Why Does the Appearance of Lyrics Matter?

When writing lyrics, we often assume that we are the only ones who will read them. We seldom consider how to format song lyrics in a way that makes sense to others. However, there are several benefits to formatting lyrics in a specific way, especially for collaboration purposes. So, how do you format lyrics? In this guide, we explain how to do it and why it’s important.

You can also read more about how to write lyrics from scratch.

 

Advantages of Knowing How to Format Song Lyrics

Why is it important to know how to format song lyrics correctly?

  • It becomes easier for others to learn, sing, or play the song.
  • Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have specific requirements for how lyrics should appear. A neatly formatted text with line breaks also makes it easier to sync lyrics on streaming platforms.
  • Even before producing the song, it’s helpful to have the lyrics properly formatted so that the producer can better understand your intentions for different parts of the song.
  • If you plan to collaborate with a music publisher or a record label, they will want to read your lyrics. It’s an advantage if they look professional.

 

Guidelines

How should the lyrics be formatted then?

  1. Triple-check that spelling and grammar are correct. One tip is to give the lyrics to someone who hasn’t heard the music, as they may find it easier to spot small errors.
  2. Structure the lyrics into the sections you envision. Typically, this involves verses, choruses, bridges, etc. Make it easy for the reader to understand what is what.
  3. Use a standard font such as Helvetica Neue, black text, font size 12, and line spacing 1.1. Align the text to the left – don’t center it!
  4. Include the BPM, key, and chords if you know them.
  5. A good tip is to always habitually write headers and sections (the bolded text in the example below) in English. Almost everyone can understand English, but fewer people can understand Swedish. However, the lyrics themselves can, of course, be in Swedish.

 

Example

Here’s an example of how to format song lyrics in a neat and tidy way. Remember that this is just an example and that the song structure can vary from case to case.

Lyrics: SONG TITLE

BPM: 120
KEY: C Major

Chords
Verse: G, D, E, C
Chorus: D, D, D, C

[Verse 1]
Text, text

[Pre-Chorus 1]
Text, text

[Chorus 1]
Text, text

[Verse 2]
Text, text

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Text, text

[Chorus 2]
Text, text

[Bridge]
Text, text

[Chorus 3]
Text, text

 

Streaming Service Guidelines

If you want to sync your lyrics on a streaming service, only the first tip is important, which is to carefully check the spelling. However, you should review the guidelines specific to each service for lyrics. Some common ones include:

  1. Don’t print the name of the artist/person singing.
  2. Don’t add any extra text, such as “chorus” or links to social media.
  3. Include the lines that are repeated (avoid writing “x2”).
  4. Start each line with a capital letter.
  5. Don’t end lines with periods, but question marks or exclamation points are acceptable.
  6. Don’t use blank spaces between lines, except between different sections (e.g., verse and chorus).
  7. Avoid excessively long lines. One sentence per line is usually sufficient.
  8. Don’t censor profanity unless it’s replaced with a beep in the song.
  9. Don’t use numbers for the numerals 1-10. Write out the words, e.g., “two” instead of “2”.
  10. Don’t include unnecessary spacing at the beginning or end of lines.
  11. Use standard spelling, which is particularly important if the lyrics are in English. For example, write “trying to” instead of “tryna”.

 

Best of luck in your music creation!

We hope this guide was helpful for you in learning how to format lyrics. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us! You can also read more about how we can assist you in your music creation.

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