How To Conduct a Song Search By The Lyrics You Know

David Pierce 10-08-2009

I have this exact moment all the time: I hear a song. “Ooo, good song!” I say. Then, to remember what the song is so I can look it up later, I try and remember a line or a phrase from the song, which I’ll then use to figure out what song it really is. Then, I immediately forget the line, or forget part of it, or can’t for the life of me remember one of the words in the middle.


Now, there are plenty of ways to do a song search by lyrics. Brad has already shared with you the Top 5 Sites to Find Song Lyrics Online The Top 8 Sites to Find Song Lyrics Online Heard an unidentified song on the radio or somewhere? These lyrics websites can help you find the songs you've been searching for. Read More

For the most part, Google does wonders in trying to find songs online. If you type in the lyrics you know, in quotation marks, followed by the word lyrics (something like “mmbop bop bop doowop” lyrics), you’ll usually get what you’re looking for. But, you’ll also get pages loaded with popups, tons of advertisements, and lots and lots of incorrect lyrics.

If you’re looking for an easier, better song  search engine, check out LyricRat. LyricRat is a new application attempting to make sure you always find that song you heard and liked.

song search by lyrics

Let’s start with the coolest feature: LyricRat is on Twitter. You can send any lyrics snippet to @lyricrat, and you’ll get a reply back with the name of the song, as well as a link to more information about it. This, in itself, makes LyricRat a better way to do a song search by lyrics than a Google search – when you hear a song you want to know, just send the lyrics in a text message, and the answer will be waiting in your Twitter feed when you get back.



If you’re not a Twitter user, there’s still plenty to like about LyricRat. When it finds the song you’re looking for, you’re taken to a page about the song. There’s a link to preview the song (to make sure it’s actually the song you were looking for), a link to buy the song, and another link to more information about the song or band.

There’s even a list of possible alternatives (just in case the one you want is a cover, or you entered common lyrics, or something like that). They’re all Amazon links, but Amazon’s certainly the best source of information and products for most bands, so it’s a sensible integration.

song lyrics phrase search


If you’re not even right about the lyrics, LyricRat can often still figure it out. No idea what Sting’s saying in any song by the Police? Just guess what it sounds like – you’re probably wrong, but if you’re hearing the same wrong lyrics as most other people, you’ll be given the right one. I tried a bunch of commonly misheard lyrics, and LyricRat got the song right more than half of the time.

As I said before, Google usually handles these things quite well. If do a song search by lyrics a lot though, as I do, you’ll appreciate a simple, attractive site that’s not totally cluttered with ridiculous popups, malware, and “buy this ringtone!” ads. LyricRat, especially since it plays so nicely with Twitter, is a great way to quickly and easily find that song that will soon be forever stuck in your head.

How do you hunt for your favorite song?

Image Credit: Kevin Lawver


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  1. Mark O'Neill
    August 11, 2009 at 8:54 am

    On a side note, LyricRat is down. The MUO effect perhaps?! ;-)

  2. Mark O'Neill
    August 11, 2009 at 8:53 am

    One I REALLY like is Midomi which gives you the ability to hum the song (no words required) and it finds the song title for you.

    You obviously need a headset and microphone for this and the site is amazingly accurate. I was able to find the titles of songs which I had heard as a child and which I occasionally hummed out loud ever since, driving everyone crazy.

    Now thanks to Midomi, I have the titles and now the MP3's! lol.

  3. Peter
    August 11, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Since I am spending too much time online reading the now late arriving email (hint, hint!), here's how I do it: I type in the search bar of Maxthon the lyrics that I know, and locate the group name or song name. Then I type in the (possibly corrected) song lyrics, the band and/or songname followed by "lyrics". It's rare for my searches to be unfruitful.

    If they are it is usually because one of the search keys has been spelled or composed incorrectly.

    The reason why this works? Modern search engines have been refined for this sort of task among many others.

    The beauty of Maxthon is that I can drag and drop my searches for stuff that I am browsing and the result appears in a new window. This means that I don't have to wait for very long to understand key terms in an article, and I am able to comprehend the article more fully.

    The difficulty with Maxthon? V 2 and 3 x have a proprietary 'favourites' system, which I dislike intensely. Moreover, there is a highly dubious 'cloud' storage system for links, which means users can update all of their machines. The cloud is to me an unreliable place. I like to do my own storage, and I like to use the net lingua franca, not a proprietary system.

    So, does anyone know of a browser with drag and drop searching, and drag and drop link opening? Before inappropriate suggestions roll in, Firefox et al. use (e.g.) the centre button, not right click and drag.

  4. bTuna
    August 10, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Good stuff. Thanks.