Lyrics Stuck in Your Head? Soon Youll Be Able to Put Them on Shirts & More

Karen Bliss | June 17, 2017

LyricFind, the global leader in licensed lyrics with a catalogue of more than 1 million songs from deals with over 4000 music publishers, is getting into the merch business. The Toronto-based company is launching the offshoot LyricMerch, a one-stop shop for on-demand lyric merchandise. 

"Pick any line from any song and put that on a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a coffee mug and one of the fun things that we're doing is shower curtains," LyricFind founder and CEO Darryl Ballantyne tells Billboard. "So if you've ever wanted to sing in the shower and actually get the words right, we could print up the lyrics."

The initial launch of lyricmerch.com -- expected in September -- will be in Canada and the U.S., then roll out to other countries, "hopefully in the not too distant future as long as we make sure we have all the kinks are worked out," he says.

LyricMerch will be using on-demand print partners "in various parts of the world" depending on the product and the territory, which will print up the custom designs and ship them directly to the customer.

"We've cleared a lot of the rights for merch so far. We're constantly adding more, so it really will be song by song depending on whether we have the merch rights cleared for it. But our catalogue is well over a million songs, so we have the lyrics to everything that matters, essentially," says Ballantyne who started LyricFind in 2004 with Mohamed Moutadayne and Chris Book.

"We'll also be working with artists to create custom designs and market those directly to their fans and, in those cases, the artist gets an affiliate share of the sale as well," he adds. "If they're picking a song and lyric they wrote themselves then they'll also share in the publishing royalties."

The initial launch products are men's, women's and kids' t-shirts and sweatshirts; coffee mugs, phone cases and the shower curtains, but they are also looking at expanding to bath and beach towels; pet products, such as dog bowls and beds; and pillow cases and duvet covers. 

"You could print the lyrics to a nice bedtime song on a duvet cover or we were joking around about how many different lines from Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' would go great on a pillow case," Ballantyne says. 

The customer could choose one or two lines, a verse, chorus or even the whole song.

"The user will be able to design their own exactly how they want it, based on certain restrictions for licensing purposes. It's text only," he clarifies. "We're not adding any graphics or branding to it. There's no endorsement of brands."

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About the author: Karen Bliss is the Canadian correspondent for Billboard, in addition to writing for Rolling Stone, MSN, AOL and many others publications and sites in Canada.