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LyricFind CEO Darryl Ballantyne On Geographic & Digital Expansion

Lyricfind-logoLyricFind recently announced a partnership with The Echo Nest to bring lyrics to the Rosetta Stone Platform and also announced global licensing agreements with all four major music publishers. I spoke with CEO Darryl Ballantyne who filled me in on the bigger picture and updated me on such earlier initiatives as Lyrics For Free. In the process I developed a picture of a company that might be described as making chess moves but may actually be engaged in a territorial game of Go.

Late last month lyric content provider LyricFind announced a global lyrics deal with the four major music publishers as well as licensing deals with major indie publishers such as Kobalt. This deal allows LyricFind to extend its presence to a wider range of geographical territories encompassing web and mobile properties as well as music-related devices. It also opens up possibilities for deals with local publishers in other regions and more flexibility in responding to the interests of music fans whose tastes often extend across traditional geographical boundaries.

This week LyricFind announced their partnership with The Echo Nest to make additional API services available to a wider range of web and mobile apps.  This second announcement took place during activities related to this weekend's SF Music Tech Summit where LyricFind also appeared for SF Music Hack Day. Their lyrics service was included in numerous hacks including Lyrics Cloud, Lyrical MaxMSP and Extended Additions.

I asked Ballantyne about their ongoing involvement with Hack Days and he did admit that they are still evaluating the benefits of such direct involvement. This is one of the questions companies will have to ask about such low key events but LyricFind's involvement also seems to be part of their larger strategy of expanding not just geographically but to all venues in which they can operate.

In 2010, LyricFind launched Lyrics For Free, an initiative that expanded their reach, and Ballantyne updated me on progress since Kyle Bylin's interview. As he pointed out at the time, Lyrics For Free's no-cost entry option offered them a positive tool in their efforts to address rampant piracy in lyrics publishing online by partnering with sites that could not otherwise afford licensing.

Ballantyne informed me that the program has not only been successful in helping illegitimate sites go legal but that their ad platform had also helped smaller sites become more profitable businesses. Though the development of Lyrics For Free creates additional revenue, their primary revenue source remains direct licensing deals with a wide range of companies including Microsoft, Slacker, Universal and Rhapsody.

Yet Lyrics For Free is perceived as a success and, if one considers it as a means to positively impact piracy while expanding the company's reach, one sees that Lyrics For Free is another way in which LyricFind can extend its territories in multiple dimensions. One could use the popular metaphor of business as chess to describe individual deals but taken as a whole LyricFind's development seems much more akin to a game of Go in which territory is gradually contained and controlled.

Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and music industry resources at Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.