I’m always on the lookout for the perfect app for tracking down song lyrics. So I decided to give Ximii’s
Got Lyrics? app for iPhone, iPad touch and iPad a try to see if it would offer any new or improved features over some of the other lyrics apps I’ve tested. As a result, I’m thinking long and hard about abandoning my search—not because I’ve finally found the perfect app, but because I’ve become convinced that one doesn’t exist.
The Internet used to be full of great music lyric sites, but over the past few years, the music industry has scared most of these into oblivion with claims of copyright infringement. It seems that all that now remains are licensing deals with a handful of “authorized” lyrics databases that seem to focus primarily on Top 40 music. Since Got Lyrics? is drawing from the same data stream as everyone else, the collection of lyrics that it offers is no different than the others. So long as your musical taste leans toward Taylor Swift, Jay-Z or Lady Gaga, then you’re in business. But if you’re like me—a fan of older (and oftentimes, obscure) rock—then your results are going to be spotty.
This situation leaves the developers of these types of apps trying to differentiate themselves with the other features offered by their programs. So, what other features does Got Lyrics? have? Like others in this genre, it provides a list of the current top tracks on iTunes (who cares) and will display a list of YouTube videos by the artist of the cued-up track (yawn). And, in typical fashion, you can share the current track either by e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. Your posts include an iTunes link to the track and a Got Lyrics? plug. Oddly, the app’s one differentiating feature is a sleep timer.
One thing that would make Got Lyrics? (or any other lyrics app, for that matter) stand out would be to have it available as a hybrid iPhone/iPad app, or as an iPad-specific version. Got Lyrics? is optimized for the screen on the iPhone or iPod touch, which means you need to scroll up and down to view the the lyrics from beginning to end. With the larger display area on the iPad, it could be possible to display the entire text, which would be much better for reading or singing along. At present, Got Lyrics? will run on the iPad, but not in a format that’s been optimized for Apple’s tablet.
Don’t get me wrong… Got Lyrics isn’t a bad or flawed app. It performs its advertised function just fine. It’s just no different than most of the others in this crowded category of apps.
[Brian Beam is a musician, Robin Trower fan and partner with BOLD Internet Solutions, living somewhere near Kansas City.]