Apple working on dynamic lyrics display for iPods and iPhones

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
iPod wielding teens and adults alike may soon find themselves singing along to their favorite tunes with pristine accuracy, thanks to synchronized music lyrics display technology under development by Apple Inc.



A patent request from the Cupertino-based iPod and iPhone maker published on Thursday describes software techniques for dynamically displaying text on a display screen of a portable media device alongside digital media content.



"The text being displayed is associated with and synchronized to the media content being presented. In one implementation, the dynamic nature of the text can scroll across the display screen of the portable media device," Apple wrote in the filing.



"In another implementation, a part of the text being displayed can be distinguishably displayed from other parts. The manner by which the part is distinguishably displayed can vary with implementation but can include highlighting the part through use of color, font, size, lines, dynamic effects (e.g., blinking), etc."



More specifically, the company said, the media content could be music and the text could be lyrics, whereby a portable media device can not only play music but also output synchronized lyrics.



For example, the filing states that when a song is played by a portable media device, lyrics associated with the song can be displayed on a display of the portable media device in a synchronized manner.



"From a user's perspective, the display of synchronized lyrics can be seamless and without the need for any preparatory action by the user," Apple explained. "The invention is particularly well suited for a portable media device that is small and hand-held."



Various lyric synchronization techniques are outlined in the March 2006 filing, including one method where the audio content and lyric content are stored in separate, distinct files and later synchronized in real time. Alternatively, both the lryics and audio content could be encoded and stored within a single media file.







The latter method, according to Apple, would include at least the acts of: "identifying an audio file for a media item to be played, the identified audio file including at least encoded audio content for the media item and encoded lyric codes for the media item; accessing lyrics pertaining to the media item; processing the identified audio file to extract and decode the encoded audio content and the encoded lyric codes; playing of the audio content that has been extracted and decoded from the identified audio file; displaying a portion of the lyrics such that the portion of the lyrics being displayed corresponds to that portion of the audio content being played; and distinguishably displaying, based on the lyric codes, a specific part of the portion of the lyrics being displayed from at least one other part of the lyrics being displayed."







In order to assure that the proper lyrics are synchronized and displayed properly, Apple's filing calls for the use of augmented lyrics files, which would be annotated in advance with precise timing intervals that Apple's iPod and iPhone software could then distinguish.



Back in April, the iPod maker was rumored to be in talks with digital media company Gracenote over the possibility of licensing authorized song lyrics for redistribution on its ubiquitous iTunes Store.







The move, which would follow a similar pact between Gracenote and Yahoo! Music, was said to be part of a larger industry-backed push to stifle proliferation of rogue websites that currently dominate online lyrics market, often offering inaccurate lyrics and never compensating artists for their work.



In a deal with music publishers last summer, Gracenote gained the rights to distribute lyrics from nearly 100 music publishers, including the top five: BMG Music Publishing, EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, and dozens of prominent independent publishers.



Apple's patent request for "Dynamic lyrics display for portable media devices" is credited to employees Ray Chang and Richard Atwell.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    josa92josa92 Posts: 193member
    cool.

    That would be interesting for Karaoke....
  • Reply 2 of 22
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Has Apple been including the lyrics with their songs yet? I haven't seen them yet, I think that's because of the rights issues, the song writer's guild probably wants money for them. I think that's a bit odd because the band/label probably paid for the rights to sing the words, record them and sell the song, I don't think that they should get paid again for a text copy wrapped with the same song.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    "proliferation of rouge websites"



    would that be like moulinrouge.com?
  • Reply 4 of 22
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    I don't suppose it is possible to file a class action suit against Apple on behalf of the people of the United States for wasting the Patent Office's time and resources on frivolous patent applications for THINGS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE. What a waste of our tax dollars. Get rid of stupid software patents.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Now all they need to do is add this to the apple tv.....





    Wahoo for drunken karaoke parties, courtesy of Apple
  • Reply 6 of 22
    kilraqkilraq Posts: 26member
    My ears are already hurting.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by josa92 View Post


    cool.

