Karaoke is one of those things that can bring joy even on the bleakest of days. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t exactly American Idol material, karaoke does not discriminate. I sing only slightly better than Kermit, so I don’t venture out of my pond to attack the eardrums of unsuspecting passersby, I just draw on my resourcefulness to be able to sing in privacy. I know, it’s sad, but I don’t think I will ever have the courage to go screech in a karaoke bar, so closet karaoke singing works for me.
Internet should be a religion, it is my path to salvation. Without its comforting presence around me, I’d be burning in eternal hellfire. Among other things, it has allowed me to indulge in my karaoke dreams even when the nearest karaoke bar is 90 minutes by air.
Karaoke tracks are essentially .midi files, so the search results contain links to different websites that host midi files of the song that you searched for. Try and locate the ones with lyrics because a file with lyrics will open up beautifully in the vanBasco player like this.
Just as any self-respecting karaoke player is wont to, it also highlights the portion that you are supposed to be singing at that moment. If your musical timing leaves something to be desired, this is a great way to stay on track. If you are able to find only blank tracks with no lyrics, you may have to resort to lyrics websites to get the song lyrics.
Couple of links to other karaoke software:
I haven’t tried either of the above because there is a cost element attached to them, and also because I am quite happy with vanBasco.
The one complaint that I have with vanBasco is that it does not allow for recording. But you can work around this easily, as I did, by using a free recording software called Audacity. It can record hours of audio and for the technically inclined, they also provide many editing options, where you can overlay tracks and such. Perhaps there are better professional recording software which I don’t know about, but for a basic recording function, there is nothing like Audacity.
Something else that you can do with Audacity: persuade your deep-voiced significant other to read out and record poetry or even books that you enjoy. You can convert these into mp3s and carry them in your iPod. Now I find listening to audio books very pleasurable, poetry even better. But not many are so inclined, as I have learnt from experience. I once let my colleagues take a peek at my iPod playlist and they looked at me rather queer, so I never broached the subject again. Reading poetry is bad enough, but listening to it on an iPod? Aiyooooo.
But let’s stay on topic.
It was by chance that I discovered SingSnap. The moment I got into the website I knew this was the one for me. SingSnap has a growing, vibrant community of karaoke fans and they are all surprisingly good people. It is very rarely that you come across an online community where there is no flaming, trolling or other annoyances. SingSnap is a karaoke fan’s paradise, and most of the members are such god-awful singers, I fit right in. They are also very encouraging, always lavish with praises.
The interface is easy to use and they have a huge song library. Out of all the songs that I have searched for, only one was not available with them – Animal Instinct by Cranberries. They have a paid membership option which will allow you to vary the tempo, pitch and even let you mix the final recording so that you sound (slightly) better. It is one of the pricier karaoke sites, but I say it’s worth it. I have also tested a couple of other sites, Karaokeplay being one of them, but SingSnap is the one I prefer. Besides, I also have a paid membership with them which will expire this month, so maybe after that I could possibly try out some other new sites. But since I do not fancy singing to Lady Gaga’s tracks, it is very likely that I will stay with SingSnap. Mashable has a great post where they have reviewed 5 karaoke sites, so you may want to check that out.
SingSnap also lets you perform duets. It’s great. No reason to complain.
There isn’t an option to download the recorded songs, though they store them all online. If you fancy downloading yours, just use Freecorder. Once you install this clever little thing, it grabs all the audio and video files that open in your browser and you can save the ones you want. And yes, it’s great to download YouTube videos too.
Music can cure many ills. Go sing! Please.