When I play certain MP3 files (such as lessons from JapanesePod101.com) on my iPod Touch, lyrics or transcripts that are embedded in the MP3 files are displayed in the media player.

I find this to be an extremely useful feature, and I believe I'm not alone. Despite that, neither the stock Android media player nor any other media player I've downloaded from the Market seems to support this. I just have not been able to find any way to get feature on my Nexus One.

This feature is important enough to me that I'm considering learning Android development just so I can write a simple media player that displays embedded lyrics or notes. However, the fact that nobody else seems to have done this makes me wonder - is it even possible? Is there something in the Android architecture or APIs that make it difficult or impossible to read and display lyrics information from MP3 files?

  • I don't see why it would be possible. It's just meta data in a file. Maybe a dev could use something like this? javamusictag.sourceforge.net The only thing is most mp3s don't have lyric data. TuneWiki crowd sources this problem for you.
    – Bryan Denny
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 21:34
  • Not something that I've actually sought out yet, but it does get me that most of my music files are stuffed with tons of metadata that's being totally ignored by the players I'm using on Android. As I use Squeezebox music players on my home network, I've made sure my metadata is correct just to make the experience better, and so a lot of my music does have lyrics embedded.
    – GAThrawn
    Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 11:36

3 Answers 3


I haven't actually researched this answer, so take it with a grain of salt. Basing it off of other development work I have done with MP3s in the past.

I do not think there would be any reason that Android would limit an application from reading the embedded lyrics (or, rather lyrics from the ID3 tag). Because the tag supports this, really all you would need is a Java library that you can bring into your Android app that will read the lyrics.

With that said, the lyrics tag tends to be a little more in the "advanced support" for many applications. Everybody reads the title and artist tags. Most people will even display the album art (which is also part of the ID3). I haven't researched any recent libraries, but if you are curious about the ID3 tag in general, read this ID3 Easy article.

So, the short answer is: no, nothing is stopping anybody from supporting it other than library support. Either a library doesn't exist, or nobody cares to utilize that feature within an Android media player.

Hope that helps!


Meridian Media player has support for lyrics - i believe, embedded as well as .lrc files, but you might need the payware PRO version for that functionality to be enabled.

UPDATE: You're right! Turns out I had .lrc files in my music folder which is why i was seeing lyrics.

  • Nope. Downloaded the PRO version and tried it. Doesn't seem to read embedded lyrics. Thanks anyway. Commented Dec 9, 2010 at 15:20

Is there something in the Android architecture that prevents people from creating MP3 players that read embedded lyrics?

Apparently the answer is "Yes."

There's an open issue in Android's issue tracker on this very problem. Only users with Commit permission may comment, but you can star and follow the issue and perhaps help it get more attention.

  • That doesn't stop other players reading the lyrics from the MP3 file directly. It just means that the MediaProvider, which is a central store of music metadata, doesn't offer that information.
    – Dan Hulme
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 10:40

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