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Do we accept questions on "What are the lyrics / what's being said here"?

Does it make a difference if someone is just asking for a word or two?

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3 Answers 3

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I think we should allow such questions under the following conditions:

  • Show your research. For example, demonstrate that neither typical lyrics sites, nor the musician’s site, nor the booklet contain the lyrics for this song.

    Or, if there are transcriptions, but you think they are wrong, explain why you assume this; or if you wonder which of the conflicting transcriptions is the correct one, point out the differences.

  • Be specific. Point to the part you can’t hear (e.g., "the first word in the second strophe", or "right after 'gotta make you understand' and before 'never gonna let you down'", or "from 1:10 to 1:27"), don’t ¹ just ask for a full transcription.


¹ While I can imagine cases where you don’t hear anything at all and you don’t find the lyrics anywhere, I guess we need to be careful not to break copyright laws: quoting the full lyrics is usually not allowed without permission.

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  • Show you're research will eliminate almost all lyrics questions as there are a ton of sites that have lyrics that can be found by googleing "Song Title" lyrics.
    – Dom Mod
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 9:31
  • @Dom that's something that needs fixing, then :p Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 9:28
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    With the understanding that only parts, and not full lyrics, would be permitted in either questions or answers. Also, failure to do the research will be an automatic close. With those two provisions, I agree with this.
    – Donald.McLean Mod
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 16:52
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Apps like SoundHound can not only find the song for you within seconds, but also if you turn your phone sideways, it will live-stream the lyrics at you in sync with the track still playing on the radio etc.

With that kind of functionality available to people for free, at the push of a button, I see no room for identification questions other than perhaps, at a push, for something so old &/or obscure as to be impossible to find any online source to hear it.

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    Yes, I think something you can find easily from another online database is the kind of 'reference' question that I don't think should be encouraged in general.
    – user16
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 13:57
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After agreeing with unor's answer, I have second thoughts now since someone asked three of these questions within a few hours (1, 2 and 3).

  • I'm not a copyright specialist, but I'm not sure that writing the whole song lyrics is allowed as it could be a copyright infringement.
  • I don't think we want our community to turn into a lyrics repository.
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    As the answerer of said three questions, I must say, I agree. I plan not to answer similar questions from here on unless, at minimum, they meet the higher bar set by unor. Both the three questions and my answers quote the full lyrics. I'll see if I can work with the OP to restate the questions and my answers so we don't run afowl of copyright issues.
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 5:15
  • Thanks for your feedback @Aaron. Since lyrics is an edgy topic, we should restrict these requests to a few words. We can't accept just "find me the whole lyrics" questions. I don't know on what terms I could ask for closure these questions right now.
    – Bebs
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 8:59

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