Too many holes in LyricFind for iPhone

It's a nice idea--an iPhone application that lets you look up song lyrics. Unfortunately, there are way too many gaps in LyricFind's database.

Tech Culture

LyricFind has been trying to compile song lyrics into a searchable database since 2000, and after a few years of failed negotiations with rights holders, the company is finally getting some traction.

Earlier this month, it released a lyrics app for the Slacker RadioPlus service. The Web site has never been much use: it only lets you search on snippets of lyrics to try to find song matches; I'm much more interested in entering a song title to get the full lyrics for that song.

Pink Floyd "Echoes" = fail. The right result showed up in the fourth position, but when I clicked through, it wouldn't let me see the lyrics.

So I was excited when I heard that LyricFind was releasing an iPhone app that is supposed to do exactly that. The interface looks promising enough--there's a space to enter the song title and artist name, and a search button. Unfortunately, in my tests, it failed more often than it succeeded. When it did succeed, the correct lyrics were often buried several places down in the search results. A few times, it appeared to find the right match--such as with Pink Floyd's "Echoes," where it found a David Gilmour version of the song--but wouldn't let me click through to the full lyrics, probably because of a copyright issue. Other times, it appears to have pulled lyrics from random Internet sources that are not exactly authoritative--the matches for R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It" are obviously wrong in a few places, for instance.

For now, it might be worth checking out the free ad-supported "Lite" version, but I can't recommend paying $3.99 for the ad-free version. I'll check back in a few months to see if they've improved the results.

LyricFind has also released a free Facebook application that not only offers lyric searches, but also lets users create quizzes, dedicate songs to their friends, and contribute lyrics to the database--maybe I'll start by uploading my own version of that R.E.M. song.

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