Lyric Display, or How My iPod nano Decoded Twista | iLounge Backstage


Lyric Display, or How My iPod nano Decoded Twista

Once in a while, Apple adds something seemingly small to the iPod and/or iTunes and barely mentions it - like support for storing and displaying lyrics within any song. This mightn’t matter much to some people, but from where I stand, the iPod has just evolved into something new: a way to learn music, and potentially more.


Take Twista, the Chicago rapper who spits lyrics so fast that you have basically no idea what he’s saying. Thanks to the magic of iTunes 5 (and the iPod nano), you can insert the lyrics to his songs inside of the song files within iTunes (ctrl-I or command-I, flip to Lyrics Tab), then view them on the iPod nano when the song’s playing back. Just press the center button twice for a song with no album art, or three times for a song with it. All of the sudden, his rapid-fire rhymes make sense. Mostly. And you can read them while you’re listening. It’s awesome.


It’s also handy for slower songs, just in case you’re preparing for 50 Cent, Kanye West, or Barbra Streisand (it’s “you don’t bring me flowers any more?” really?) to ask you to holla back at a concert, and want to know what to holla. Other potential applications - guided tours with embedded addresses and other information, eventually linked to photos, and so on. If properly cultivated, text embedding in iTunes music with complete iPod display support could be the start of something big.

It would be great to see this feature appear in full-sized iPods - I suspect that it will, soon - and I’m hoping for an iTunes 5 update that’s smart enough not to create duplicates of iPod tracks every time you insert lyrics, album art, etcetera into an existing song and manually synchronize. That would make PearLyrics, the automatic “grab lyrics and insert them” tool all the more useful.

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is there anything like PearLyrics for the PC?

Posted by Paul on September 15, 2005 at 1:37 AM (CDT)


Sing that iTunes also copies lyrics. It does Chinese and Japanese lyrics too.

For the PC, there isn’t anything perfect yet. evilLyrics will fetch lyrics. It does have a mp3 plugin that will copy the lyrics. Seems like it reaches for the mp3 itself instead giving it to iTunes

Posted by Gary on September 15, 2005 at 2:20 AM (CDT)


ah yes forgot. Sing that iTunes has a Konfabulator widget for windows too. Supposed to work.

Posted by Gary on September 15, 2005 at 2:21 AM (CDT)


“All of the sudden, his rapid-fire rhymes make sense.” Right…

Posted by Magic Rabbits in Aberdeen, Scotland on September 15, 2005 at 6:13 AM (CDT)


This is something I suggested on the iPod Feedback form on the Apple website sometime after the iPod photo came out. Apple never ceases to amaze me. Its the little things that count.

Posted by philipz on September 15, 2005 at 7:32 AM (CDT)


that’s just wrong of apple to include this feature only for the nano—i may have a 3rd generation ipod, but lets say i upgrade to a 4th generation. would this lyric feature be in there? i plan on getting an nano soon, but i still would want to carry all my music with me on a potential new 60GB ipod and it have all its lyrics. if there 4th generation doesn’t, then i can hold out for the 5th generation ipod.

Posted by evan on September 15, 2005 at 7:44 AM (CDT)


I also use the “sing that itune” widget with Konfabulator.  It automatically puts each song’s lyrics in a folder in your My Documents.  What I do is save all the songs text files in my notes section of my ipod and they’re in alphabetical order for quick reference.  It works for me.

Posted by Ian Walpole on September 15, 2005 at 9:02 AM (CDT)


Do you have to download lyrics or is it doing some kind of speech recognition thing?  Doubtful on the latter.

Problem with downloading lyrics is that not every song has lyrics published online (or even in CD liner notes) and the RIAA is shutting down those lyrics sites aren’t they?

Posted by wco81 on September 15, 2005 at 10:21 AM (CDT)


Will songs purchaced from itunes include the lyrics already?  Anyone bought a song recently?

Posted by __redruM in Gaithersburg, MD on September 15, 2005 at 10:37 AM (CDT)


pearLyrics is the fastest lyrics downloader widget i’ve found for dashboard. all the other lyric finders i’ve used on dashboard take about 10 to 20 seconds to find and download to itunes library, while pearLyrics finds and updates the library in about 2-5 seconds. i have about 8500 songs i need updated and now there just needs to be a widget that can just play the first 20 seconds of each song (kinda like a seek button on a radio) so i can let my itunes play all night for the pearLyrics widget to update everything in one day instead of 29 days! i wish i could make my own widget…

Posted by evan on September 15, 2005 at 5:44 PM (CDT)


Here’s a continuation to my previous post…

This iTunes AppleScript that I found compliments the new added feature to pearLyrics widget, which saves found lyrics to your iTunes 5 library. The AppleScript, called Needle Drop, will play each song in your library by how many seconds you tell it. This will allow you to have only your library play 10-20 seconds of a song long enough so pearlLyrics can update your music before Needle Drop moves onto the next song so pearLyrics can search for the new song lyrics.

Now I just need a AppleScript that can show me what lyrics could not be found, so I can simply find those lyrics and save them myself.

Here’s the AppleScript to Needle Drop:

Posted by evan on September 16, 2005 at 7:32 PM (CDT)


Dude! PearLyrics has this option called: Cache lyrics for Playlist. Select your Library and pearLyrics does it’s thing quietly.
I must admit, i only found out about this option, after i hacked myself a applescript to to the same thing as Needle Drop….duh!

Posted by Duder on September 17, 2005 at 12:44 PM (CDT)


okay, i have the lyrics on my iTunes, but now i cant figure out how to get to them on my iPod, 4th generation.

Posted by lola on January 13, 2009 at 4:31 PM (CST)

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