I wrote a thing: jwzlyrics.

After years of complaining about how all extant iTunes lyrics-displayers and importers suck, I finally bit the bullet and wrote my own. I should have just done this a long time ago.

It's simple, but my needs were simple. Let me know if you like it.

It has a stupid name because all the other stupid names were already taken.

Previously, previously, previously.

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25 Responses:

  1. Ben says:

    The binary instantly crashes on my computer running 10.6.8.

    *** Terminating app due to uncaught exception 'NSInvalidUnarchiveOperationException', reason: '*** -[NSKeyedUnarchiver decodeObjectForKey:]: cannot decode object of class (NSLayoutConstraint)'

    I can send the whole thing if you want.

    • jwz says:


      There's zero chance I'm gonna do anything about that unless someone sends me a patch. Sorry.

      • Ben says:

        Ok. What version does it run on?

      • The MainMenu.xib is using AutoLayout, which is 10.7+ only. AutoLayout is enabled by default in XCode 4.3+.

        I don't think autolayout is doing anything for you here. The build should run on 10.6 if you disable it. To do this, go to the File Inspector in interface builder and untick "Use Auto Layout".

        Here's a patch that does that, I guess.

        • jwz says:

          Cool, thanks! Give 1.1 a try?

          • Ben says:

            Works now, thanks! A neat idea.

            If you resize the window larger then change the font size to larger, it puts a scroll bar in a pane the size of the original window inside the current larger window. If that description makes any sense at all.

        • jwz says:

          Also, FYI for those of you with ancient Macs:

          Currently it relies on automatic reference counting, so I think that precludes it from working on 10.5, or on any non-64-bit-Intel Mac. Making it work without ARC would probably not be much work, but I haven't bothered.

          • Given that if you are not running 10.6, you cannot run current versions of almost everything, I wouldn't worry about it, nothing else recent works either.

            Thanks for supporting 10.6 though.

    • nooj says:

      FYI, the source README states, "Requires MacOS 10.7 or later."

      • Ben says:

        The Venn diagram of "people who download and try the binary" and "people who download the source and read the README" does not overlap.

  2. John says:

    This is nice. Have you seen Amarok on Linux? It looks up the lyrics and Wikipedia entries for song and artist. It'd be great if you could make this do the Wikipedia entries. Either way, this is a very tasteful app you've created. Recommending it to family etc.

    • jwz says:


      Linking to Wikipedia isn't a bad idea, but I like the window being pretty minimal so that it takes up little space. Right now the only place the song title and band name appear is in the title bar. So, I dunno.

  3. Owen Davis says:

    Glad the search hint worked out! I looked at the source. :)

  4. Dee says:

    Wow - I was waiting for this. Have tried the others, but this fits in quite nicely... and seems to load instantly.

  5. Owen: Yes, very helpful, thanks!

  6. dmssrt says:

    Very neat!

  7. Liam says:

    On Mavericks, iTunes 11.1.3 - When I find lyrics for current playlist it flashes up an error "internal error - unknown wiki" I think it says. There are 56 songs in the playlist, it flashes the looking and error a few times (I think it says 'searchine' about 5 times, and the error twice. It then finds lyrics for one song, always the same song in this playlist, displays the lyrics with a stop button and then does nothing more for a number of minutes. It eventually (a number of minutes) found a second lyric.

    Hope that makes sense.
    Cheers, Liam

    • Liam says:

      OK, the lyrics I am getting now aren't from the 'download playlist', but are being found as a new song is played. Am I mistaken in thinking that the 'download for playlist' shouldn't be dependent on the song being played?

      Cheers, Liam

      • Liam says:

        Pardon my confusion. I see now that success is silent, and when I was seeing a lyric show up on the playlist I tried it on first that must have been due to the song starting, not the lyric downloader.

        It's currently done about 5000 songs, and I'll leave it running.

        Cheers, Liam

        • jwz says:

          Feedback on the bulk downloader isn't great, I know. The title bar begins with a number: that's how many tracks are still in the queue.

    • jwz says:

      If you ever see "internal error", please send me the name/artist of the track it's getting that on -- exact spelling! If you're not sure which one it is, you can just send me the contents of the playlist: bring up the context menu on the playlist name and select "Export, format XML". (Uh, that's in iTunes 10. Hopefully they didn't remove that in iTunes 11.)