Much like your opinion of Jack Johnson, karaoke has the ability to make or break friends. However, there’s no denying karaoke amps up the party like no other, providing an instant means of entertainment that can be just as riveting to watch as it is uncomfortable. At the same time, dealing with the crowds at karaoke bars can be overwhelming and demanding, allowing only enough time to perform one rendition of Nelly’s “Hot in Here” before you’re forced to close out your tab. Thankfully, there are other ways to get your sing on without straining your precious vocal chords, waiting in line, or having to pay an unwelcome cover charge.
A quick way to start a spontaneous sing off is to download karaoke songs. We have complied a list of a few ways to easily download, say, Kelly Clarkson’s repertoire. Some are free while others are not, but all will provide you with a library of wonderful tracks to both dazzle and annoy your friends.
YouTube — Free
YouTube has more videos than you could watch in a lifetime, so finding a karaoke version of your favorite song is extremely easy. Downloading YouTube videos treads on a tricky legal area. If you download them so you and your friends can have a great Friday night, you shouldn’t have any problems. Just know that it is technically against YouTube’s terms of service, so if you have any qualms about this, skip to the other choices on the list. Here’s how to use YouTube to find the white whale of songs you’ve been waiting to sing.
Step 1: Choose the appropriate software — Downloading YouTube videos is easier said than done, and for most videos, the process requires third-party software. There’s a notable bevy of quality offerings — outlined in our guide on how to download YouTube videos — most of which allows you to download your desired lyric video in a variety of file formats playable on all major electronic devices. For the sake of brevity, we’ll use Clip Converter for the basis of our guide. The Web-based software is free, quick, and simple without requiring you to download any additional software.
Step 2: Locate the song you want to sing — Navigate to YouTube as you would normally and locate the song you wish to sing using the built-in search bar at the top of the page. In most instances, you can simply enter the song, artist, and the words “lyrics” or “karaoke” to view available videos containing both audio and lyrics. Alternatively, locate the song via your viewing history, favorite videos, channels, or through other avenues. Copy the accompanying URL to your clipboard when found.
Step 3: Convert the video — Navigate to the main Clip Converter website, paste the URL for your desired video in the entry field at the top, and click the dark-gray Continue button. Afterward, name the file and select the resulting video quality from the host of available options. We recommend selecting the option for the highest quality available, located directly beneath the inserted URL, along with MP4 as the conversion format. Once selected, click the dark-gray Start button in the bottom-left corner to begin the conversion. There’s no need tweak other default settings for the resulting video.
Note: Although AVI and MP4 files are both compatible with Windows and Mac OS X, the latter file format allows for a smaller file size while maintaining comparable quality to that of an AVI.
Step 4: Download the video — Once the download finishes, click the dark-gray Download button on the resulting page to name and save the video file. Afterward, watch the video in the media player of your choice.
KaraFun — $10 a month/$6 for 48 hours
Quality software often comes at a cost. That said, KaraFun is a robust piece of software catered toward the die-hard, karaoke aficionado. The service hires session musicians to record all the songs, allowing users to customize the pitch and tempo of songs to match their desires or individual singing capabilities. A monthly subscription will grant you access to the service’s 17,000 songs and run you $10, but KaraFun does also offer a cheaper Party Pass for $6 that allows access to the full catalog for merely 48 hours. Moreover, you can use the service on nearly any device, whether it be a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Step 1: Download and create a KaraFun account — Navigate to the main KaraFun website, click the green Download button located in the middle of the page, and select a save location for the resulting file. Afterward, launch and run the installation wizard prior to relaunching the program. Click the green Sign Up button while viewing the main interface once launched, and enter the necessary credentials to create a KaraFun account.
Step 2: Sign up for KaraFun — Once logged in, click the green Subscribe button on the right side of the window and select your desired subscription plan from the list of available options on the resulting page. Next, enter the requested payment information and click the green Confirm my purchase button below the entry fields.
