New cd lyrics

Why don’t all new cds have the lyrics to the music inside the cases? I often get a great cd and want to learn the words, but they’re not available to me. Is this an intentional “marketing” deal or do you think its cost related?

My definite WAG would be that it’s cost-related. Actually, I think this issue first came up when the industry started using cassette tapes–everybody howled bloody murder at the looming irreplaceable loss to Pop culture of liner notes and cover art. However, I personally haven’t noticed any discernable decline in the quality of our pop culture since then. To paraphrase the Bible, “the Slim Shadies you will always have with you.”

Vinyl didn’t necessarily come with lyrics anyway.

It’s just a matter of artistic preference and how they want the liner notes to appear. There’s no general, industry-wide reason for including or not including them.

I don’t think its just new ones. None of my rolling stones cds have lyrics, nor do soundtracks, or greatest hits ones…

Probably depends on the publishing deal, at least in some cases. If the artist releases a song with lyrics written by someone else, they’d have to a)get permission of the holder of the publishing rights to reprint the lyrics, and b)pay them extra royalties.

I also meant to mention the trouble anybody who reprints the real lyrics to “Louie Louie” will get from the estate of Richard Berry, and the legal messes that have plagued the International Lyrics Server and the OnLine Guitar Archive due to intellectual property lawsuits from record industry lawyers.

Usually it’s cost related, that’s for sure. Booklets printing costs are higher than of the CD itself.

Remember the CDs with the giant “Super Savers” stickers in the shrink? The ones with NO lyrics booklets, only the cover? They’re saving in the printing costs of the booklets.

Weird. I have at least seven RS cds with lyrics booklets: Steel Wheels, Bridges to Babylon, Goat’s Head Soup, At His Satanic Majesty’s Service, Black and Blue, Emotional Rescue and the one with “Undercover of the Night” (forgot the name, too lazy to check it out now). And my vinyl editions of Beggar’s Banquet, Steel Wheels and the one with the zipper on the cover comes with lyrics too.

I notice a lot of bands, whether they include lyrics or not, have smaller booklets with their debut albums and thicker, more elaborate ones after that. It’s not necessarily true in all cases, but I would think the size of the booklet is cost-related. As far as lyrics: I’ve seen lyrics booklets that had a good ten pages of space and no lyrics. It bugs the hell out of me, but I guess it’s just the preference of the artist. Maybe they want to include more artwork without wasting space on lyrics?

I assume that it is cost also.

I too like to have the lyrics. Sometimes it is just out of curiosity because I cannot for the life of me understand what they are singing.

There’s a very funny homepage with Misheard Lyrics. I don’t remember the damn url.


you can get the lyrics of many pop songs with a little Internet search.

Some lyric sheets are misleading. For example, in Michael Jackson LP Thriller, the song with the same name is listed to have an ending line “Can you dig it?”, which is not heard in the song.

Lots of times the lyrics sheets are inaccurate. One that springs to mind is Slayer’s ‘Seasons in the Abyss’. Some lines are really different from what is actually sung.

It’s mostly due to printing and royalty costs. Since I
collect cast CDS, I’ve noticed some countries seem to always
include them (Germany, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan) and some never include them (Spain, Sweden). Taiwan and Japan include both English and the native language translation,
which is very good.

The first rock album to contain printed lyrics was Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, in mid 1967. So, older albums didn’t print lyrics at all.

Nowadays, it’s a graphic design/layout issue. Some lyrics are easy to read, some (like on a few Smashing Pumkins albums) are illegible. Some artists feel like the songs themselves should be studied by the listener, not just the lyrics.

Blur used to put the guitar chords over the lyrics in their booklets (I believe Modern Life is Rubbish and The Great Escape had them, and probably a few other discs, too), which is really clever.

It depends on the band, Def Leppard and AC/DC don’t put lyrics in their CDs, even with the new remastered ones they only have a couple of pages. I remember Def Leppard saying something about how dumb their lyrics are so they really didn’t want them printed.

Re Japan: Japan requires lyrics to be printed in the CDs, they also require extra tracks to be put on CDs. The reason, import CDs in Japan cost less than Japanise CDs so they want something extra to make people buy them and not imported ones.

I’ve noticed that on some CD’s that include lyrics they won’t have lyrics for cover songs. If they can do the song, why can’t they print the words?

Harvey, printing up lyrics for cover versions raises a difficult copyright issue. Artists who perform their own songs generally have the right to print the lyrics-- after all, they wrote the song, so they have the copyright on the lyrics. (Usually. Look on most albums, and you’ll notice that the lyrics are ‘Copyright [some fanciful name] music’. That’s usually a coporation created by the songwriter to own the copyright to the lyrics.)

When an artist does a cover, however, the owner of the copyright to the lyrics is someone else. You can’t really stop someone from performing a cover version of your song (performing a cover with permission usually results in a lower royalty requirement, but so long as you’re willing to pay royalties, you can cover anyone’s song), but you can prevent them from publishing your copyrighted material-- namely, the lyrics-- if you want to. It is not unusual for an artist to be willing to pay the royalties to cover a song but not be willing to pay extra money on top of that for the right to re-publish the lyrics.