    That would be interesting for Karaoke....



    I can see it now. "Dude, how about you bust out your iKaraoke?"
  • Reply 8 of 22
    bikertwinbikertwin Posts: 564member
    Well, this is great news for the Deaf & hard of hearing communities.



    Maybe it means subtitles and/or captions will come to iTunes/AppleTV videos soon, too.



    Ever realize how absurd it is that TV shows (on live TV) and DVDs are all captioned, but virtually no legally downloadable video is captioned?
  • Reply 9 of 22
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    New just in: Apple patents Karaoke.
  • Reply 10 of 22
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,229moderator
    OMG they stole someone's idea:



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._girl_cry.html



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland


    New just in: Apple patents Karaoke.



    After they reinvent it.



    I actually don't think this is meant for a portable Karaoke device because how can you sing with earphones in? Badly I guess would be the obvious answer but I don't see that many people listening to ipods and singing. Of course maybe they don't know the words.



    I think it will be for other manufacturers to benefit in the form of a Karaoke dock with a big screen. I think those machines still use proprietary CDs don't they?
  • Reply 11 of 22
    rjenrjen Posts: 2member
    Quote:

    Apple's patent request for "Dynamic lyrics display for portable media devices" is credited to employees Ray Chang and Richard Atwell.



    Well, if a PalmPilot can be considered a "portable media device", then BabyMelodyPilot for Palm OS predates this patent application by over four years (November 2001 release). I'm sure Apple's implementation will be a hundred times better, but it probably doesn't merit a broad patent.



    --

    \tRobert Jen, Palm Application Developer and Trivia Author

    \thttp://www.rjen.com -- Educational applications and games for Palm OS

    \thttp://www.triviawhys.com -- Trivia that always tells you more!
  • Reply 12 of 22
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rjen View Post


    Well, if a PalmPilot can be considered a "portable media device", then BabyMelodyPilot for Palm OS predates this patent application by over four years (November 2001 release). I'm sure Apple's implementation will be a hundred times better, but it probably doesn't merit a broad patent.



    --

    \tRobert Jen, Palm Application Developer and Trivia Author

    \thttp://www.rjen.com -- Educational applications and games for Palm OS

    \thttp://www.triviawhys.com -- Trivia that always tells you more!



    Am I missing something? The app you linked to doesn't look much like what Apple is describing.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    tmedia1tmedia1 Posts: 104member
    I suggested this feature years ago via the product feedback feature in iTunes. I wonder if I'll get credit for it?
  • Reply 14 of 22
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,624member
    Forty years ago I was singing along to a cartoon on tv as the bouncing ball bounces from word to word in time with the music soundtrack.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    The real question is whether Apple can create some software that can effectively remove singers' vocals. Can't do decent karaoke without it.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    teedoff087teedoff087 Posts: 348member
    For the LOVE OF GOD, it's not karaoke. You can always dream, though.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    rjenrjen Posts: 2member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Am I missing something? The app you linked to doesn't look much like what Apple is describing.



    BabyMelodyPilot (henceforth BMP) includes a lot of irrelevant graphics, but BMP displays karaoke-style, dynamically-highlighted lyrics synchronized to the playing of music on a handheld device. The lyrics are embedded in the file that contains the music (one of the options Apple includes). The description, "dynamically displaying text on a display screen of a portable media device alongside digital media content", would appear to fit BMP just fine, or am I the one who's missing something?
  • Reply 18 of 22
    Hello, USPTO? The 90's are calling:



    http://www.st.com/stonline/press/new...1998/p166d.htm
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Duh, about time!



    Every MP3/Audio file has space for lyric content.



    Click "Get Info" on any music file in iTunes and there is a tab, clear as day, called LYRICS, which has been blank for years unless you manually copied lyrics from one of the hundreds of crappy lyrics sites.



    I don't know why this wasn't included when the iTMS initially opened... along with high quality .PDFs of ALL the album covers and inserts.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    jonnyboyjonnyboy Posts: 525member
    let's hope we have an option to use the classic "bouncing ball" style!
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