Add Lyrics Automatically To Songs In iTunes, iPod & iPhone With Get Lyrical

More than once, I have tried listening to a song again to figure out what the vocalist was trying to say. If you listen to your music on an iPod or iTunes, this process could get a whole lot enjoyable and convenient, if you just had access to the lyrics of the song, so that you would never miss out on the complete music experience.

The great news here is, that both iTunes and your iPod (Nano, Classic or Touch) or for that matter even your iPhone has inbuilt support for displaying lyrics for a particular track. The bad news is, that if you search the web, there has been no easy way to do this. There have been Apple Scripts, plug-ins, dashboard widgets, but all of them have their issues, and most of them are outright incompatible with Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 (Leopard and Snow Leopard). While I was searching for a one-stop solution to this problem, I stumbled upon Get Lyrical, and my search ended right there and then.

Get Lyrical is a tiny freeware app that is dedicated to the purpose of finding lyrics for tracks in your music library and automatically tagging them with lyrics so that they are ready for you when you need them. It makes sure that you, as the user, have to do minimum work in this process which if done manually, can be tedious and tiresome. Get Lyrical fetches lyrics from LyricWiki, which is the biggest online database of lyrics, in multiple languages.

This screenshot shows you the default layout of Get Lyrical. This is ALL there is to the app. All the functionality is inside these 5 buttons.

  1. Tag Selection – Fetches lyrics and tags the tracks that you’ve currently selected in iTunes. The selection can be within a playlist or within your music library, or could be a single track. To select multiple tracks, just hold down the Cmd button, and click on all the tracks that you want tagged. If lyrics for any of the selected tracks are already available, then Get Lyrical asks you if you want to replace the existing lyrics to add the new ones. This makes sure that you accidentally don’t override or replace some custom lyrics that you added for a particular track.
  2. Tag Current – Tags the currently playing track with lyrics, and overwrites any previously stored lyrics.
  3. Active Tagging – In this mode, songs are tagged as and when they are played. So you can start a playlist, and as each song plays, it will get tagged automatically. In this mode, Get Lyrical won’t bug you with any pop-up windows, it will only ask for a small confirmation from you if a track already has some lyrics, it will confirm if you want to replace those lyrics with new ones.

Apart from this, you can press Cmd + 2 in the main window to bring up a Lyrics Quick View, that looks something like this –

This way, you can quickly bring up a window to view the lyrics, without having to go back to iTunes, selecting the required track, and opening up the ‘Get Info’ window.

You can also tag a complete playlist, by just pressing Cmd + Shift + P. As simple and easy as that.

Test Results

I have over 1000 tracks in my iTunes music library, which include a very wide variety of genres, and languages. I have tracks in English, Hindi and even Icelandic.

I tried to tag every single one of them, and the results were extremely pleasing. With the tracks in English, I got a success rate of nearly 98%. Hardly 2 or 3 tracks for which lyrics weren’t available. The good thing is, when it is done tagging, Get Lyrical offers to generate a temporary playlist for you, which contains the songs that it was unable to find the lyrics for. You can then easily tag them manually.

However, for tracks in foreign languages, I was somewhat disappointed. Get Lyrical hardly tagged any tracks out of the few hundred tracks I have in languages other than English. But I guess that was more or less expected since the community at LyricWiki is primarily based in the US.

Final Word

Get Lyrical is a brilliant app, especially considering that it is the only app I could find for OS X that works on Leopard and Snow Leopard. It is pretty lightweight, and it does not boast of big features. It promises to do what it is meant to do, and indeed it is the best at it.

The only disappointment was the time it took to fetch the lyrics. It takes a lot of time to send requests and then receive the lyrics. This could be an issue of LyricWiki being overloaded, so I don’t blame it entirely on Get Lyrical. To tag my music library containing around 1200 tracks, Get Lyrical took around 4 hours. The end result, however, was very pleasing.


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