In my last post I quoted some Doors lyrics. Uncharacteristically, I did not do any linking.
I didn’t link to The Doors’ site because it’s full of Flash and other crap that is not only at stylistic variance from the spare and artful nature of The Doors’ work, but likely to either annoy you or crash something. (My Linux box can’t see or hear the Flash stuff, my Windows box wants to download all kinds of stuff and then fails with it anyway, and my Mac just flat-out crashes on it. I don’t recall any other site recently that actually brings down a computer. But that’s what The Doors site did in this case.)
I didn’t link to any lyrics pages because all of them, far as I can tell, bury what the reader wants — just the lyrics, please — inside walls of advertising. Go do a phrase/keyword search for “When the music’s over” and “doors”, on Google. Click on the top results and you’ll find that every one has a pop-up window, plus lots of other advertising jive. Of course, you can block those in your browser; but still, pop-up windows suck. They break the Web’s social contract, which says (among other things) that the publisher should not abuse the reader’s intentions. Nobody goes to a page saying “I want a pop-up window”.
These lyrics pages exist for a good (though bad) reason: most artists don’t publish their own lyrics. People want to see lyrics, however, so the advertising baiters publish the lyrics anyway. Copyright be damned.
So my advice to artists such as The Doors is to publish their own lyrics, in ways that respect the music and their own artistry — as well as the readers’ good will and good intentions.
And while they’re at it, quit making the sites so damn fancy and complicated. Quit burying text inside graphics (where the type can’t scale up and down). Make the pages into blogs that are live and written, rather than static and built. It’s cheaper, too.
I say this, by the way, as a fan of the Doors since the band was new. At one time or another I’ve bought every album, both in vinyl and CD form. I’d love it if the band (or whoever constitutes them now) would just give us a nice simple site that’s easy on readers and their browsers.