Step 3: Locate the song you want to sing — Once you’ve opted for a subscription, you’ll have complete access to KaraFun’s online database. Use the navigational bar located on the right side of the window to filter songs based on various genres and other components, or use the search bar directly above the feed to locate a specific song. Then, simply double-click the song to view the accompanying lyric video at the top of the software’s interface, using the key and tempo controls in the top-right corner to fine tune your selection. Alternatively, click and drag your desired song to a new playlist or folder for offline use.
Red Karaoke — Free/$2 a week/$5 a month
Although most software opts for quality over quantity, Red Karaoke believes in a different philosophy. The service is far more concerned with offering a vast database of popular songs than it is offering high-quality audio, delivering a sizable database that has the tendancy to leave users fumbling for quality options. However, the service is still more than commendable despite its occasional lackluster quality. If you can’t think of a song to sing, Red Karaoke can recommend random songs based on your age and relative voice range. Plus, the service allows you to record and upload audio and video of your performance to the Web for all the world to see. Furthermore, you adjust various vocal components akin to KaraFun— tempo, key, etc. — and even join other users in live, video-enabled duets. The selection of free songs might be fairly minimal, but fortunately, the offerings change weekly.
Step 1: Create a Red Karaoke account — Navigate to the main Red Karaoke website, enter your desired username and login credentials on the right-hand side of the page, and click the gray Sign up button located directly beneath the entry fields. Afterward, verify the information and complete the CAPTCHA test, and click the red sign up button on the following page. Alternatively, log in using your Facebook account.
Step 2: Choose a subscription — Once logged in, select one of the three subscription packages and enter the requested payment information on the following pages. Although opting for one of the premium offerings will grant you unlimited access to more than 45,000 karaoke songs, there is a selection of freemium songs accessible without signing up for the service.
Step 3: Locate the song you want to sing — Regardless of which subscription model you choose, use the dark-red search bar at the top of the page or browse the drop-down categories with the songbook to locate the song you wish to karaoke. The latter method conveniently breaks songs down by artist, language, decade, and other filter options (including free songs). Click the song’s album icon once found, followed by the red sing the karaoke button on the resulting page, and allow the service to access your microphone when prompted.
Karaoke Version ($1.99 to 2.99/song)
Everyone likes options, especially when it comes to file formats. That being the case, the formidable Karaoke Version allows users to download instrumental stems and full songs in CDG, MP4, WMV, and KFN file formats. The bulk of the site’s tracks are far pricier than other offerings on our list, with custom-created tracks being the most expensive, but they also allow a level of control not offered elsewhere. Every song includes options for solo and backup vocals, along with an entire cover rendition with a lead vocal. Furthermore, users can download instrumental stems if they prefer to listen to an isolated take of the bassline, guitar solo, or other musical facet. The service also boasts a limited selection of free, traditional songs within its repertoire — just make sure to opt for the audio and the lyrics before adding a song to your cart.
Step 1: Create a Karaoke Version account — Navigate to the main Karaoke Version website, click the gray Create your free account link in the top-right corner of the page, and enter your desired login credentials on the resulting page before clicking the gray Create account button at the bottom. Karaoke Version will automatically sign you in once your account has been created, or if desired, simply log in using your Facebook account.
Step 2: Locate the song you want to sing — Use the built-in search bar at the top of the page or peruse the various homepage charts to locate the song you wish to karaoke. Once found, click the track to bring up a diverse list of available download options for the selected song.
Step 3: Choose your download option — Although the exact audio offerings will slightly differ from song to song, Karaoke Version typically presents three resounding options in the form of two instrumentals and a cover version. Other options are limited, but you can always adjust and preview the song’s key using the arrow buttons beside the download link. Click the blue Download with karaoke lyrics link below the download options when satisfied with your adjustments.
Step 4: Download the lyrics video — After previewing the resulting lyrics video, click the gray tab corresponding to your desired video format and select either of the blue download links housed beneath the tab. Rest assured, the only difference between the two is the video background. Name and save the resulting file prior to watching the video in the media player of your choice.
Digital Trends’ staff writer Brandon Widder contributed to this article.
What do you think of our exhaustive guide on how to download karaoke songs? Know of an alternative method? Let us know in the comments below.