How to (Quickly) Tell if a CD Has Explicit Lyrics?
February 13, 2014 3:01 PM   Subscribe

A friend donated 200+ CDs to our community radio station. I want to rip them into our system, but don't have time to track each and every song for explicit lyrics. Is there an easy way for me to check online to see if any tracks on each CD is marked as explicit? I know when I search iTunes, I see a red E to indicate such, but am not sure if there is another source out there of which I am not familiar.
posted by terrapin to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I must do this for my community radio show as well. What I do is google "song_title lyrics". There are several lyric sites out there. Then I click-in and do a quick CTRL-F for "shi.." and "fuc..." You can move through a bunch pretty quickly.

I don't know of any automated way to do this.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:44 PM on February 13, 2014

You might find looking things up at Walmart is a slightly quicker way of doing this since they have a "no explicit lyrics" policy, though they will carry edited editions.
Wal-Mart Stores, Sam's Club and (collectively "Wal-Mart") do not carry recordings designated with the Parental Advisory Label.
Theoretically the API for the iTunes store allows you to search for explicit lyrics so this process could be automated but I don't know anyone who has done it.
posted by jessamyn at 4:28 PM on February 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some of the lyric sites have APIs too.
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:33 PM on February 13, 2014

Walmart sells tons of explicit recordings.

Also, even if they didn't, there are two versions of every album: one edited for radio play, one not.
posted by bowbeacon at 4:39 PM on February 13, 2014

I don't think there is any way to do this automatically. Do you have apprentices or other volunteers who need stuff to do? When I was in college radio this is definitely something I would farm out to apprentices (they needed 10 volunteer hours to complete the program).
posted by radioamy at 5:10 PM on February 13, 2014

I recognize you might not want to manage the music with iTunes, but is there any reason you can't import them into an instance of iTunes, note which are explicit, and then remove them (or then remove iTunes from that machine)?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:27 PM on February 13, 2014

Won't the cd case have the big E on it for explicit? That's what some of my Kanye CDs have on them (yes yes, laugh all you want).
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:01 PM on February 13, 2014

General assumptions aren't going to work here. For instance, Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" contains the word "shit". There's no "E for explicit" on that. I'd assume it's for sale at Walmart, etc.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:03 PM on February 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would agree that you cannot rely on "E" or "Parental Advisory" labels to be a sensitive indicator of explicit lyrics. My understanding is that these labels are placed completely at the option of the record label that releases the music. Especially for any CD's that were not distributed in a mass-market fashion, all bets are off.

If you had a list of the album titles and artist names for each CD (something that might be easily generated with some sort of UPC scanning app on a phone -- not sure), and a list of the banned words, then I'd be happy to do manual lyrics searches for each track for you in my spare time. It sounds like fun. Mail me if you're interested.
posted by mean square error at 8:50 AM on February 14, 2014

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