Spotify just grabbed Apple Music’s best feature

Spotify now lets you search via lyrics on iOS and Android

(Image credit: Spotify)

If a song is going round and round your head, and you can’t remember the title, then Spotify is now here to help. The streaming service has added a new feature that fans of Apple Music will be extremely familiar with.

Now when you use the search function in iOS and Android, the app will return results based on lyrics as well as titles. Which is handy if the artist has decided to call their song something totally unrelated to the words you remember.

Surprisingly, for such a game changing feature, Spotify didn’t give it much fanfare. Instead, it was down to company designer, Lin Wang, who revealed the change on Twitter with an example of her own: 

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As you can see from the screenshot above, a search for the words “if i could id be” not only brings up Mitski’s ‘Your Best American Girl’ (“If I could, I’d be your little spoon”), but also approximate matches like Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ (“If I only could, I’d make a deal with God”). 

We’ve tried this on the Android version ourselves, and it works very nicely. We deliberately picked a common musical phrase (“I’m so in love with you”) and the app not only picked up songs with that exact title by Jill Andrew and The Techniques, but also the Erasure hit ‘A Little Respect’ which contains the phrase verbatim. Each one is clearly marked to show whether it’s a song, a lyrics match or a playlist, too.

Spotify's new 'search by lyrics' function

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the desktop version doesn’t offer any kind of lyrical matching services, which probably gives an insight into exactly where most of Spotify’s customers listen to their music.

It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth for Apple Music, which has had the ability to search by lyrics since iOS 12 in 2018. While neither platform gives a running total of their subscriber numbers, it’s generally accepted that Spotify is some way in front (opens in new tab), even as Apple Music continues to grow. While the ability to search by lyrics was unlikely to be a deal breaker for anybody, anything that makes the app more user friendly will certainly help that dominance continue.