URGENT: LyricWiki API changes

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Sean Colombo

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Aug 2, 2009, 9:18:02 PM8/2/09
to LyricWiki API Developers
Dear LyricWiki API Developers,
It has been a great run, and I have seen some fantastic and
interesting applications come from all of your skills and hard work.

Unfortunately, licensing agreements with the biggest publishers in the
music industry require us to no longer offer the ability for
programmatic access to LyricWiki's collection of lyrics.

We tried to arrange some way to let API Developers license through us,
but this was not possible.

While this is not something we are happy about, it is a necessity in
order to finally secure licensing for LyricWiki from the major
publishers which will allow the project to survive indefinitely.

== What can the API do now? ==
Everything it used to be able to do except for display lyrics. This
amounts to primarily two things: viewing discographies and matching a
single song to a corresponding LyricWiki URL so that users can be
linked to it.

The API has always employed a number of tricks to match song-titles
from music files to the corresponding page on LyricWiki, so we will be
keeping that functionality. The matching has become fairly good over
the many months that the API has been around and this matching has
been contributed to by several API developers (thanks guys!).

== What about our apps? ==
Unfortunately, a some apps will be left out in the cold by this
requirement. However, we do have some suggestions for various types
of apps.

Media players:
If possible, use the API to make your normal getSong() request. If a
match is found, open the 'url' field from the result in an HTML pane
so that the whole page is displayed.

Web sites:
Discography display can remain the same. Replace the direct display
of the lyrics with a link to the 'url' returned by the API.

iPhone Apps:
There doesn't appear to be a good answer here. Perhaps you could
pursue getting licensing of your own, but in my experience this
requires an extremely large amount of financing up front. Hopefully,
your results may vary. If you are able to innovate and find another
solution that I have not thought of, I encourage you to share it with
the community.

== The Future ==
While I don't anticipate that the major publishers will ever change
their mind to allow us to provide lyrics through our API (even for a
fee), hopefully some publishers will explicitly grant us permission to
do so. It is doubtful that this will occur any time in the near
future though.

== Feedback ==
If you have any questions about this development, inevitable
frustration-venting, or there is some way in which I could be of help
in the process of updating your applications - feel free to contact
me.

As always, you can leave a message on my talk page at
http://lyricwiki.org/User_talk:Sean_Colombo or send me an email
through http://lyricwiki.org/Special:EmailUser/Sean_Colombo

I also spend a decent amount of time in the IRC channel #lyricwiki on
quakenet ( irc://irc.quakenet.org/LyricWiki ), but due to the expected
volume of communications, I would recommend one of the asynchronous
methods above to increase the odds that I don't lose track of your
messages.

Thank you all for your great applications and innovations so far which
have made many end-users happy. This is not the path I would have
preferred for the API, but hopefully we can work with the current
situation and still help our users as much as possible.

I am sorry for the obvious inconveniences this will cause,
- Sean Colombo
LyricWiki.org
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