If you're a music lover, chances are you have Googled lyrics to help you memorize the words to your favorite songs. And when you can't figure out what rappers are referring to when it comes to the creative things they say, the lyric and annotation site Genius is there to help you figure what the heck they mean.
And now the startup, formally known as Rap Genius, may be getting better at cracking and critiquing these hip-hop lyrical codes after hiring a top music critic.
Sasha Frere-Jones, the pop music critic who spent the past decade at The New Yorker quit his job to join Genius as executive editor.
Frere-Jones will be building a team, part of Genius' plan to continue to expand its business. His role will include "going on the site and sort of writing some exemplary posts, or saying here's how you might think about annotating, or encouraging other posters."
Rap Genius was founded in 2009 by three Yale grads. The site started off as an outlet that critiqued "rap as poetry" by analyzing lyrics of hip-hop.
The site earned $15 million in funding in the fall of 2012, with a little help from the Silicon Valley firms Andreeson/Horowitz. Since then, the site has received about $55 million in funding, and most noticeably has dropped "Rap" from its name. The site also annotates lines from Shakespeare, the Bible and more.
But was leaving a major magazine a smart move for Frere-Jones? It seems silly that a respected music critic at one of the top magazines would quit to join forces with a lyric site. But the move just may be a smart one as investors as more interested in investing in tech. The expansion allows tech to combine with media, and further opens up more jobs for journalists beyond writing and editing positions.
And jobs for journalists continue to dwindle. Conde Nast, owner of The New Yorker, laid off 10 percent of its employees in 2014.
Genius also scooped up another journalist, Christopher Glazek, who also wrote for The New Yorker. His job will be political and culture annotations.
Genius has 40 million unique visitors each month, but it is not known how much money the site makes.
[Photo Credit: Genius]