Rap Genius and other lyrics sites are a favorite of fans and artists alike–where else can you find every word to every song—but they may be on the brink of shut down. Billboard shares that the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) is trying to take down 50 lyrics sites including the beloved Rap Genius as it believes that the sites don’t have the licenses to publish song lyrics.
The so-called takedown notices reportedly demand that the sites obtain licenses or remove copyrighted lyrics immediately.
Rap Genius Co-Founder Ilan Zechory told Billboard that he hasn’t heard from the NMPA and isn’t worried. “We can’t wait to have a conversation with them about how all writers can participate in and benefit from the Rap Genius knowledge project,” he said. In his mind, “Rap Genius is so much more than a lyrics site! The lyrics sites the NMPA refers to simply display song lyrics, while Rap Genius has crowdsourced annotations that give context to all the lyrics line by line, and tens of thousands of verified annotations directly from writers and performers.”
He adds, “Music is only a small part of what we do. Rap Genius is an interactive encyclopedia for annotation of all texts – anyone can upload and annotate texts relating to music, news, literature, religion, science, their personal lives, or anything else they want.”
Rappers like Nas have supported Rap Genius by providing such annotations to their own songs. He was the site’s first “Verified Rapper.”
Additional sites being targeted include: