Stereo IQ is a crowd-sourced lyrics website set to be released soon, and is poised to be the standard for lyrics in pop and rock music.
Alex Koenig, one of its two founders, is a senior studying journalism at the University of Central Florida, with a minor in creative writing. Stereo IQ’s Facebook page boasts more than 3,700 likes, and although the site is not ready yet, it’s already building a following. Stereo IQ’s Twitter page has over 2,000 followers, and its profile describes it as “rapgenius.com – except we explain the lyrics of rock ‘n’ roll and pop music.”
Rap Genius was started in October of 2009 by three Yale graduates, with the purpose of critiquing rap as poetry and explaining its lyrics. Instead of their team doing the lyric explanations however, they created a formula similar to that of Wikipedia’s, whereas any user with an account could explain a line.
This crowd sourced model proved to be an innovation in the right direction for a lyrics website, and Rap Genius has earned over 10 million unique visitors per month.
For every explanation that gets good ratings from peers and editors, users get points added to their “Rap IQ.” Rap Genius is already considered the authority by avid hip hop listeners. Cesar Martinez, a junior studying business at Florida International University, is a hip hop aficionado who regularly checks out the lyrics of his favorite artists, including Kendrick Lamar and Curren$y.
“Rap songs are difficult to understand sometimes, and this Wikipedia model has really proven itself, I’m looking forward to Stereo IQ covering every genre,” Martinez said.
Alex Koenig, along with Tomi Fischer, began to build up the rock and pop database on Rap Genius in April of 2012, and have a system in place so that they will be able to transfer the lyrics to their new website when it is ready.
Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm based in California, announced it will invest $15 million in Rap Genius, a landmark investment in the future of crowd sourced lyrics. A portion of the investment will be granted to Stereo IQ.
“They wanted to turn Rap Genius into the ‘Internet Talmud,’ and to do that they obviously want to do more than just hip hop, so some of that money is going toward Stereo IQ,” Koenig said.
Rap Genius has 56 moderators, about 500 editors, and has had over 250,000 people submit explanations. Stereo IQ currently has only 60 consistent editors.
Nonetheless they produce a large volume of content consistently.
“We try to bring something different to the music game by offering different features centered on lyrics as opposed to just music, so we’re trying to distinguish ourselves in that sense,” Koenig said.
Stereo IQ’s content is not limited to lyric explanations however, which captured the attention of the “internet newspaper” the Huffington Post. The Huffington Post now hosts a blog for Stereo IQ, where they post guides to albums, editorial pieces, top lyrics of the week, interviews, amongst other things. Stereo IQ’s reach through the Huffington
Post, Twitter, Facebook, and Rap Genius is wide, all in anticipation of the site’s launch. Another site like Stereo IQ will be released soon as well, but dedicated to poetry, calling itself Poetry Brain. Users on Rap Genius have already expressed support for Stereo IQ and Poetry Brain, and have begun to contribute even before the sites are released.
Rap Genius has a signature venn diagram, with its logo sitting in the middle of three circles labeled rap lyrics, Wikipedia, and Urban Dictionary. Urban Dictionary is a massively popular website dedicated to defining terms unique to the modern era, and has become a reliable resource for street slang.
Stereo IQ’s venn diagram has a silver Q sitting in the middle three circles labeled sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.