Rap Genius has announced the release of their first mobile app, called “Genius” available for iPhone users only. The site is well known for being a platform where users and artists can add line-by-line annotations on rap songs. The annotations explain the themes, subtexts, imagery, and cultural references to anyone searching for the meaning of a rap song, both popular and obscure. A public statement posted by $15 million investor Mark Andreessen today explains that Genius will work much like the popular Shazam app already available in the App Store, which uses a Recognition Technology to identify the song currently playing. Rap Genius has already expanded into Rock Genius, Poetry Genius, and News Genius, which all use the same annotation format. The Genius app will encompass all of Rap Genius’ offshoots.
Late last year Rap Genius was threatened by the NMPA, or the National Music Publishers Association, for operating without a license to post song lyrics. Rap Genius generates money from ads posted on their lyrics site, which goes against the NMPA laws. Yahoo reports that Rap Genius has since signed licensing deals with Universal Music Publishing and Sony/ATV. As of right now, the use of the Genius app and the Rap Genius website is free, but co-founders Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory and Mahbod Moghadam told Billboard that they may move into a subscription-based service in the future.
Genius is now available in the App Store