Why Are Apple Music Lyrics Wrong? (Explained)

In short: Some Apple Music lyrics are wrong because they are provided by artists and another company (Musixmatch). The lyrics are written and synced by people who can make mistakes.

Apple Music redesigned its player screen to display synced lyrics on iPhone and Apple TV. I personally like reading lyrics because they provide an engaging music experience.

However, many people (myself included) can’t help but notice a few wrong lyric lines here and there, lyrics that are delayed and not synced, as well as incomplete lyric lines.

Let’s talk about the bad lyrics on Apple Music. To understand why some of the lyrics on Apple Music are wrong, you first need to know where the lyrics come from.

Where do Apple Music lyrics come from?

Apple Music lyrics come from two sources. The first comes from a music data company, like Musixmatch. The second comes from the artists themselves, who submit lyrics directly.

1. Third-party lyrics provider

Some of the song lyrics on Apple Music are provided by a music data company.

Apple does not advertise which data provider provides their lyrics, but it’s clear that Musixmatch is one of them. The company has clearly stated that Apple Music is one of its customers.

Musixmatch allows anyone to contribute by providing song lyrics to their database. Basically, if you have a passion for transcribing words from songs, you can join their platform.

2. The artists themselves

According to Apple Music, artists can send their song lyrics directly to Apple Music. Before sending lyrics, artists must meet lyrics guidelines and correctly format their lyrics for submission.

Are Apple Music lyrics accurate?

Apple Music lyrics are not 100% accurate. In fact, you’ll often find songs with the wrong lyrics. Some lyrics are from Musixmatch, which is a crowd-sourced lyrics provider.

Why are Apple Music lyrics wrong and delayed?

Some Apple Music lyrics are wrong because they are user-generated. Due to the sheer amount of lyrics being produced for the platform, there is bound to be human error.

1. Human error

According to Oliver Schusser (head of Apple Music), Apple has “a team of people listening to music and transcribing the lyrics” to ensure they’re accurate enough.

Whether these people are Apple’s own team of transcribers or from another company, one thing is certain: people can make mistakes, especially when they are dealing with millions of words.

Take one of Apple Music’s lyrics providers Musixmatch, for example.

The Musixmatch platform is community-based, which means anyone can contribute lyrics and synchronizations. It’s possible that some of them would be wrong.

It’s just the result of human error.

2. Strict guidelines

Apple Music has strict guidelines when it comes to lyrics. Artists who submit lyrics directly must obey them. Some of the rules that govern Apple Music’s lyrics guidelines include:

  • General formatting
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Repeated lines
  • Spoken word
  • Non-word vocal sounds
  • Clean and explicit lyrics
  • Time-sync

Take a look at this picture:

Notice the CHANT (4X). That is an example of a lyric line that is not formatted correctly. According to the guidelines, repeated lines must be written out.

Here’s an example:


Until you respect me and my dogs

I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree

I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree

I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree

I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree


Until you respect me and my dogs

I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree

(Repeat x3)

Due to all of the rules in place, artists and music labels who submit their song lyrics directly to Apple Music can make mistakes. It’s just the way it is.

Furthermore, Apple may, but has no obligation, use provided lyrics and may adjust lyrics for stylistic reasons. This means the lyrics can be different from what’s submitted by the artist.

Can you edit the lyrics on Apple Music?

You cannot edit the lyrics if you’re just a casual Apple Music listener. You can, however, report missing or incorrect lyrics by submitting a feedback form to Apple Music.

Final words

If something is wrong with the lyrics on Apple Music, (syncing error or missing lyrics), you can report it, or go to the Musixmatch app or website and create an account to help fix them.

Musixmatch is the partner Apple Music is using to show the lyrics.

It’s community-run, so the more people that contribute the better. Artists can also create an account to submit and manage their lyrics directly as well, so it should get better over time.

Once the changes are made at Musixmatch, it takes about a week for the changes to show up on Apple Music. They are currently working to make these changes appear in the app faster.

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