Yesterday, the anticipated agreeement between EMI and SpiralFrog was announced. Coming on the heels of UMG’s acquisition of BMG, this gives the not-quite-free download service more critical mass. Tucked into the announcement was a nugget that I consider more important to the evolution of digital music, free or otherwise:
… In addition, SpiralFrog has also obtained a worldwide license to enable users of the service to search for and display the lyrics of EMI Music Publishing’s English language repertoire.
When records were king, album covers provided the visceral kick missing from simply listening to the songs. The CD diminished this experience signficantly (particular as baby boomers’ vision waned and microscopic liner notes got harder to read); the download age eliminated it completely.
That’s sad, because the digital music experience has the potential to provide all kinds of rich content, with the cooperation of copyright holders of course. That’s why this announcement is big. Here’s a challenge to EMI (and UMG): why not include the lyrics in the ID3 placeholder, where they rightfully belong? In the media player, offer an option to stream them, news-crawl style, on the screen?
Really, that’s only the beginning. Musical credits open up a whole other realm of possibilities. And don’t get me started about what could happen when WiFi MP3 players become the norm. Ticket pre-sales, track previews, street team swag – the sky’s the limit, guys.
Wake up from your petulant, lawyer-enabled fog and create the future.