that inspire them,” said the LyricFind team in a blog post.

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Searchers won’t be required to open third party apps or websites for reading song lyrics, so obviously existing song-lyrics websites are very worried about their future. They are almost certain to experience a severe dip in click-through rates, the main measure of their traffic. The top three sites — AZLyrics, MetroLyrics and LyricsFreak — all get between 90 and 91 per cent of their traffic from search.

“We are indeed very concerned about the fact that Google is going to provide song lyrics directly on its search results,” said Yigal Ben Efraim, chief executive of Stands4, which owns Lyrics.net.

Lyrics websites are trying out new measures to offer up more than just lyrics, like supporting content, user forums and other things to keep readers engaged.

It’ll be an uphill battle, but nothing the lyrics for Eye of the Tiger can’t get them through.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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