MetroLyrics makes $10 Million per year on lyrics… legally

Great article in the New York Times yesterday titled Lyrics Sites at Centre of Fight Over Royalties about the ubiquity of song lyrics on the web and Vancouver’s own

Techvibes has been covering and it’s parent company MetroLeap Media for over two years and we’ve seen plenty of changes over the years. The most important being the day MetroLeap signed a deal with Gracenote, allowing them to publish lyrics legally on their site.

The New York Times weekend piece describes the opportunities and problems for songwriters and their publishers and interviews MetroLeap Founder Milun Tesovic about his decision to pay royalties for use of the lyrics.

Mr. Tesovic said he had always wanted to use the lyrics legally and had approached publishers about getting the rights. But it wasn’t until 2008, when MetroLyrics signed a deal with Gracenote, that legal lyrics appeared on the site.

“It’s either right or it’s wrong, and it felt wrong to not compensate the writers,” he said. “Publishers knew that when they were ready, we were ready.”

In the last two years, the music publishers association has reached out to 95 sites that carried unlicensed material, nine of which then obtained licenses, while 31 shut.

Looks like Tesovic and his team made the right decision. According to the New York Times article, drew 13.5 million unique users in March 2010 and generated close to $10 Million in revenue in 2009.

MetroLeap Media is a perennial leader on our PEER 1 Canada Startup Index, employs 15 and is hiring.