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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library Apps
A new feature of iTunes 5 is the ability to store song lyrics in the ID3 tag of the song file. But iTunes can't automatically get lyrics for your existing songs. So here's an easy way to do just that.

Download and install the PearLyrics dashboard widget (also available as an application for those not yet on 10.4). This is the best lyric widget I've found and the latest version includes the ability to automatically add the lyrics it finds to the ID3 tags of your iTunes songs. Next, download and install the wonderful Needle Drop AppleScript from Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes. This script sequences through iTunes, playing every track for a specified period of time.

To get the lyrics, open iTunes and select Library in the source pane. Make sure the PearLyrics widget is running in the Dashboard (or in standalone mode) and the "Copy Lyrics to iTunes" setting is turned on. Then run Needle Drop from the script menu in iTunes. I'd recommend playing each song for 20 to 30 seconds to allow the pearLyrics widget enough time to search the internet. Use more time if your internet connection is slow -- perhaps one full minute. Then just let it run.

Some tips:
  1. This will probably take a long time to run. Start it before you go to bed and let it run overnight.
  2. If it's not done and you need to interrupt it, that's OK. Just remember which track was next, and begin there the next night.
[robg adds: I tested both pearLyrics and Needle Drop, and both work as described. I didn't, however, actually run the two together to plug lyrics into iTunes (as I don't want the lyrics for the majority of the songs), though it should work just fine. Note tip #1 above -- at 30 seconds a song, my 3,500ish song library would take something close to 30 hours to process. At a minute per song, it's 60 hours.]
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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: BOlle on Sep 23, '05 10:19:52AM

Yes, Dashboard is nice, but in this case: use the pearLyrics application. It has an option called Cache Lyrics For Playlist. Choose your playlist (of your entire library) and that's it. No further action neccessary, perLyrics does it's thing.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: renderhead on Sep 23, '05 10:21:46AM
Needle Drop is unnecessary for this purpose. Simply open iTunes and pearLyrics. Then select Cache Lyrics for Playlist from the pearLyrics "File" menu. Select any playlist you wish from the dropdown menu. To add lyrics to your entire library, choose "Library" as your playlist.

I recommend checking the lyrics on songs after running pearLyrics. For the most part, it does a great job, but it occasionally gets the lyrics for the wrong song. For example, it put the lyrics for The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the info for The Beatles' "Want You To".

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Great tip, stupid menu title
Authored by: PopMcGee on Sep 23, '05 04:19:14PM

Thanks for the tip! I actually already tried out pearLyrics and stopped using it because I didn't find this function even though it was in plain sight - the menu title is not descriptive enough - for me, anyway :-)



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: gibecrake on Sep 23, '05 10:46:28AM

Yeah, I am a little concerned about time to complete that too, as I have 44,719 songs in my library. :)



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: chabig on Sep 23, '05 11:13:59AM

Thanks everyone for the info on the PearLyrics app. I hadn't tried that, but thought the widget was pretty nice.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: piyayo on Sep 23, '05 12:46:13PM

Thanks, this is better than sing that tune.

Once you have the lyrics to the songs you want, what do you do with them? Is the lyrics tab in the get info dialog the only way to access them?



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What about artwork?
Authored by: macslut on Sep 23, '05 01:19:07PM

As others have suggested, using the app instead of the widget is better. My iTunes library has just over 250GB of music and I just let it go in the background for a couple of days...it crashed a couple of times along the way.

Any ideas for grabbing album artwork with some similar (free) method? I'm not looking for all the album artwork, just a single image for each album.



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What about artwork?
Authored by: supersteen on Sep 23, '05 03:02:29PM

For artwork I use Konfabulator with the "iTunes Companion"-widget, works fine with NeedleDrop



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What about artwork? (Clutter)
Authored by: DaveA on Sep 25, '05 06:57:01AM
I've been using Clutter for a few years.
http://www.sprote.com/clutter/
It gets the right artwork most of the time, or lets you look it up on Amazon or Google, then it will (with Shift-Command-K) copy the artwork to all the tracks on that album.

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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: acidrich on Sep 23, '05 02:05:13PM

I have just tried both the widget and the standalone, my vote goes for the widget for tiger users.

It's a lean widget, low on overheads, and has all the functionality the average user will need.

For the techie nutter types the standalone will please you much!



