YouTube Music is finally getting one of Spotify's best features but with one catch

Samples on YouTube Music
(Image credit: YouTube)

On the heels of the reveal of a different YouTube Music project, Google has announced that it's finally bringing live lyrics to the service.

Live lyrics is a feature that Spotify has offered for years, which automatically scrolls lyrics for you as a song progresses to make it easier to understand, as well as to sing along. According to Android Police, Google has been working on this feature for its own competing service and is finally making it available after months of testing.

In order to access live lyrics, first navigate to a song with lyrics attached to it. Then go to the Lyrics tab in the Now Playing screen and you’ll see the feature play out. The text is much larger in the updated version (on the left of the image below) versus the old lyrics screen (on the right of the image below), and the line of lyrics currently being sung is highlighted in a brighter white while the screen scrolls down as the song plays.

YouTube Music live lyrics feature

(Image credit: 9to5google)

Live lyrics for YouTube Music was added starting with version 6.15 on Android and 6.16 on iOS. However, unlike Spotify’s service that’s available for all users, this tool is still being rolled out to users on a wider basis. 

It's important to keep in mind that the service only works on Android and iOS, only locally, and not every song can use the tool. Meanwhile, Spotify has the feature available anywhere you can access its service, including the Nest Hub and other smart displays as of 2022.

YouTube Music is slowly evolving 

Though live lyrics feature is one not yet perfected, it’s still a useful one that can eventually be made available to all of Google’s platforms, similar to Spotify. It’s a great sign that Google is looking to continuously enhance its service, especially considering how it replaced its long-established Play Music with YouTube Music.

Another project that Google’s been investing in is being able to identify a song by either humming or  “recording a song that’s currently being played” into the voice search tool. The Google support page also states that humming or recording must last at least three seconds “in order for the song to be identified.” Once it’s identified, the website will bring up both relevant and official content from YouTube channels, “user-generated videos,” or Shorts featuring the track.

It’s an experimental feature right now, with only a “small percentage of people across the globe who watch YouTube on Android devices” having access right now, and it’s currently unknown whether you can request to join that small percentage of testers. 

There’s also a new program that will grant music industry professionals more protection against AI tools that train on music, as well as the new Samples tab that has its own algorithm to help discover new artists.

But more of these quality-of-life changes being tested and implemented is ultimately a great thing for this budding platform.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.