Desktop Lyrics is one of those utilities that’s really nice, and if you have a desire for its functionality, well worth it. There is a downside to it, however, and that is the amount of time it will take before Desktop Lyrics is really usable.
First of all, Desktop Lyrics does one thing. It waits for you to start playing a song in iTunes, then displays that song’s lyrics on the desktop, using nice, anti-aliased text. It really does look quite nice, and the text (everything from the font to the size to the color), can be changed to suit the user’s need.
But I mentioned a drawback, didn’t I? And that drawback is this: Not very many songs you have on your computer right now have the lyrics embedded in them. If you go into iTunes and click to Get Info about a particular song, you’ll see that there is a tab labeled Lyrics. Click on this tab. Chances are very good that the field is completely empty.
So in this case, when you play a song in iTunes, Desktop Lyrics will simply display the artist and song title (which is information it received from the mp3 file’s tags).
How do you get lyrics in there?
There are a couple options.
The first, and most time-consuming, would be to type them in by hand. For many people, this is not an issue. For some, typing speed would be the bottleneck, while for others, the sheer number of songs would prohibit this from being feasible. I type fairly quickly, for instance, but have somewhere around 17,000 songs on my hard drive. Even if what I wanted, more than anything in the world, was to use Desktop Lyrics, that would quickly prevent me from doing so.
There is another option, of course. Two more, in fact. You can do a Google search for the name of your song. If you include “lyrics” in your search term, you’ll likely come up with any number of websites with the lyrics to that song. Now, all you need to do is copy those lyrics from the web page, and paste them into the Lyrics tab in iTunes. Hit OK to save the changes, and you’re all set.
One other option exists, an option recommended by the author of Desktop Lyrics. There is a free Dashboard widget available called Harmonic, which automatically queries a lyrics database and adds the lyrics (if found), to your iTunes database. In this fashion, lyrics can be added quite quickly, although it is still not a completely automated process. If you’d like to take a look at Harmonic, visit the project’s home page here.
In my mind, Desktop Lyrics is close to being a really good product. I mean, it does exactly what it says it does, and does it well, but in a scope that’s a bit too limited for my taste. What would be great is if Desktop Lyrics integrated the functionality of Harmonic, so that each time you started playback of a song in iTunes, Desktop Lyrics would check for lyrics and – if available – insert them into iTunes and then display them. An automatic search and display would be much more user-friendly than the situation now, and make it a better option for slow typists or those with large music libraries.
Still, Desktop Lyrics is free, and does what it says. I just think it could be better. If you’d like to try out Desktop Lyrics for yourself, check it out at its home page.