home : software : pearLyrics  

What ever happend to pearLyrics?

2006-12-06: Today it's exactly one year ago that I had to take a hard decision. Due to a legal threat I had to remove an application from my download page that, judging from the feedback I got (and still get), made a lot of people very happy. pearLyrics. A simple tool that automatically looked for lyrics for the song playing in iTunes. What made it different from the rest, and so popular, was that it actually did find a lot of lyrics due to it's unique search algorithm.
Finally it got too successful. Warner-Chappell had concerns that it was infringing their copyrights.

After an incredible amount of media coverage and an open letter of EFFs Fred von Lohmann it probably turned into too negative publicity for Warner Chappell, so finally, the unthinkable happened: the CEO of Warner-Chappel called me and said that he was sorry for the way they approached this issue. We even concluded that we should work together to bring lyrics to music fans all over the place.

Wow, so what an adventure, what a promise. Big times ahead. A highly idealistic goal and a big company promising their support. Critical voices already brought up the theory that this might just be a PR action on behalf of Warner-Chappel to get rid of the negative press - and honestly, that was also my thought. But hey, let's stay open minded and see what the future will bring. Well, fast forward one year and a couple of phone calls and emails. Presumably Warner-Chappel signed a deal with Gracenote (hey, good news, expect lyrics support in iTunes soon) and therefore doesn't want to deal with a little developer anymore. After all, pearLyrics and it's negative publicity for Warner-Chappel is long gone (well, ok, speculation on my part).

So what's up, where is pearLyrics? Well, sad to say, but I guess this is the final good bye to a piece of software I've put a lot of passion and hope into, that made a lot of people very happy and one or two a bit angry. It's not only Warner-Chappel, but also the rest of the music industry. No one out there could guarantee me that I was on the safe side if I released it again.

For me as a little freeware developer this whole experience was stunning and frustrating at the same time. On the one hand it feels a bit strange if your freeware app is shared on filesharing networks (of course, this is perfectly fine for me), that an application so small and unimportant captures so much interest. On the other hand it's a sad world, where money decides who is on the right side of the law. There is simply no way I could risk a law suit, even if I'm absolutely sure that I'm doing the right thing. I'm a software developer, not a law expert after all. This incident made me think twice before releasing any new software.

"Well then, is there the slightest chance to get an unofficial version of pearLyrics, maybe even as a universal binary to support the newest Intel Macs?" you might wonder. Well, let me put it this way: I'm glad to help friends optimize their personal workflow on their Macs.

I would like to say "Thank you very much" to all the fans of pearLyrics out there, it was great to get all your encouraging feedback, to all the media that reported about this little incident showing that the world actually cares about justice.

To get inspired by the promising press-release from one year ago take a look here:
pearLyrics - good news for lyrics fans after all?

To take a look at the history of the pearLyrics demise check out this.
pearLyrics - a sad time for lyrics fans.
walter at pearworks dot com