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Rap Genius gets more legitimate with new publisher licensing deal

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Rap Genius stock
Rap Genius stock

Rap Genius just got a little more legit. As Billboard reports, the hip-hop lyric and annotation site has signed a deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, marking its very first licensing arrangement with a music publisher. The deal was reportedly finalized earlier this year, and it sounds like it won't be the last — Rap Genius co-founder Tom Lehman told Billboard that he expects the site's relationship with artists and publishers to "only grow stronger."

The news comes as the National Music Publishers' Association listed Rap Genius as the worst offender on its "Top 50 Undesirable Lyric Websites" list. "These lyric sites have ignored the law and profited off the songwriters' creative works, and NMPA will not allow this to continue," president and CEO David Israelite said in a statement. While it's just a first step, the new deal should help legitimize Rap Genius' relationship with record labels.

Meanwhile, the site has been expanding beyond the world of annotated hip-hop lyrics, with new destinations focused on rock music, poetry, and news. The ultimate goal, Lehman told The Verge, is to "show the context behind the text for every form of text."