Lyrics enrich the user experience, allowing a listener to follow along to the words of a song during playback. To provide the best experience for customers, lyrics in English must match the audio verbatim and follow the guidelines below for consistency.
Consult the guidelines below to ensure that your lyrics comply:
- Spacing and Structure
- Punctuation and Formatting
- Slang and Censored Language
- Spoken and Non-word Vocals
- Lyrics synchronization
Spacing and Structure
Lines within a single verse or chorus must be single-spaced.
Section or stanza breaks must be indicated with a single space.
Do not include text that is not audibly present such as section headers or the vocalist's name.
For example: don't include section headers such as Intro, Verse, Chorus, Hook, or Outro.
Repeated lines and choruses must be transcribed.
For example: don't denote repeated choruses using “Chorus 2x.”
Begin each line with a capital letter.
Proper nouns such as the titles of movies, TV shows, and songs must be title cased.
All caps may be used to identify exclamations.
Punctuation and Formatting
Don't use periods or commas at the end of any line or section.
Question marks and exclamation points should be included at the end of a sentence whenever appropriate.
Don't use italics or bold text.
Background singers and hushed vocals may be transcribed in parentheses if they contribute to the content of the song.
If a song ends with repetitions that fade out, transcribe the first four repetitions and end the final line with an ellipsis.
Slang and Censored Language
When providing lyrics for the clean version of a song when an explicit version is also available, use asterisks to represent censored audio.
Use contractions and slang words that match with the audio.
For example: words such as ain’t, ’bout, ‘til, ‘cause, fallin', and walkin'.
Numbers must be written out unless commonly written in numerals.
For example: "Summer of '69", and "007"
Calendar years should be written as numerals.
For example: "1979"
Spoken and Non-word Vocals
Spoken words, such as recorded dialog from a documentary, must be transcribed.
Sampled content must be transcribed, including non-word vocals, if they add to the content of the song.
- Don't include descriptions or names of screaming or sound effects.
Note that you can sync your lyrics to the song by adding time-stamps before each sentence during release creation, using the following format:
Note that the format for specifying timecode should be strictly followed with the one given in the example - there should be one space between timecode and text, seconds and milliseconds should be separated by a dot, and milliseconds should be specified in three digits, there should be no blank lines between lines of text, and no blank lines after.
Manual adding time-sync lyrics in iTunes is determined by Business and Editorial priorities and sometimes can't be applied but the Support Team can try to send a request.
In this case, please send the synchronized lyrics in the form of a .ttml-file to the Support Team. Apple provides more information on this in the Overview of TTML for Lyrics.
If the request is lined up with iTunes' internal priorities, time-sync lyrics will be applied.
For further information, you may consult the iTunes Style Guide's lyrics guidelines.
This format is also used to send synchronized lyrics to UMA (VKontakte).