Google explains how it sources lyrics data, will add attribution soon

Google sources lyrics from music publishers when possible, and from third parties when not

Following reports that Google was copying lyrics data from American media site Genius, the Mountain View-based search giant has published an explainer on where it gets lyrics and says it will start attributing sources.

Genius accused Google of copying its lyrics data and surfacing the content directly in the company’s search results. For example, if you looked up the name of a song, a panel with the lyrics would appear on the page.

According to Genius, it used alternating straight and curly apostrophes in its lyrics to spell out ‘red-handed’ in Morse code. The media company says it found over 100 instances of Google lyrics containing the same apostrophe patterns.

Google says it pays publishers for the right to display lyrics, since publishers manage the rights to lyrics on behalf of songwriters. However, the search giant also noted music publishers often don’t have digital copies of the lyrics text, so in those cases, it licenses the lyrics from third parties.

Further, Google says it doesn’t crawl or scrape websites to source lyrics. Instead, the lyrics people see in search come from lyrics content providers and are updated regularly as the company receives new lyrics and corrections.

On top of this, Google says it has asked the lyrics provider involved in the Genius dispute to investigate the issue.

“We always strive to uphold high standards of conduct for ourselves and from the partners we work with,” wrote Satyajeet Salgar, the group project manager for Google Search, in the lyrics explainer post.

Google says that it will soon include attribution to third parties providing the digital lyrics text used in search to help make it clearer where it sources lyrics from.

Source: Google