July App Review: Musixmatch

App: Musixmatch
Developer: musiXmatch srl
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone

I love music.  As you’ve read here before, I’ve recently started to really get into music again, mostly using Spotify (spoiler alert: Apple Music just came out, and you can be sure that’ll be getting plenty of coverage here soon).  However, I don’t just love to listen to music.  I also love to sing along to music.  The enjoyment I get out of a song increases exponentially when I know the words and can join in.  With that in mind, lyrics are important.  Sure, I learn the lyrics to most songs by just listening to them over time, but sometimes I want to know the lyrics now.  Enter the Musixmatch app.


Open the Musixmatch app and you’ll immediately see a list of all the music you have saved to your device.  At the bottom, you can see the current song playing.  Tapping a song starts it playing, and timed lyrics appear on the screen as the song goes along.  It’s a pretty good karaoke experience.  If you’re using Apple Music, the library and now playing only work for the songs you have downloaded to your device, not everything you’ve saved to your iCloud Music Library*.  If you’re a Spotify user, it won’t work at all, which is too bad.

If the song you want to look up isn’t in your catalog, you just search for it.  The search function works well.  Tapping the song brings up lyrics.  Simple enough.  The lyrics screen is really well designed too.  By default, it will show photos of the artist, both portraits and concert photos.  However, there’s also an option to use the song’s album artwork as the background.  I immediately turned this on.  I’ve always loved album artwork, I think it’s cool the way the audio and visual elements become associated in my mind.

Once you’re on the lyrics page (and the app isn’t already playing the song), you can hit the play button on the bottom to play it via YouTube or Spotify.  You can also play the iTunes preview of the track.  This is great, but I really wish there was a button in Spotify to take you right to the lyrics.  I guess it’s nice that I can look up the lyrics and then easily play the song, but most of the time, I do the reverse.  That brings me to the app’s final two features.

The first is a feature called MusicID, which is basically Shazam.  At first, I was a little unimpressed with this feature.  Now that Shazam is built into Siri (“Hey Siri, what song is this?”), I didn’t see why I needed this feature.  However, it was only recently that I realized that I could ID the song I was currently playing on my phone to easily bring up the lyrics.  Why I thought I could only ID music coming from another source I don’t know.  This feature finally gives me what I was looking for.  I’m listening to a song, and I want to see the lyrics: what’s the fastest way to pull them up?  It’s definitely not web searching.  Searching the app was an improvement, but still not ideal.  However, with MusicID, it’s easy to find the lyrics I want fast.

The other fast way to find lyrics is with the Musixmatch Notification Center widget. This only works for music you have on your device or Apple Music (not Spotify), but it’s pretty awesome.  It shows you the current and next line of the lyrics right there in Notification Center, without any extra effort at all.  There’s also buttons for search, MusicID, and the top trending lyrics.

So as you can see, Musixmatch is a pretty simple app, but it’s powerful.  Having lyrics for basically any song right at your fingertips is not only helpful, but exciting. I’m seeing a lot of car sing-alongs in my future.  ••

*Update 7/16/15: Musixmatch is now fully updated for Apple Music!  This means that the My Music screen shows everything in your Apple Music library, not just the songs you have saved for offline playback.  Thanks Musixmatch!

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