How Can I Get Lyrics to Music I Stream?
Pandora includes lyrics right in its Web interface.
CREDIT: Michael Gowan
For many people, streaming music is quickly becoming the standard way to listen. Why bother filling your hard drive with MP3 files when you can stream unlimited music from services like Spotify and Pandora?
But as you discover entire new niches of music, you may find yourself asking, “What in the world is she singing about?” If you find you want access to lyrics when you stream, you have options — though not every streaming service makes getting lyrics easy.
Which streaming music services offer lyrics?
Pandora Internet Radio is the only streaming option that includes lyrics as part of its service. They display automatically if Gracenote, the database Pandora uses, has the lyrics for the song playing. By default, the lyrics appear directly below the album art in Pandora’s Web interface.
But you can get lyrics for some other streaming services through add-ons and apps. If you use the Grooveshark Web-based player, you can get lyrics by using the Chrome Web browser and adding the free Grooveshark Enhancement Suite extension (found through the Chrome web store). Once active, the extension adds a link to the Grooveshark page to show lyrics.
Spotify users can get the free Musixmatch app within Spotify’s Mac or Windows desktop application. The app detects the song you’re listening to and syncs the lyrics to display within the main window at the right time during the song. If the lyrics are wrong or out of sync, you can improve them for others by submitting fixes directly within the app.
[SEE ALSO: What's New in Streaming Music Services?]
What if I want lyrics when I’m mobile?
Only Pandora integrates lyrics into its mobile app. But, with a bit of effort, you can create workarounds through separate apps to get the job done for other services.
SoundHound, a music identification app, listens to the music you’re playing and IDs it, listing the lyrics if it has them, or providing a link to search on the web. If you run your streaming music app in the background and use your mobile device’s speakers, the ID function should work. That precludes using headphones, however, the way most people listen when on the go.
You can do the same workaround with Musixmatch's offers free Android and iOS apps. Incidentally, Musixmatch does provide lyrics for songs stored on your mobile device. Of the two, SoundHound is better at recognizing audio, but Musixmatch has a bigger database of lyrics (for 6 million songs versus SoundHound's estimated 1 million.)
On Spotify's online forum, a user has requested adding lyrics to the mobile app. If you are a Spotify user and would like to sing along, you can add your endorsement to the post.