Karaoke has come a long way. Formed from the combination of the Japanese words “kara” (empty) and “okesutora” (orchestra), karaoke was known for a long time as a weird pastime for East Asian businessmen trying to blow off steam.
But while that was true in the 70s, things have changed. It seems that everyone these days is a secret Sinatra or a rock star in disguise. Not only that, but it’s also easier than ever to get into the karaoke swing of things.
You no longer have to go to some seedy bar to sing your heart out and make a fool of yourself. Now, you can do that in the comfort of your own home. So, if you want to know how to get karaoke songs for free to impress our friends and loved ones, you’ve come to the right place.
What Are Karaoke Songs?
You can sing along to any song in the world, but that doesn’t make it karaoke. Karaoke tracks are special because they’ve had the vocal track manipulated or completely removed. With the vocals removed, it’s up to you, the karaoke star, to carry the tune.
Other kinds of karaoke tracks…
Other karaoke songs help you out with a synth track that simply plays the tones of the vocal part. This makes it easier for you to hit the right notes and catch the rhythm, and also makes it a bit more bearable to listen to if the singer isn’t great.
The vocal track can also still be there for you to sing along with. Although, on good karaoke machines, this track can be turned up and down, and also the whole key changed to better fit your voice.
But the whole idea of karaoke is that you provide the vocals, living out your dream of being a crooner in the process.
How to Get Karaoke Songs for Free
Since karaoke is more and more popular around the world, it’s easier than ever to find karaoke bars and booths. There are establishments with great karaoke machines all over the place. But if that’s not for you, you’re not alone.
Many people don’t like the public element of getting onstage at a karaoke bar. But believe me, many others do! Others might be looking for a way to practice first so that when they do take the stage, they blow ‘em away.
Still, others are looking for ways to host karaoke parties at home or even to sing some “caraoke” on long road trips. So, where can you find karaoke versions of your favorite songs? I’ve got a bunch of ideas to help you bring out your inner diva.
Karaoke Versions on YouTube
On top of being the biggest video library in the world, YouTube is also the biggest spot for free karaoke tracks. This should come as no surprise to anyone.
If you want to find a karaoke version of your favorite track, just type the song’s name plus the words “karaoke” or “karaoke version” or even “no vocals” into the YouTube search bar. If it exists, you’ll find it.
Many of these versions will be very different from the original track. Of course, the vocals will be gone, but if the music hasn’t also been manipulated, the user posting the track could be in trouble for copyright infringement.
That’s why these karaoke versions are usually changed in several ways. They could be intentionally degraded in quality, changed to different keys, tempos, or completely re-recorded.
Often, you’ll find the only version of your favorite song has been completely re-recorded with really corny MIDI instruments and sounds like elevator music. I guess that’s the price you pay for not paying any price.
Plenty to choose from…
There are channels on YouTube that host many karaoke versions of popular songs. So, you don’t have to keep searching randomly for songs that may or may not have been de-vocalized.
Channels like Party Tyme Karaoke and KaraFun Karaoke have thousands of songs to choose from. You can search through their catalogs, just like leafing through the tracklist binders at your favorite karaoke bar.
- A huge number of karaoke versions of songs.
- Channels help you find songs or come up with the next song to sing.
- Massive variety in track quality.
- Sometimes too many versions of the same song to choose from.
- Due to licensing issues, tracks are constantly taken down or their sound removed by YouTube.
So, while YouTube is a huge bank of songs, they can really vary in quality. You can also waste tons of time looking for songs when you just want to get singing. Therefore, a karaoke app may be your best choice for getting free karaoke songs.
Karaoke apps are surprisingly big business these days on both Android and iOS devices. But, be warned, they’re not all created equal.
Some pay for song licenses and therefore have good quality karaoke tracks to use, but they can cost a lot. Cheaper or free karaoke apps probably either use hacked unlicensed versions or else really cheesy MIDI versions of songs.
So what to do?
You’re in luck because there are still some great apps out there that offer you a free trial period. Or an optional free version you can use if you don’t want to pay.
Apps like WeSing and Starmaker can be found in the Google Play Store. iSing is a popular Apple App Store download. Yokee and Smule are 2 of the biggest karaoke apps out there and can be found for both Apple and Android devices.
