The lyrics website, known as "the Wikipedia of rap," has signed a licensing deal with Sony/ATV Music — which owns the largest share of publishing in the industry with nearly 31 percent. The agreement was finalized "earlier this year," according to Billboard.biz.
Rap Genius was targeted as No. 1 on NMPA's list of Top 50 unlicensed lyrics sites.
Via a statement, Sony/ATV chairman & CEO Martin Bandlier noted RGs success in reaching visitors in a "new, exciting way," words which are in line with the site's defense against the NMPA's allegations.
There's "layers of context," co-founder Ilan Zechory pointed out about the Brooklyn-based start-up in distinguishing it from the other sites targeted by the NMPA. "Music is only a small part of what we do ... anyone can upload and annotate texts relating to music, news, literature, religion, science, their personal lives, or anything else they want."
Created in 2009, Rap Genius has also landed a $15 million investment from venture capitol firm Andreessen Horowitz last October. This year's deal with Sony/ATV is reportedly one of more in the works.
Similarly, NMPA President and CEO David Israelite has said the organization wants to help facilitate licensing deals, not shut down the other unlicensed sites on the targeted list. "We simply want those that are making money off lyrics to be business partners with the songwriters who created the content that is the basis of the sites."
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(Photo: Rap Genius)