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How Genius Works

Genius

How Genius Works Lyrics

Genius is the ultimate source of music knowledge, created by scholars like you who share facts and insights about the songs and artists they love. How can you get involved?

—> SIGN UP FOR A GENIUS ACCOUNT
You'll get your own profile page and the ability to follow other scholars and artists. Once you have an account, you can start adding knowledge and earning Genius IQ…

IQ is what we call the points you earn by adding knowledge. Every scholar has a total IQ number next to their name that represents how knowledgeable they are. —> More info on IQ

  • Annotate Lyrics: Highlight any line in a song to start an annotation. Explain what a complicated lyric means, or add other interesting context. —> More on annotations
  • Write Artist, Song & Album Bios: Write a few paragraphs that tell the story of an artist's career, or break down the key details of a specific song or album. —> More on bios
  • Annotate Cover Artwork: Click through artwork found on any album page to start a cover art annotation —> More on annotating cover art
  • Add Song Facts: Do you know who produced a song? What sample it uses? Where it was recorded? Add all the interesting data. —> More on song facts
  • Transcribe Lyrics: Any scholar can add a song page. Post new lyrics when a song drops, add old songs we’re missing, or correct lyrics. —> More on transcription
  • Make A Suggestion or Propose An Edit: Could an annotation or bio be improved? Tell us what's missing and it could get integrated. —> More on suggestions & edits
  • Ask or Answer A Question With Q&A: Anyone can ask the Genius community a question. Want to know where a song peaked on the charts? Ask away! Know the answer and want to tell us? Let us (and the world) know. —> More on Q&A

Everything on Genius is collaborative. Here's how we work together and communicate.

  • Annotations & Edits Are Reviewed: Anyone can add knowledge, but editors determine what becomes the official "Genius Annotation." —> More on editorial review
  • Artists Add Knowledge Too: Creators who are "Verified" can write annotations, confirm lyrics, and co-sign good annotations from scholars. —> More on Verified Artists
  • Upvotes & Pyongs: See something good on the site? Your cosign can have a real effect on the best knowledge rising to the top. —> More on upvotes & pyongs
  • Follow People In The Newsfeed: See what other scholars are doing on the site, and get alerts when your favorite artists write annotations. —>More on the newsfeed
  • Editors & Other Advanced Roles: Dedicated scholars who make good contributions can get additional powers and responsibilities. —> More on editors & advanced roles
  • Direct Message Any User: Start a private conversation with anyone on Genius any time. —> More on messages
  • The Forums: The Genius community loves talking about music and the details of our collaborative knowledge project. Get started now! —> More on the forums
  • International Communities: Genius is thriving all around the world in many languages. Connect with scholars in your home country. —> More on International Communities
  • Community Policy: Genius aspires to be a place where everyone feels welcome and safe. We take abuse and harassment seriously. —> Read our full Community Policy

Below is a list of resources developed by the Genius Editorial Board to help educate everyone from budding contributors to seasoned veterans on editorial best practices. If you feel like we're missing something, send @Empath a message.

Guides

Tate Talks™

More on Genius

About “How Genius Works”

This guide explains all the details of our collaborative knowledge project.

It’s intended as a manual for new users, and a reference tool for scholars looking to better understand all aspects of Genius, including our tips on writing good annotations…

The 10 Annotation Commandments:
Follow these rules of thumb to avoid having your annotation rejected by an editor.

  1. Don’t Restate The Lyric: Most lyrics don’t need to be explained—the meaning is obvious. Don’t just paraphrase them using other words! Not all lines need to be annotated.
  2. Write Like A Human: An annotation shouldn’t sound like a robot wrote it. Avoid overly complicated words, but don’t be too casual either.
  3. Watch Grammar & Spelling: Writing like a human doesn’t mean forgetting the basic elements of style. Annotations are important, so don’t undermine them with sloppy writing.
  4. Do Research & Hyperlink Sources: Avoid plagiarism and speculation by searching for original sources and putting the information in your own words. Don’t just cite or copy from Wikipedia. Be sure to link your sources in the annotation.
  5. Highlight All Relevant Lyrics: Don’t just highlight a single word—annotate at least one full line. Sometimes you need two or even four bars to get the full context, but be wary of highlighting more than four lines for an annotation.
  6. Master Formatting: Familiarize yourself with markdown, the basic code used in annotations that allows you to create italics, bold, blockquotes, and all the other formatting flourishes that will make your ’tates a joy to read.
  7. Include Media That Adds Depth: If you add an image, it should really illustrate something specific in the lyric, not just a general idea.
  8. Be Objective: Your annotations shouldn’t be rude or demeaning to the artist, and you shouldn’t write like a corny superfan.
  9. Be Concise: Here’s a good challenge: say what you mean in the fewest words possible. Wordiness ruins good annotations, but don’t go overboard—not providing enough information ruins tates, too. Annotations should have more than 50 characters.
  10. Be Evergreen Avoid time-sensitive phrasing that will quickly become inaccurate (e.g. “two years ago,” “next summer,” “recently,” “upcoming,” etc).

Click here for more on writing annotations.

  • How can you edit a song's lyrics?

    Click the “Edit Lyrics” button at the top of the song page. Your ability to do so may depend on your IQ and certain specific situations.

  • How do I submit lyrics?

    Once you have over 100 IQ, you can click the “Add A Song” link at the top of the page to add lyrics to Genius. Search for the song first to make sure it’s not already on Genius! Learn more about transcription here.

  • How do you change your username and password?

    If you are not a moderator or staff member, you can change your username by scrolling to the upper-right hand corner of the website, clicking your avatar icon and then picking the option which says “View Profile.”

    Once on your profile, under your avatar picture, you will see various options. Press the option which says “Change name, email address or password.” Here you can choose your new username, make sure it is not offensive and complies with the Genius community policy.

  • How do you annotate repeated lyrics or separated lyrics with one annotation?

    When you click on an annotation, the URL will change. Copy the string of numbers at the end (such as 11315517), then click on the “edit lyrics” button and put the text you want to be annotated in square brackets ([]) with the number next to the closing square bracket in normal brackets (()), as shown below:

    Here’s it more zoomed in:

    Note that this can only be done on the same song. An annotation cannot be present over multiple tracks.

  • What is penalty boxing?

    It’s a way to suspend a contributors' activity if he/she has commited an offense on the site. For example, purposely shitposting, baiting, or trolling, taking part in targeted mass downvoting, spamming, or creating alt accounts.
    Please read Genius' Forum Guidelines for more information.

  • How do you add an album cover to an existing album?

    By clicking “Edit Album Info” on an album page, and then clicking “Edit Cover Art.” From there, you can add cover art via URL or from a file on your computer.

    If this feature isn’t available to you, it might be because you need 300 IQ points. In that case, contact an editor or moderator and they will be able to do it for you.

  • What does it mean if your suggestion gets archived?

    An archived suggestion will no longer appear in the comment section, but the data will be available to view in the user’s “All Activity” feed.

    A suggestion may be archived by an editor or moderator for any number of reasons:

    1. If it does not contain information relevant to the annotation in question.

    2. If it mentions something that has already been addressed.

    3. If it contains spam or vulgar language.

  • How do I create an article in Genius? Do I need a certain level of IQ?

    Community pitching and writing articles for Genius is currently limited to editors and moderators. For more on earning those roles, check out the What Is an Editor? and What is a Moderator? guides.

    However, submitting annotations to be featured in Genius articles is open to everyone—you can post them here.

  • Does translating a lyric count as restating it?

    No, “restating the line” is an annotation suggestion feature intended to mark a tate as redundant. Translations are lyric pages for users who speak a language other than English. Here’s a guide.

    Additionally, lines performed in a different language other than English on a primarily-English song are similar. Translations are fine on their own, but try to expand upon it more than just the translation.

  • What are all of the IQ milestones?

    • 100 IQ: Add a song & start a forum thread.
    • 150 IQ: Post in existing forum threads.
    • 300 IQ: Edit unlocked metadata.
    • 600 IQ: Annotate locked songs & correct/edit lyrics of locked songs.
    • 1,000 IQ: Your upvotes will count as double (+4 instead of +2).
    • 3,000 IQ: Edit lyrics on song pages with more than 5,000 pageviews if you transcribed it.

    There is also a weekly shoutout series where scholars who hit 1k, 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k, 25k, 30k, 40k, 50k, 75k, 100k, 125k, 150k, 200k, 250k, and 300k IQ are congratulated, and a list of all users with 50k IQ or more you can try to make!

    You can read about how to gain IQ here, but here’s the main gist of it:

    • Add a song fact: +2
    • Write an annotation: +5
    • Annotation accepted: +10
    • Annotation rejected: -5
    • Annotation upvoted by a contributor: +2
    • Annotation upvoted by a contributor with 1000+ IQ: +4
    • Annotation upvoted by an editor: +6
    • Annotation upvoted by a moderator or staff member: +10
    • Annotation downvoted: -1
    • Write a bio: +5
    • Suggestion upvoted: +1
    • Suggestion downvoted: -1
    • Suggestion integrated: +2
    • Forum post upvoted: +0.5
    • Forum post downvoted: -0.5
  • I can't upload my first profile picture, and I need 100 IQ. What should I do?

    Jump on a laptop and try it – it should work! Besides, IQ isn’t everything and you can make progress by annotating lyrics!

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