Guidelines

Here you'll find all the guidelines to create the perfect lyrics.
Check the Help Center for further information about our Guidelines.

Transcribe

Certain guidelines differ between languages. Please make sure to always refer to the guidelines of the language in which you are transcribing.
We recommend transcribing using the Edit window of the Musixmatch Studio

1. Always listen to the song
This seems obvious but it’s important; before transcribing, editing, or synching lyrics, make sure to listen to the song in its entirety from a reliable audio source.

2. No copy/paste
Copy and pasting lyrics from other websites or apps is strictly prohibited. You’re fantastic and we want to see your work, not someone else’s! Make sure that you only add lyrics that you yourself have transcribed.

3. Transcribe all audio content
Transcribe all repeated parts, avoiding the use of multipliers. If an artist sings the same word 5 times, we write it 5 times!
Incorrect
I’m solo
I’m ridin’ solo (x2)
I’m ridin’ solo, solo
Correct
I’m solo
I’m ridin’ solo
I’m ridin’ solo
I’m ridin’ solo, solo
In live versions, make sure you include any introductions, greetings, and spoken parts. This is important as it’s what distinguishes live versions from the original!
Incorrect
By with a little help with my friends
By with a little help with my friends
By with a little help with my friends

Correct
(By with a little help with my friends!)
Oh, I get by! (By with a little help from my friends)
I'll try, oh yeah (by with a little help from my friends)
I'm gonna love them, gonna do that

Make sure to transcribe any names, producers, and/or record labels included as part of the song
Incorrect
(Verse 1 - Timomatic)***
There's something 'bout you
There's something 'bout you
There's something in your eyes
Tells me we gonna be alright


*** Here the bracketed line does not directly reflect anything said/sung within the song, and so is incorrect.
Correct
Uh, Timomatic***
Yeah, there's something 'bout you
There's something 'bout you
There's something in your eyes
Tells me we gonna be alright


*** Here, ‘Uh, Timomatic’ is included, NOT because Timomatic is singing the section, but rather because he says his own name as an introduction to the verse
Transcribe filler parts when necessary.
Correct
Oh, I'm in love with your body
Oh-I-oh-I-oh-I-oh-I
Oh, I'm in love with your body
Oh-I-oh-I-oh-I-oh-I
Don’t label the song sections unless you are tagging (see Structure guidelines) and, as mentioned above, don’t include the artist name or title of the song, unless explicitly mentioned as part of the lyrics.
Incorrect
(McFly) [Verse]
Hey, I’m lookin’ up for my star girl
I guess I’m stuck in this mad world

Correct
Hey, I’m lookin’ out for my star girl
I guess I’m stuck in this mad world


4. Transcribe lyrics in their native scripts, avoiding romanization!
This is a biggie!

To help those of you who can’t read the original scripts, the romanized versions of Indian languages, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese lyrics are available as translations.
Incorrect – Romanization
Hitori dewa nagasugiru yoru
Nee konya yumewa mirareruno?
Kanaenai negai wo mune ni
Moreru tameiki ga munashii
Correct – Original Script
一人では長すぎる夜
ねえ 今夜夢は見られるの?
叶えない願いを胸に
漏れるため息が虚しい
When a song features lyrics in multiple scripts, your transcription should reflect this. Please present each language in its native script. If you aren’t confident transcribing in the language/script of the song, you should leave it to someone who is or ask the help of a native speaker on the Community Slack channel.
Correct
लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance
लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance
लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance
लुंगी dance, लुंगी dance

Format

Certain guidelines differ between languages. Please make sure to always refer to the guidelines of the language in which you are formatting.

1. Format lyrics following the song's structure
This includes breaking transcriptions up into individual lines
Correct
You taught me precious secrets
Of the truth withholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
But now I'm so much better
And if my words don't come together
Listen to the melody
'Cause my love is in there hiding

Separate distinct sections of the song with double breaks, keeping each section to a maximum of 10 lines
Incorrect
I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end, it doesn't even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end it doesn't even matter
One thing, I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme to remind myself how
Correct
I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end, it doesn't even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end it doesn't even matter

One thing, I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme to remind myself how

2. Be sure to make the format clear and homogenous
This means capitalizing the first letter of every line and any proper nouns (names, places, brands)
Incorrect
yeah, this is for the ones who stood their ground
for tommy and gina, who never backed down
tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake
luck ain't even lucky, got to make your own breaks
Correct
Yeah, this is for the ones who stood their ground
For Tommy and Gina, who never backed down
Tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake
Luck ain't even lucky, got to make your own breaks
Don’t go crazy with the capitals though! Not every word needs it…
Incorrect
Can't Move My Arms
Can't Move My Legs
Can't Say No
I Can't Say Yes
Can't Help Myself
I Need Your Help

