Due to the various ways fans and listeners engage with and share music, lyrics have become an integral part of discoverability for some genres. Whether it’s a listener using lyrics to search for their new favorite song in Apple Music or an existing fan singing along to time-sync lyrics, lyrics take listener interaction to the next level.
Formatting and structure
Lyrics must be accurate and match audio. This includes everything that is an integral part of the vocals. Apple may change the formatting of provided lyrics for stylistic reasons.
The structure of a song must dictate the lyrics’ format and structure. When transcribing lyrics, it is important to separate the lyrical sections and changes within a song with line and section breaks. All lyric lines must be single-spaced and a double space must separate each stanza.
If unsure when to input a line or section break, some common identifiers are:
- A defined chorus, verse, intro, bridge, or hook
- Changes in the song tempo
- Changes in how the artist delivers the lyrics (from singing to rapping)
Capitalization. Your lyrics must follow traditional grammar rules. Proper nouns must be capitalized. Additionally, all lyric lines must begin with a capital letter.
Punctuation. There must be no periods or commas at the end of any lyric line. Exclamation points, question marks, and quotation marks must be the only end-line punctuation and should be included as needed.
Clean and Explicit Lyrics. The term “clean” must only be used if there is an available corresponding explicit version of the track. In clean lyrics, dropped and edited content must be represented with asterisks.
Visit the Lyrics section of the Apple Music Style Guide for all requirements and guidelines on Apple Music and the iTunes Store.
Time-sync lyrics make it easy to follow along with favorite songs and add an additional layer to fan and listener engagement. Perfectly timed lyrics appear in sync with the music, against a colorful and dynamic background, derived from album art.
Time-sync must be applied to the exact audio version you are providing to Apple Music. Different versions of the same songs will have different time sync.
Time-sync lyrics delivery is available via Transporter and iTunes Connect, using the TTML file format.
To maximize user engagement and streamline the delivery process, distributors and encoding houses should deliver the required audio track language, official lyrics, and any applicable songwriter and lyricist roles in iTunes Producer or Transporter upon initial delivery.
Providing accurate audio track language and robust credit metadata streamlines your music delivery process and prevents any interruptions with your content making it to Apple Music. We provide a wide range of audio track languages and credits to choose from to ensure your metadata is as accurate as possible. For more information, review the Track Audio Language and Language Code sections of the iTunes Package Music Specification, and the Names and Credits section of the Apple Music Style Guide.
Distributors and encoding houses can submit lyrics in the delivery process using iTunes Producer, iTunes Connect, or Transporter.
Submit lyrics in iTunes Producer
Within the Tracks Portion of iTunes Producer upon initial delivery.
- Click Lyrics at the bottom of the Tracks pane.
- Select the track you want to provide lyrics for at the top of the Tracks pane.
- Type the lyrics for the selected track in Lyrics. Lyrics can be up to 2,000 characters in length, can include Rich Text formatting, and must be suitable for public display.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each track in the album.
- Click Next. iTunes Producer displays the Localizations pane so you can provide localized text, if applicable. For more information, see Add localizations.
- Click Next or Rights & Pricing at the bottom of the Tracks pane. For more information, see Enter track rights and pricing.
Submit lyrics in iTunes Connect
The Upload Lyrics feature allows you to send static and time-synced lyrics directly in iTunes Connect.
- In iTunes Connect, click My Music.
- Search for the album with the track that requires lyrics.
- From the Album Details page, scroll to the track level.
- Click Details on the track.
- On the Track Rights page, click Upload Lyrics in the upper-right corner of Track Summary.
Submit lyrics in Transporter
Lyrics for tracks on an album must be delivered in documents formatted according to the TTML format with extensions for features specific to iTunes.
Be sure to review the TTML File Format section of the iTunes Video and Asset Guide before using Transporter to deliver your lyrics within your package.
Updating existing lyrics
Updates to previously delivered lyrics can be made by replacing them with correct lyrics via Transporter, iTunes Producer, or iTunes Connect.
Note: If the lyrics have been verified by Apple, your redelivered lyrics will not be updated. Please use the Contact Us form within iTunes Connect.
Granting rights to Apple Music
The Apple license for Apple Music and the iTunes Store is hosted by the Harry Fox Agency. To grant U.S. music publishing and lyrics rights to Apple Music and the iTunes Store, visit the Harry Fox Agency to log in or sign up. The Harry Fox Agency agreements portal provides steps to grant music publishing and lyrics rights under the Apple Music Subscription, Lyrics, and Cloud Services License Agreement.