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: fritztoch on Sep 23, '05 09:51:27PM

Am I missing something? pearLyrics found 2500+ songs for me while I was at work, but they are only in it, they have not been copied to iTunes, despite that checkbox being checked. Even if I play a song, pL shows the lyrics in the window but doesn't add them to the song's Lyrics tab.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: mumblingmynah on Sep 24, '05 01:40:00PM

You have to have caching enabled, I think.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: fritztoch on Sep 24, '05 03:31:59PM

Thanks.
Caching is enabled from the application menu, and "Listen to iTunes" and "Copy lyrics to iTunes" are also checked. Then, I selected "File->Cache Lyrics for Playlist->Library", and let it do it's thing.
Later last night, I told it to cache lyrics for a smaller playlist, with 200 songs, and it went through very quickly, saying it had found many of them in the local cache, but the lyrics are still not added to the songs' "Lyrics" tab. I have manually added lyrics to a number of songs successfully, and tried using ID3X to do it, mostly to see if any other app could (it worked), so the problem exists between me and pearLyrics.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: marsu on Sep 24, '05 08:45:53PM

The itunes program must be running while you cache lyrics for playlist.
had the same problem.
the cache seems to belong to the pearLyrics program, so the lyrics first go in the cache and are then automatically copied to itunes (which must be open)



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: alajuela on Sep 28, '05 06:48:49AM

You're not missing anything. Even with the case-sensitive file structure fix from the developer [0.5a], pearLyrics is still having trouble with iTunes 5.01. It locates lyrics very well, but for some reaason, it is no longer transferring them in to the Lyrics tab in each song, even with iTunes open and cache enabled. I believe the developer is working on this.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: Power Factor on Sep 24, '05 05:20:05PM

Seems to me that this is what pearLyrics application is supposed to be able to handle by itself, but the way it is implemented means that the song must be played while pearLyrics is open. Hence the need for the script.
Another problem seem to be that some lyrics are listed as chords in whatever database it accesses therefore they aren't copied (only lyrics are copied).



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: marsu on Sep 24, '05 08:50:18PM

the song doesn't need to be played, but itunes must be running while you cache lyrics for playlist.
if it wasn't, the lyrics will still be on your computer in pearLyrics' cache - from there you can get them over to itunes using the script.
(at least that's how i explain it to myself)



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: fritztoch on Sep 25, '05 10:45:43AM

My experience is similar: pL caches the lyrics when I tell it to, but doesn't copy the lyrics to the ID3 tag until I actually play the song. And this didn't even work until the developer sent me an updated version that has a fix for case-sensitive disks...
And, yes, iTunes is open during all this.



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: marsu on Sep 24, '05 09:01:22PM

i love this app! i recommend to uncheck "look for chords first", this feature gets guitar chords and tabs, and while it's great it gets far less results and seems to be slower. (also i wouldn't store tabs with the songs because for every song you get loads of tabs of different quality, while the lyrics are either correct or not...)

"copy lyrics to itunes" needs to be checked and itunes needs to be running while you "cache lyrics for playlist", otherwise the lyrics will go into PearLyrics' cache only and later need to be transferred with the script as described above.

what i would need to find out now is how to search the lyrics tags of my library, so i can find music according what it talks about!
any clues?



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Searching for lyrics
Authored by: pediddle on Sep 26, '05 01:11:24PM
If you enable the caching option in pearlLyrics it will create text files in ~/Library/Application Support/pearlLyrics/lyrics which are searchable by Spotlight. If you search for a lyric, spotlight will show you the text file containing it, which is named according to the artist and song. You can then look up the song in iTunes. Not quite a direct solution — maybe it could be simplified with an AppleScript?

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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: davidosus on Dec 07, '05 05:03:24AM

Would someone have a moment to post pearlLyrics 0.6? Perhaps on rapidshare?

Warner/Chappell Music Limited has forced the developer to remove the program from his site:

http://www.pearworks.com/pages/pearLyrics.html



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Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
Authored by: mjij on Jan 06, '06 07:55:54AM

Here it is:

http://rapidshare.de/files/8749236/pearLyrics.zip.html



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pearlyrics.APP?
Authored by: kaz219 on Mar 03, '06 09:20:46AM

Could you please post the pearlyrics app? Not the widget, the app. Thanks a lot!



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