Most of these apps give you the option to use them for free, either for a short trial or permanently, but in a limited capacity. I think this is one of the best ways to get karaoke for free. And, if you find you love any of these apps, you can always get the paid version later.
- All your songs in one place – no need to waste lots of time searching.
- Lots of built-in functionality, such as the ability to record the songs.
- Free versions are available.
- Free versions are limited in time or functionality.
- A limited number of tracks compared to YouTube.
If you don’t feel like downloading yet another app to your phone or TV, there is another way to get free karaoke songs. Namely, try out karaoke websites. There are heaps of sites out there that let you stream their karaoke tracks and sing along.
Now, just like karaoke apps, not all websites are created equal. Some are limited in the number of tracks they have. Others use terrible synth versions of songs. But some are great – they stream quickly, are easy to search, and have lots of the latest tracks you need.
Of course, there’s a catch…
Most of these websites are paid services. After all, they have to set up their systems and pay licensing fees as well. But, if you want to start singing right away, you may still be in luck.
Sites like KaraFun, Singa, and Sunfly Karaoke offer limited free trials. Most often, you can get in and try out their services for 14 days commitment-free. And, of course, if you love what you see, you may want to take up a subscription later.
- Streaming services, so nothing to download.
- Most offer short-term free trials.
- Sometimes streaming can be slow with poor connections.
- Free trials run out.
- Limited numbers of songs compared to YouTube.
Make Your Own Karaoke Tracks
I know, I know. You probably think I’m just being like your dad telling you, “If you want the job done right, you gotta do it yourself!” And I know that for most people, this is far too technically demanding to even consider. If that’s true for you, then just ignore this section.
But, if you’re more than a little computer savvy, you may just find that making your own karaoke tracks is worth it. At least for a limited number of songs you really want.
Not as hard as it seems…
Sure, it’s not as easy as just popping onto YouTube. But, if there’s no karaoke version of your favorite song out there, then what are you to do?
- You can create a video for any song you want.
- You create video files that you own and can save.
- Requires some tech skills.
How to Host a Karaoke Party at Home
Now that you know where to get the tracks you need to sing along with, it’s time to think about some other aspects of a home karaoke party. While things work out pretty smoothly in a karaoke bar, here’s how to make a home karaoke party a success instead of a flop.
Audio and Sound System
You have tracks, but you also need a system to get the party rocking. This will have to include three things: a stereo system or at least speakers, a screen for the lyrics, and of course, a microphone or two.
If you’re using a website, an app, or just YouTube, a smart TV is probably the easiest option for most karaoke party hosts. You can hook up some more powerful speakers, and also use a Line In to connect your microphones.
The ease of Bluetooth…
Wireless Bluetooth mics like these have become cheap and can be connected to just about any device these days.
You can also use a computer with speakers attached, though it might be harder to connect a mic. And in a pinch, you can even run a karaoke party off your phone with some clever Bluetooth connections.
In a karaoke bar or room, there’s a certain etiquette, and the system is controlled by a karaoke machine. You put your song into the queue and wait until it comes up. It’s definitely a faux pas to cut off someone else’s song to get to yours.
But at home, it can be harder to control things. Personalities can swell with a mic in hand, and some people don’t ever want to let it go. At the same time, some people never want to get up and get involved.
Best to make a system. Let everyone know how to request a song, and even consider using a paper to record who’s next. You can also place limits on how many songs in a row a singer can perform, as well as an “Everyone Must Sing” rule.
Want to Get Your Karaoke Party Started?
We have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Karaoke Speakers, the Best Karaoke Machines, the Best Karaoke Microphones, the Best Karaoke Microphones for iPhones and Smartphones, the Best Party Speakers, and the Best Tailgate Speakers you can buy in 2022.
And don’t miss our handy articles on How to Do Karaoke on Xbox, the Best Karaoke Apps For Smart TV, the Top Karaoke Songs That Anyone Can Sing, the Best Duet Karaoke Songs, and the Best Karaoke Songs for Alto Females for more great information about karaoke.
That’s How to Get Karaoke Songs for Free
I hope this has given you some great ideas for where to get the tracks for your next karaoke party. There are tons of free options out there. But, like most everything free, it can take a little more time to sort out.
Once your songs are ready, and your system is in place, it’s time to party. Just make sure those mics are charged up and you have extra batteries – things may just go all night!
Until next time, let yourself be heard.