Rap Genius signs licensing deal with Sony

The announcement comes days after the National Music Publishers Association issued takedown notices to 50 sites that posted lyrics without paying songwriters

Rap Genius signs licensing deal with Sony

Photo: PA

Online lyric site Rap Genius has signed its first licensing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

The announcement comes just days after the site was named top of the 'Undesirable Lyric Website List' published by the US National Music Publishers Association, which issued takedown notices to 50 sites that post lyrics without paying songwriters.

The NMPA is trying to block the sites because it claims they don't have a licence to publish song lyrics. Takedown notices have been issued demanding that they obtain a licence or remove copyrighted lyrics immediately.

The Brookyln-based start-up Rap Genius, which allows users to annotate and provide commentary on song lyrics, has now announced that it has obtained such a licence and will work to obtain more.

Martin Bandier, chairman & CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing said in a statement to Billboard that the site allows songwriters and music fans to connect "in a new and exciting way." Rappers themselves have even become users, posting video explanations of their work.

Rap genius was founded in 2009 by Mahbod Moghadam, Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman, and received $15m of investment last year from Andressen Horowitz, the venture capital firm famous for supporting successful startups including Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Airbnb. The site's founders say they plans to move into rock lyrics, news, and poetry, with Lehman recently saying he wants the site "to add context to all important texts in people's lives."

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