Add Karaoke-Style Lyrics to Your Music Collection With LRC Format

Use an app or plug-in to sing along with your music

Microphone with stage lights in the background
Tetra Images / Getty Images

You may have already added lyrics to your songs by using an MP3 tagging tool or a software media player that has a built-in metadata editor such as iTunes. However, these methods display all the lyrics in one go. If you would rather see the words displayed on-screen in karaoke style while the music plays, then you'll need to use separate files that are in the LRC format, either via a plug-in or an app.

LRC Karaoke-Style Format

LRC is a special format that not only contains the lyrics for a song but also has timing information to correctly synchronize the words with the music that is playing. Separate files ending in .lrc normally have the same name as the song they provide lyrics for and consist of a few text lines of alphanumerical information. Using LRC files isn't limited to jukebox software. Most computers and portable devices these days such as the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, other MP3 players, and portable music players support the LRC format so you can sing along in karaoke style while on the go.

Lyric App

You can download LRC files for some songs, but a more practical approach is to download an app for your iOS or Android mobile device such as the free Lyrics Mania application for your media player. This app, available at Google Play and the App Store, displays scrolling lyrics that you can follow along as the artist sings. Download the app and view the lyrics on your Android or iOS mobile device as you play any song in your music library. You can also use the app with external music players such as Spotify.

A similar option, Lyrics Plugin, is a free plug-in that synchronizes lyrics with audio files in conjunction with Windows Media Player, Winamp, and iTunes. Just start listening to your music and lyrics are displayed automatically. With the Lyrics plug-in, you can add your own lyrics if the database doesn't contain them.

LRC Format Types

The LRC file format synchronizes song lyrics with an audio file, but different versions of the format are available. Check to see which format your music player takes. They are:

  • Simple LRC format, which displays a whole line at a time, rather than one word at a time
  • Simple LRC format extended, which gives the user the ability to change the gender in the lyrics
  • Enhanced LRC format, which displays lyrics one word at a time when applicable in the music.