I’m sad to say that after three years, I’ve had to unpublish my Lyrics application from the Play Store. Four years ago, I had a vision of creating a lyrics app that could be used by any music players on the market, including my own. There was an application in the market previously that legally showed lyrics, but they then decided to morph into being a music player instead of a lyric providing application, so I felt like there was again a gap for an autonomous lyrics tool that could be used by many. As such, I started digging into trying to replace this lyrics application with one of my own. Unfortunately, very few companies out there hold the licenses needed for displaying lyrics. Luckily, I found one willing to work with me. The bad news is that they wanted me to guarantee them an ad revenue rate that is barely attainable in the U.S. and Europe and I wanted to distribute to the whole world. It seems crazy to me to deny lyrics to Brazilians or Indonesians because of some archain price point set back before smartphones were invented. To complicate matters, the company wanted as much per lyric view as Spotify currently pays an artist when their song is played. Wow. I love songwriters, but getting as much per lyric view as a full Spotify song play seems a bit excessive. My repeated offers to split all ad revenue 50% were rejected. I still don’t fully understand why. So lastly, we settled on a subscription model. It was something new. Untested waters. Maybe it could work?
The deal was struck, and I built the lyrics app I wanted. You could view lyrics within the app, or any music player could integrate with the app to see lyrics directly. It wasn’t a competing music player, it was a source of lyrics for all Android users. I was pumped to have created what Android needed. However, within two weeks of release, I had my answer. People don’t want to pay for lyrics. During the trial period, a high percentage of users were loving the app. Usage was extremely high. Feedback was great. Then the paywall hit. Under 1% of users who were loving the app were willing to support my work and the songwriters with cash. That trend held true for three years. I lost money every single year, plus the development cost. I held out hope but in the end nothing was going to change unless the business model changed.
I made one last pitch to the company holding the licenses for an ad model. I thought maybe three years would have been enough to move from the crazy high minimums being imposed across the world, but alas, it was not enough.
Maybe one day I’ll find a lyrics deal that makes sense as a business model. The code is already written. Until then, I’ll curiously watch the market. My guess is that companies and apps in the lyrics market will come and go until someone secures a deal with a much lower minimum. Maybe Genius has done that. Maybe MusiXmatch has. If they haven’t secured a partnership type deal, I think they won’t be around too long.
In the end, I hate to see the end of Lyrics from JRT Studio but I have to put my time and energy into my other apps. Thank you to those that did support this experiment. It really does mean a lot to me. I hope you understand this decision.