Gracenote ties up online rights to song lyrics
Burning music CDs would be a far less satisfying experience without Gracenote, one of the quiet success stories of the first Internet boom. Gracenote maintains an online database of album information that makes it possible for software such as iTunes to automatically identify album titles and track names. Now, the company (which, amid some controversy, transformed itself from an open-source project to a commercial venture in 1998) has locked up the online rights to song lyrics from dozens of music publishers. Says Ars Technica: "The deal could open the door for download services such as Apple's iTunes Music Store ... to offer music lyrics to their customers along with song downloads. It represents the largest effort so far to create a legal system of lyric distribution on the Internet."
That's all good, but Ars and others point out that the deal could mean an end for the cottage industry of unauthorized song lyrics sites. On BetaNews, commenters have greeted the news with a fair degree of derision, generally agreeing that lyrics should be free. "What record labels fail to recognize," writes one, "is that lyric sites help promote sales anyway. How many times have you heard a song and had no clue who the artist was, so you Googled it? The music industry really does have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot."
Are song lyrics meant to be free -- or just another commodity? You tell us.
its so blatantly obvious that lyrics should be free, that i can't fathom the stupidity of those against it!
Several times, i just heard a part of the song, and remember just a few words, and i can always search online and figure out what the song is, and then look for the song in one of the online music services. Singing along with the song is also a simple pleasure, that shouldn't be another commercialized commodity.
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