Correct
Can't move my arms
Can't move my legs
Can't say no
I can't say yes
Can't help myself
I need your help

When using parentheses, use capital letters only in the following instances:
- Following question marks and exclamation marks
- To start a line
- Proper nouns

Incorrect
I'm really hungry (Oh yes I am)
Are you hungry? (let's have some cake)
He's hungry (Really, really hungry)
Correct
I'm really hungry (oh yes I am)
Are you hungry? (Let's have some cake)
He's hungry (really, really hungry)
Transcribe numbers as words except for in the following cases:

- Numbers above 10 should be written numerically (11, 12, 13, etc…)

- Once you get into the hundreds and thousands, however, it’s sometimes more logical to spell out the number rather than present it numerically (‘I’d walk a hundred, thousand miles just to see your face’)

- If there are many numbers given in a row (if an artist gives a phone number, for example) write them numerically (I told him, “Call me on 07678, ‘fore it’s too late”)

- Use numerals when exact times are emphasized with a.m. (ante meridiem) and p.m. (post meridiem): (6 a.m., 8:30 p.m.)

- If “o’clock” is used, however, all numbers should be written out (four o’clock, eleven o’clock

- Dates should be written numerically (1987)

- Decades should also be written numerically, introduced with an apostrophe ('It was better in the ‘60s')

3. Pay attention to punctuation!
No end-line punctuation other than question and exclamation marks where needed. You can also use hyphens and ellipses to reflect interrupted or fading phrases, but there’s never any reason to include an end-line comma!
Incorrect
Eat your heart out,
Do it,
You can’t do it,
Can ya?
Correct
Eat your heart out
Do it
You can’t do it
Can ya?
Always write contractions using an apostrophe (‘)
Examples
it’s when referring to “it is” and its when describing possessives
you’re when referring to “you are” and your when describing possessives
ballin', not ballin (contraction of “balling”)
‘til, not til (contraction of “until”)
'em, not em (contraction of “them”)
‘cause for shortened 'because' and cause when used as verb
don’t not dont
Use a single hyphen to replace explicit words in censored versions
Correct
I don’t care what the f- you say
I’m gonna live my life anyway
I got people to see and sh- to do
So b- I’m gon’ be okay without you


4. Direct Speech
When direct speech occurs in a track, it should be given within speech marks (“) following a comma. The first letter of the direct speech should be capitalized.
Incorrect
My friend got busted just the other day
They said don't walk, don't walk, don't walk away
Correct
My friend got busted just the other day
They said, "Don't walk, don't walk, don't walk away"

5. Use standardized spelling for slang
Slang can get a bit crazy, so to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the most common slang words and phrases we see.
Examples
‘Cause (Because)
Cuz (Cousin)
E’ry (Every)
Finna (Fixing to)
Gon’ or gonna (Going to)
I’ma (I’m going to)
Lil’ (Little, UNLESS it’s a proper name: Lil Wayne)
Nah mean? (Know what I mean?)
Outta (Out of)
‘Til (Until)
Tryna (Trying to)
Turnt (Turn up)
Yo (The greeting)
Yo’ (Your)

A quick note... 🎵

It can occasionally happen that there’s a ‘conflict’ between our guidelines and the artist’s assumed intentions based on how they’ve spelt/formatted the title. (E.G. ‘U R the 1 4 me’)
In such cases we encourage you to reach out to a member of our Content Team for guidance.


Sync

We recommend syncing using the Sync window of the Musixmatch Studio

1. Synchronize each line in time with the music when the first letter of the line is sung
Don’t start or finish the sync with the #INSTRUMENTAL tag (see the Structure guidelines)
Complete the sync right after the last sung line.

2. Take care and make a sync to be proud of!
If you make a mistake and your synchronization is out of time, be sure to correct it before saving!
Adjust the beginning of the line using the +/- buttons next to the timestamp

If you find that the sync is completely wrong (it happens, nobody’s perfect) you can reset it by clicking on the three dots at the top right of the page and choosing to restart the sync
On the Mobile app, you can correct errors by using the Up arrow to return to previous lines, where you’ll then be able to re-sync using the Down arrow

3. Check your sync!
Whether you’re creating your own sync from scratch or proofreading somebody else’s, don’t forget to check it for accuracy. You should check the sync of each individual line, using these play buttons:

