There are plenty of lyric Web sites out there—a simple Google search brings up hundreds of different web pages all with thousands of songs. But while most of these sites give users the option to post comments, their focus is rarely on a meaningful discussion about the lyrics. That’s where SongMeanings.net comes in, offering users a chance to create an account and discuss lyrics by artists ranging from Fleet Foxes to Ice Cube. Get Lyrical caught up with Michael Schiano, one of the founders of SongMeanings.net, to talk about how the site got started and which discussions you need to check out.
OS: Could you start by saying how you got started at SongMeanings.net and what you do there?
MS: While learning how to code and develop a Web site one night, we got off track for a few moments and began discussing “Brick” by Ben Folds Five. Sure enough, after an hour or so of discussing our interpretation of the song and lyrics, we knew we had an idea on our hands—a Web site that offered lyrics and allowed users to post their comments, thoughts and interpretations.
OS:What sets SongMeanings.net apart from other lyric sites?
MS: While we know SongMeanings, and other similar sites, need advertising to survive, we’ve always tried to limit these units. While our competitors may throw every type of ad your way, we try not to. We don’t like ads when we go to other sites, so why shove them down our users’ throats. Additionally, we push our users to discuss what the song (lyrics) means to them.
OS: Do users get nasty when they disagree with others or are the discussions generally pretty civil?
MS: We see discussions both bad and good. On one hand, we see the “flame wars” and ignorant replies (of which we try our best to moderate). And on the other hand, we see very thought-provoking debates going back and forth amongst comments.
MS: Green Day’s “American Idiot” has a great on-going discussion with very thought-provoking comments. Also, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” is also one of our most popular songs that users continually discuss. Something Corporate’s “Konstantine” is up there, too.
OS: You released a mobile version of the site last year, has that been successful so far?
MS: Our mobile version has been slowly growing. We haven’t promoted it much simply because we feel the mobile market is still evolving. We obviously want to have a mobile presence, but we want to do it right. As such, we’ve been watching it very closely— finding out what users like and don’t like. Mobile sites are very different than traditional Web sites so we have to be very careful how we really display ourselves.
OS: Anything else you want to add?
MS: We have a great 2011 in front of us at SongMeanings. Leading the way is our mixtape feature. While such a feature is not new to the net, we’re striving for our users to post their meaningful mixtapes—quite like what we do with comments. We also have a revamped design and layout in the works, as well as some great partnerships. We’re certainly excited with what 2011 holds for us.
Check out Songmeanings.net to add your two cents about your favorite songs!