Spotify this morning confirmed it’s testing a new, synced lyrics feature in the U.S. market, following a report from Engadget. Though the streaming music service today offers live lyrics in a number of markets — 27, in fact, including its recent launch in South Korea — it has not offered lyrics in the U.S. for many years. Instead, Spotify here runs the “Behind the Lyrics” feature provided in partnership with Genius, which offers a combination of lyrics and trivia about the song being played.
Reached for comment, Spotify said the new lyrics feature rolled out as a test for some users in the U.S. starting today.
“We can confirm we’re currently testing our lyrics feature to a select number of users in the U.S.,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience. Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning.”
The company declined to share additional details about its plans, but did note that its U.S. partner on the new lyrics feature is Musixmatch — a service that already powers Spotify’s lyrics feature in various non-U.S. markets.
This is not the first time Spotify has run a lyrics feature in the U.S., to be clear. The streaming service had originally worked with Musixmatch from 2011 through 2016, before ending that relationship to instead partner with Genius. But despite ongoing user demand for lyrics’ return, Spotify never brought the feature back to the U.S.
In more recent years, however, Spotify rekindled its relationship with Musixmatch. Last year, it announced the launch of real-time lyrics in, then, 26 worldwide markets across Southeast Asia, India and Latin America. This had been the first time lyrics were offered in 22 of these 26 markets, as only Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico had some form of prior lyrics support via other providers.
Spotify’s ongoing lack of support for lyrics in the U.S. has given its streaming music competitors an advantage. Amazon Music, for example, allowed users to view lyrics as songs played and tied the feature to its Alexa voice platform, so consumers could ask Alexa to search for songs by lyrics. Meanwhile, the updated version of Apple Music that rolled out with iOS 12 in 2018 included a way to search by lyrics, instead of just artist, album or song title. It later added live, synced lyrics with the launch of iOS 13. Siri can also respond to commands that involve lyrics.
Musixmatch additionally confirmed it has partnered with Spotify on the new U.S. test.
“Musixmatch is growing at a fast pace thanks to [the] continued investment we’ve made [over] a decade. We’re focused now on bringing more data to continue enriching the audio experience globally,” Musixmatch CEO and founder Max Ciociola told TechCrunch.
Because the lyrics feature is only a test, you may not see it yourself in the Spotify app, due to its limited availability. Spotify has not said if or when the test may be expanded.