Social song lyrics without the spam
If you're a fan of music I'm sure you've at one time or another attempted to look up song lyrics on google. I'm also sure if you've done this you've been absolutely disgusted by the results you've found. Most song lyric sites out there are spammy, scummy, and outright garbage. A few months back Nick Plante and I were discussing this same topic on Twitter and decided that we could do something about it.
Today I'm happy to announce the official launch of Lyricful.com, which provides a song lyric search engine and song meanings discussion without any of the spam.
You won't find any pop-ups, flashing ringtone offers, or other garbage on the site. We're only running affiliate ads that help the artists, and none that are intrusive. Most of the "ads" are in the form of song previews which you can play along side the lyrics, then click through to purchase on Amazon or iTunes. Hopefully we can bring some class to the entire space.
Engaging artists and fans
One thing we're doing which I've not seen on other lyric sites is engaging artists. We're encouraging artists to host their song lyrics with us, in exchange for a rotating featured spot on the home page. Initial interest has been great - with over 10 artists on deck from the initial round of emails and phone calls I've made.
Fans are also encouraged to participate on the site for a chance to win Amazon.com gift card credit by sharing lyrics, and correcting what we already have in place. This is my first time "gamifying" a site so it should be interesting to see how it works.
Making it rank
Obviously, song lyric sites aren't really destinations and we realize that. The biggest challenge will be getting the site to rank highly on Google, which is a definite challenge in the space we've chosen to enter.
I'm attempting some new SEO tactics on this launch, by launching a sister network of music news / fan sites at the same time. MusicNewsHq provides artist mini-sites, which contain deep links to song lyrics on Lyricful. This tactic probably warrants an entire blog post later - but I'm waiting until we've ranked to really do a nice case study.
Unfortunately the song lyric space is hugely competitive, and somewhat dirty - so SEO is going to be an ongoing battle.
Back to the grind
All together, it took about 3 months from concept to completion on both of these sites. It's been a nice diversion from my main projects, but it's time to get back to the grind of feature improvement for Cashboard. The time off has given me a great chance to clear my head and get refocused on killing it there.
Another great thing about working on these sites - I was able to try out some new technology, namely Rails 3, git, Thinking Sphinx, and Redis in production code. I'll definitely be applying these new things as I move forward.