Translate


1. Don’t copy and paste and don’t use machine translation websites and services
You’re fantastic, and we want to see your work, not someone else’s! Make sure that you only add lyrics that you yourself have translated

2. Translate line by line
Take the track one step at a time, focusing your translation on the related line only. Don’t translate two or more lines into one single line
Incorrect
The club isn't the best place to find a lover
La discoteca no es el mejor lugar para encontrar a una amante así que, al bar
So the bar is where I go
es a donde voy
Correct
The club isn't the best place to find a lover
La discoteca no es el mejor lugar para encontrar a una amante
So the bar is where I go
Así que, al bar es a donde voy

3. Don’t forget about our Transcribing and Formatting guidelines!
Your translations should follow these guidelines just as your transcriptions do


4. Don’t translate in a romanized version. As with transcriptions, it’s important to always use the original script
Incorrect
Every time they turn the lights down
Har baar ve lait band kar dete hain
Just want to go that extra mile for you
Bas aapake lie vah atirikt meel jaana chaahata hoon
Your public display of affection
Sneh ka aapaka saarvajanik pradarshan
Feels like no one else in the room (but you)
Aisa lagata hai ki kamare mein koee nahin hai (lekin aap)
Correct
Every time they turn the lights down
हर बार वे लाइट बंद कर देते हैं
Just want to go that extra mile for you
बस आपके लिए वह अतिरिक्त मील जाना चाहता हूं
Your public display of affection
स्नेह का आपका सार्वजनिक प्रदर्शन
Feels like no one else in the room (but you)
ऐसा लगता है कि कमरे में कोई नहीं है (लेकिन आप)

5. Remember to keep in mind the meaning of the sentence and the general theme of the lyrics (don’t be too literal!)

6. If you come across an untranslatable word, keep it as it is
As you know, we aim for perfection here at Musixmatch, and so if a word doesn’t have a proper translation, we prefer to keep it in its original language. (This also applies for brand and city names, see below)
Correct
Diet Mountain Dew, baby, New York City
Diet Mountain Dew, tesoro, New York City
Never was there ever a girl so pretty
Non c'è mai stata lì una ragazza così bella
Do you think we'll be in love forever?
Pensi che ci ameremo per sempre?
Do you think we'll be in love?
Pensi che ci ameremo?

Structure

What does “Structure” mean to Musixmatch?
When we talk about Structure, we’re talking about the ‘parts’ of a song. Every song is divided into sections which have distinct names and functions

Which are…?
Before we describe the structure tags, a quick disclaimer! Please note that not every song will have every section. Each song is unique and beautiful, and we respect that. It’s important not to force anything in order to include them all. Follow your heart (and your ears) and tag the song as you see fit!
Here’s each structure tag explained, with the help of…

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Lyrics with Structure Tag
Explanation
#INTRO
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh, oh-oh-oh
Caught in a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh, oh-oh-oh
Caught in a bad romance

The Intro (inputted by typing #INTRO and pressing the enter key)

The Intro comes at the beginning and introduces the song

It may also introduce the performers by name, especially in rap songs

This tag should be used for labelling the lyrical introduction to a track. Not to be confused with the instrumental tag

This is not a repeating section. You should use the Intro tag only once per song
#HOOK
Rah, rah-ah-ah-ah
Roma, roma-ma
Gaga, ooh-la-la
Want your bad romance

#HOOK
Rah, rah-ah-ah-ah
Roma, roma-ma
Gaga, ooh-la-la
Want your bad romance

The Hook (inputted by typing #HOOK and pressing the enter key)

The Hook is the catchiest part of a song - the bit that gets stuck in your head!

Be careful not to confuse it with the Chorus! It’s often more repetitive and a little less melodic



#VERSE
I want your ugly, I want your disease
I want your everything as long as it's free
I want your love, love, love, love
I want your love

#VERSE
I want your psycho, your vertigo shtick
Want you in my rear window, baby, you're sick
I want your love, love, love, love
I want your love (love, love, love, I want your love)



The Verse (inputted by typing #VERSE and pressing the enter key)

The Verse is the bit of a song that is the most narrative. It tells the story and is usually a little less memorable and catchy than the Chorus or Hook

When two or more sections of the song have almost identical melodies but different lyrics, you can consider each section one verse!

