How to Manually Add Song Lyrics in iTunes

Learn the words to your favorite songs by adding song lyrics in iTunes

iTunes Song Lyrics Screen
iTunes Song Lyrics Screen. Image © Mark Harris -- Licensed to About.com, Inc.

How Lyrics Are Stored and Added to Songs

Just like other stored attributes in digital music files such as title, artist, album, genre, etc., lyrics can be saved for each song in your iTunes library as metadata. However, there is a high probability that not all songs will have this lyrical information included.

If for example, you have already ripped tracks from audio CDs using iTunes, then you will need a way of adding lyrics to the metadata information -- you can do this with iTunes' built-in editor or a dedicated tag editing program.

How to Manually Add Lyrics in iTunes

Popular software media players such as iTunes don't have an 'out of the box' solution for automatically tagging lyrical data. To add this facility, you have to use third party software or download a lyrics plugin for this automated procedure.

However, if you want to keep it simple and don't need to add lyrics to every single file in your iTunes library, then you can use the built-in metadata editor and find the words for your favorite songs by using lyrics websites. These often have searchable databases that you can use to find particular songs. The lyrics can then be copied from your browser's screen and pasted into the lyrics metadata field in iTunes.

Before following the tutorial below, it is a good idea to find a good lyrics website. Probably the easiest way to achieve this is to search for keywords like 'song lyrics' for example using your favorite search engine.

Popular websites that have thousands of song lyrics in searchable databases include MetroLyrics, SongLyrics, A-Z Lyrics Universe, and others.

Follow the simple steps below to start manually adding lyrics to your iTunes songs

  1. Displaying the Songs in Your iTunes Library: if the music library screen isn't already displayed when you run iTunes on your computer, click the Music menu option in the left window pane (located underneath Library) to view a list of all your songs.
  1. Selecting a Song to Add Lyrics: right-click a track and choose Get Info. Alternatively, you can select a song with the left mouse button and use the keyboard shortcut: [CTRL Key]+[I] to get to the same screen. Click the Lyrics menu tab -- you should see a large blank text area if the song you selected doesn't presently have any lyrics. If it does, then you've got the option to overwrite this text or click Cancel to choose another song.
  2. Copying and Pasting Lyrics: switch to your Web browser so you can use a good lyrics website to find the words to the song you're working on. As previously mentioned, you can use a search engine to find sites on the Web by typing in key phrases like: 'song lyrics' or 'words for songs'. Once you have found the lyrics for your song, highlight the text using your left mouse button and copy it to the clipboard:
    • For PC: hold down the [CTRL key] and press [C].
    • For Mac: hold down the [Command key] and press [C].
    Switch back to iTunes and paste the copied text into the lyrics text area you opened in step 2:
    • For PC: hold down the [CTRL key] and press [V].
    • For Mac: hold down the [Command key] and press [V].
  3. Click OK to update the song's metadata information.

Next time you sync your iPod, iPhone, or iPad, you'll be able to follow the words on-screen without having to hum along!