Lyrics Guidelines

Explicit content must be flagged Explicit with a parental advisory tag. Terms like “(Explicit),” “(Explicit Version),” “(Dirty),” or “(Dirty Version)” must not be used for album, or track titles.
For the best possible listener experience, lyrics music be accurate and match the audio. This includes everything that is an integral part of the vocals. Apple may change the formatting of provided lyrics for stylistic reasons.

General Formatting

The structure of a song must dictate a lyric’s format and structure. When transcribing lyrics, it is important to separate the lyrical sections and changes within a song with line and section breaks. All lyric lines must be single-spaced and a double space separate each stanza. If unsure when to input a line or section break, some common identifiers are:

  • A defined chorus, verse, intro, bridge, or hook
  • Changes in the song tempo
  • Changes in how the artist delivers the lyrics (from singing to rapping)


Capitalization in your lyrics should follow traditional grammar rules. Proper nouns should be capitalized. Additionally, all lyric lines should begin with a capital letter.
Here are examples of words that must be capitalized:

  • Divinity and religious intricacies (“God,” “You,” “Him,” “Your” in religious songs)
  • Acronyms (NASA, FBI)
  • Geographical location (East Coast, Southside, etc.)
  • Title casing
  • The first letter of the first word contained in parentheses
  • Brand names


Do not end any lyric line with a period or comma. Exclamation points, question marks, and quotation marks are the only acceptable end-line punctuations and should be included as needed.
Within the line, it is most important to follow traditional grammar rules.
Additional examples of acceptable punctuation:

  • Hyphens dropped words, spelled out words, and acronyms (L-Y-R-I-C-S)
  • Parentheses background vocals must be wrapped in parentheses at the end of a line, with the first letter capitalized
  • Apostrophe for certain slang and contractual modifications (‘Rari for Ferrari)

Repeated Lines

The lyrics should match the audio. If a line is repeated, it must be written out.
Until you respect me and my dogs
I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree
I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree
I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree
I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree
Until you respect me and my dogs
I’ll keep barking up the wrong tree
(Repeat x3)

Spoken Word Content

Currently, spoken word/conversational content within a song should not be transcribed.

Non-Word Vocal Sounds

Non-word vocals should be transcribed sparingly and only if they add to the content of the song, either narratively or stylistically.
Improvised scatting is considered instrumental content and must not be transcribed.
Non-lyrical, or “harmonious non-word vocal sounds,” should be transcribed.
For example: “ooh,” “ah,” “whoa,” as well as onomatopoeia such as “burr” or “skrrt.