Spotify just started testing its live lyrics feature in the US

by Jeremy

Do you miss all the time you used to spend crammed in tiny karaoke rooms, belting out show tunes until three in the morning? So do we, but Spotify might have something to help with your impromptu singalongs. As of this morning, the company is testing a feature that displays lyrics synced with your music in the United States. Don’t be surprised if you never see these live lyrics show up. Spotify is a big fan of A/B testing, so only a subset of its users can use the feature. While the company has said that on-screen lyrics are among its most widely requested features, the whole point of this exercise is to measure the demand for poems in the company’s US user pool. Spotify declined to comment went asked how many users it planned to make the feature available to, but it provided the following statement:


“We can confirm we’re currently testing our lyrics feature to a select number of users in the US,” a spokesperson told Engadget in an email. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct several tests to improve our user experience. Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience; others serve only as essential learning. We don’t have any further news to share at this time.


Spotify has toyed with the idea of displaying lyrics alongside music for years, beginning with a partnership with Italian music data company Musixmatch that — for whatever reason — came to a close in 2016. After that, the company pivoted to a more informational approach with help from Genius; when supported songs were played, lyrics would appear in timed cards alongside trivia and historical context snippets.

Those “Behind the Lyrics” cards remain available today. Still, we understand that if Spotify chooses to go ahead with its live lyrics in the US, the Genius-powered alternative will be removed. It’ss worth noting that Spotify’s” ne” approach to songs — which is once again powered by Musixmatch –isn’t all that new. The company has tested the feature worldwide for years and officially launched it in 26 markets — Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, and Hong.

Kong, Thailand, India, and more — around the middle of 2020. More recently, live lyrics were also made available to users in South Korea when the service launched earlier this month. At the risk of sounding a little obvious, though, not every test market ultimately gets access to the feature at a vast scale. Spotify, for instance, ran a similar test in Canada before discontinuing it around June 2020; to our knowledge, the quality has never reappeared. This move puts Spotify on more even footing with competing services like Apple Music and Deezer and should help the company lose competitors to more feature-rich rivals. Then again, Spotify seemed to be doing just fine even without support for live lyrics — the company’s stock price has more than doubled since January 2020 and recently hit an all-time high last month.

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