There are usually multiple verses in a song, but there’s no need to number them in your Musixmatch transcriptions. You can simply tag each one as #VERSE



#PRE-CHORUS
You know that I want you
And you know that I need you ('cause I'm a free bitch, baby)
I want it bad, your bad romance



The Pre-chorus (inputted by typing #PRE-CHORUS and pressing the enter key)

This is the linking section between the Verse and the Chorus

Not every song has a distinct Pre-chorus, but if it’s there it’s usually distinguished from the verses by a change in the melody or the instrumentation
#CHORUS
I want your love, and I want your revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
I want your love and all your lover's revenge
You and me could write a bad romance

#CHORUS
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh, oh-oh-oh
Caught in a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh, oh-oh-oh
Caught in a bad romance

The Chorus (inputted by typing #CHORUS and pressing the enter key)

This is most likely the bit the song is famous for  

It is repeated throughout the song, usually without changes to the melody or lyrics

It often contains the song title



#BRIDGE

Walk, walk, fashion baby
Work it, move that bitch crazy
Walk, walk, fashion baby
Work it, move that bitch crazy
Walk, walk, fashion baby
Work it, move that bitch crazy
Walk, walk, passion baby
Work it, I'm a free bitch, baby

#BRIDGE
I want your love, and I want your revenge
I want your love, I don't wanna be friends
J'veux ton amour, et je veux ta revanche
J'veux ton amour, I don't wanna be friends

#BRIDGE
No, I don't wanna be friends (caught in a bad romance)
I don't wanna be friends, want your bad romance
Caught in a bad romance
Want your bad romance



The Bridge (inputted by typing #BRIDGE and pressing the enter key)

The Bridge commonly comes about 60% of the way through the song and often introduces new melodic and lyrical ideas before a final repetition of the Chorus

It does sometimes, however, ‘re-imagine’ a Verse or the Chorus - maybe presenting the same lyrics with different instrumentation to spice it up a bit

It’s usually pretty easy to identify in any case as it’s specifically intended to give a brief departure from the rest of the song, before coming back with a final majestic return from the Chorus




#OUTRO
Rah, rah-ah-ah-ah
Roma, roma-ma
Gaga, ooh-la-la
Want your bad romance



The Outro (inputted by typing #OUTRO and pressing the enter key)

The Outro takes a song to its conclusion - always coming at the very end of the track

Like the Intro, it’s not a repeating section so be sure to use the Outro tag just once per song

It’s often very similar to the Intro, if not identical. The important difference is where it comes in the track

Instrumental (inputted by typing #INSTRUMENTAL and pressing the enter key)
The clue’s in the name with this one! 

You should use this tag when there’s a 5 second or longer period without any lyrical content.

Lady Gaga didn’t use any Instrumentals in Bad Romance, so here’s an example from Joni Mitchell instead
Bad Romance is a fairly straight-forward song structure wise, so here’s another slightly harder example for clarity’s sake
Lyrics with Structure Tag
Explanation
The track starts with a clear verse.

It focuses on story-telling and the melody isn’t too showy - that’s not its job here.

The instrumentation also gives us a clue, as it’s pretty minimal. The song generally has minimal instrumentation, but compared to other parts of the song, this section is notably ‘thinner’.

The lyrics and storytelling are in the spotlight.
Here’s what makes this song harder than Bad Romance, as it’s not initially super clear what this section should be tagged as.

There’s clearly been a progression from the last verse, lyrically, melodically, and in the instrumentation. But (to us at least) it doesn’t quite have the ‘gravity’ that a chorus often has.

We eventually decided to tag this as a verse, saving the chorus for later in the song.

We then clearly have another verse, as it follows the same lyrical themes and melody as the first one.

There’s then an Instrumental passage before the next lyrical section...
Which is the chorus. Maybe now it’s clearer why we avoided the chorus tag earlier. (It is possible to have two distinct choruses in one song, but in this case we don’t think it’s necessary)

The chorus almost announces itself here, with a swelling build up and impactful change in instrumentation.
As is common with choruses, it encourages us to sing along, perhaps more than the other sections.

This is a great example of how a chorus can be very clear without belonging to a catchy pop song. It’s about the encouraged reaction. The song has been designed so that this is the most impactful section, safely letting us tag it as the chorus.

We end with a clear outro.

The lyrics and melody are largely the same as in the end of the chorus but the instrumentation thins, preparing us for the end of the song.



Dos and Don’ts
Do start every song with a Tag
Do leave a space between the final line of one paragraph and the Tag corresponding to the next one

Do assign a Tag to every section of the song (including after #INSTRUMENTAL sections - see the above Joni Mitchell example for guidance)

Don’t number sections. It’s fine to have two distinct verses before a chorus. The correct way to tag them would be #VERSE and #VERSE, NOT #VERSE1 and #VERSE2
Don’t panic! Structure can be subjective. What we hear as a pre-chorus, you could think is a verse. If you have any doubts you can ask the community for advice if need be.