Google and Genius are having a complicated squabble over sourcing lyrics. Genius, a lyrics annotation service, claimed that Google has been scraping its content and publishing it without appropriate credit, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. However, both Google and LyricFind, one of Google’s lyrics providers, denied the allegations.
“We take data quality and creator rights very seriously, and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement,” Google said. “We’re investigating this issue with our data partners and if we find that partners are not upholding good practices we will end our agreements.”
“Google licenses lyrics content from music publishers (the rightful owner of the lyrics) and from LyricFind,” added a statement from LyricFind. “To accuse them of any wrongdoing is extremely misleading.”
This debate is yet another example of the importance of accurate music metadata. A single recording passes through many hands: label, publisher, performer, songwriters, distributors, and a range of streaming services. Managing copyrights accurately requires that all of those parties have the same information. Lyrics are just one facet of this problem.