Sony Music has revealed that it will pump up its artist websites by adding audio streaming and song lyrics to sites for acts including Britney Spears, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Michael Jackson. The new strategy, rolling out from early summer, is based around a “new Sony Music audio player” which allows fans to “explore and discover both current hits and previous releases” while creating personalised playlists. So it’s a little more coherent and feature-rich than the rather ad-hoc nature of music players on many artist sites thus far, though it”s arguably just an extension of the online video system Sony has had since 2006 and not a million miles away from what competitor Universal has been doing with playlist-based video channels for some time. But wait, that’s not all! There’s also lyrics, as Sony Music has entered into a deal with Gracenote (itself a subsidiary of Sony Corp USA) to licence lyrics for artist sites, which will allow visitors to read along to song lyrics as they listen to the music. According to Sony, the label”s agreement with Gracenote “spans all of its label groups in the US and Canada and establishes it as the first music major to broadly offer song lyrics on its artist websites.” Good news that, at long last, it will be possible for fans to access legal song lyrics on the artist sites as opposed to being forced to get them from unlicensed sites…though absolutely astonishing that it has taken so long and a deal with Gracenote rather than wider agreements between labels and publishers.

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