A useful development in social media marketing, Chris Robley here breaks down the how-to of adding instant lyrical moments to your Instagram stories, as well as warning against some of the negatives to watch out for.
By Chris Robley of CD Baby from the DIY Musician blog
Make instant lyrical moments in Instagram Stories.
You can now create quick Instagram Stories that feature your lyrics.
The words to the songs are auto-populated, so you don’t have to type out the lyrics. Pretty sweet, huh?
Here’s an example of a lyric story I created for my music this morning:
Yes, this is a cool tool to have in your Instagram kit, but lemme get three negatives out of the way first:
- These lyric Stories are quick to create in Instagram, but only once you’ve taken a bunch of other steps upfront (details below).
- You won’t have the same control over style and timing that you might when you make your own lyric videos with editing software, but really that’s not the point; these are supposed to be quick moments featuring your music and lyrics, not full videos.
- The lyrics that get pulled into your Stories can be inconsistently buggy. For instance, I tried making the video above six different times (just to play with options). In half of those attempts it left out a few words. I’m sure the glitchy-ness will diminish with time.
All that being said, I think it’s worth following the steps below to get your lyrics paired up with your music in Instagram.
There’ll be many moments down the road when you’ll want to quickly pull in a lyric to go with an Instagram Story. Get this work done NOW so those future Stories really can be “instant.” Once I knew what my options were, it only took me about 30 seconds to make the Story shown in the video above.
Getting your time-stamped lyrics added to Instagram Stories
1. Opt in for CD Baby’s Social Video Monetization service (included with all distribution)
When you distribute your music worldwide with CD Baby, you also get free music monetization on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Oculus, so you can get paid when your music is used on social video platforms. It comes included as part of your distribution, but you have to manually opt in. So… opt in!
Then we’ll deliver your songs to Instagram and they’ll be added to the Music Library within Instagram Stories.
2. Get verified as an artist on MusixMatch
MusixMatch is the service that delivers lyric data to Instagram so the words can be paired with the music.
You’ll need to do THREE important things on MusixMatch before Instagram will list your lyrics.
First… get verified as an artist.
A word to the impatient: It took a few days for MusixMatch to verify me, so get ready to wait.
3. Enter all your song lyrics on MusixMatch
The next thing you’ll want to do, once you have a MusixMatch account and have been verified as an artist, is start adding lyrics for all your songs.
As you can see below, songs that don’t yet have associated lyrics will have an “Add Lyrics” button. Click it!
Then it’s time to add your lyrics, or proofread any lyrics that might’ve been entered by other MusixMatch users.
When you are transcribing your lyrics, follow these MusixMatch guidelines:
- Transcribe all lyrics, even when a section is repeated
- Transcribe the lyrical audio content only
- Primary vocals are focus and secondary lyrics should be in parenthesis
- Avoid comments like “Intro,” “Chorus,” “Spoken,” artist names and so on
- Transcribe lyrics in their native scripts
How to format lyrics:
- Break transcriptions up into individual lines
- Capitalize first letter of every line
- Separate sections with double breaks
- Do not capitalize each word or use uppercase in all sentence
- No line-end punctuation
- Always write contractions using apostrophe (‘)
- Use a single hyphen (-) or ellipsis (…) if it is sung an unfinished word/sentence
- Use standardized spellings for rap songs
- Capitalize Proper names (e.g. persons, places, gods)
- Numbers as words except for content listed here
MusixMatch also recommends you NOT copy-and-paste lyrics from other websites or apps. I’m not exactly sure why that matters, especially if you remove any peculiar formatting issues; it might just be that they’re trying to avoid copyright issues as well as crazy formatting issues users don’t fix before entering lyrics. Anyway, I copy-and-pasted from lyrics I’d already entered into Bandcamp and it worked just fine.
4. Sync your lyrics with the music using MusixMatch
I’m actually not sure if this process is possible on desktop. Maybe? I downloaded the MusixMatch app and went through the lyric-syncing process on my iPhone, which is pretty painless.
Here’s how to sync the words with the song using the MusixMatch app:
- Search for the song on MusixMatch.
- Make sure the lyrics you entered earlier now appear alongside the song within the MusixMatch app.
- Connect the MusixMatch app with your Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon Music account. You’ll be promoted to do this when you click the “Play” button, and it only takes a few seconds.
- Click “Sync Lyrics.” (Purple button shown below).
- The song will start playing. Use the “down” button (the arrow) to toggle through the lyrics in real-time, syncing the words with the music. When you get to the end of the song, toggle down to the text that says “End.”
Once you’ve synced the lyrics, MusixMatch will also ask you some questions about the mood and tempo of the song. Give ’em the answers.
5. Wait some more
Now that the words and music are synced in MusixMatch, Instagram has got to pull that information into their system. This can take some time. You’ll want to check periodically by:
- Opening IG Stories
- Add or shoot a photo/video
- Click the ‘Music’ sticker in the sticker tray
- Searching for your song title
- Adding that song to your story
If the time-stamped lyrics have been imported to Instagram, they will be viewable as soon as the song opens in the story.
If the lyrics haven’t been added yet, you’ll see a message that says: “Lyrics aren’t available for this song.”
My latest test took about a week before the lyrics were added in Instagram.
6. Make some stories with your lyrics!
Okay, now the fun part.
Assuming your lyrics HAVE been added, you can:
- use the time-toggle (“scrubber”) to select the section of the song you want to feature
- see the lyrics auto-populate based on the section of the song you’re featuring
- click the “15” button to select the duration of the story (maximum of 15 seconds)
- choose your font using the font options
Just like with other kinds of Instagram Stories, you can play with the angle, size, and location of the text, and you have the option of adding lyrics to a still image OR video. Lastly, when someone views your story, the’ll be able to click on the lyrics to either visit your Instagram profile or add your song to their own story.
But once you’ve opted in for Social Video Monetization, gotten verified with MusixMatch, input all your lyrics, synced them with your songs using the MusixMatch app, and waited a week or two, you CAN create instant lyrical moments for your music in Instagram Stories.
When you do, don’t waste too much time trying to make things perfect. Instagram Stories is supposed to be a real-time medium, with an often sloppy, campy, quick-paced vibe. Lean into that, and have fun.