Review: Strophes Lyric Machine for OS X

Review: Strophes Lyric Machine for OS X

I am a lover of music, but not the best at picking out the exact words in a song, especially hip-hop, which may be a result of my suburban heritage.  Strophes is a quick reference guide to lyrics and artist information in a nice packaged window.  Simple, yet informative, Strophes is a one-stop lyric shop, but with a few catches.

Design

I am appreciative of apps that spend extra time making their user interface elegant.  Major points to Strophes for a crisp, clean, and simple layout, while offering three theme color choices for the title bar and font options.  The album art, if it is found, is displayed next to the song, album, artist, and stop/play/next/back controls for iTunes.  If you feel compelled to tell your friends what lyrics you just found, there is a Twitter and Facebook share option as well.

 

Function

On the initial launch, Strophes prompts you to install a YouTube Safari extension which will add a lyrics button in the browser (pictured below).  In addition to YouTube, Strophes will automatically search lyrics from iTunes, RDio, Spotify, and Radium, and display them within the app; however, this is limited to the songs listed in their approved database – mp3lyrics.com.  To my understanding: Due to copywrite issues, unless a company has express access to an approved database, it cannot regenerate the lyrics legally within their own app.

When Strophes looks up a song that is not in its own database, a link is displayed to view the lyrics on Safari.  The same restrictions apply to automatically embedding the lyrics into the actual .mp3 or .acc file – copywrite prevents approved apps from adding lyrics to the file for fear it is not exactly correct, thus misrepresenting the artist.

Copyright red-tape aside, Strophes presents the lyrics nicely in the main view.  The lyrics can then be copied and pasted into the iTunes files directly, if you so choose.  Perhaps you do not have the song you want to look up, not-to-worry.  If you simply want to look up a song that is not currently playing, there is a search engine built into the app.  Entering an artist, song title, or a string of lyrics will return a result list which will populate the lyrics when clicked.  Additionally, Last.fm teamed up with Strophes to give one click access to artists’ biographies, description types, and other useful information.

Conclusion [rating: 3.5/5]

Looking up lyrics is made simple with Strophes ($4.99, App Link) for Mac.  However, with access to only one database, you may find your lyrics are not accessible in-app.  Overall, the app is well packaged, user friendly, and informative, thanks to the Last.fm partnership.  At $5, I would expect more database access ensuring the lyrics actually display in the app.  The devs are continually updating Strophes and are friendly when approached with questions.  I look for Strophes to blossom into an excellent app with a long list of database accessibility.

Pros

  • Love the YouTube extension
  • Coordinates with 5 different audio sources
  • Displays album art and lyrics
  • In-app controls for iTunes
  • Share via social media

Cons

  • Uncontrollable, but cannot imbed lyrics into iTunes files
  • Currently only accesses one database for lyrics
  • Expensive for possible limited search returns

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