Create your own karaoke setup with every single song you love!
The golden age of home Karaoke parties
Music games are my favorite when it comes to hosting a party. “Singstar”, “Guitar Hero”, and “Rock Band” ruled my new year’s parties in the last few years. So you are ready to rock if you have a games console with some (or all) of these party crackers. It was fun in the past few years and still makes a great party today.
The music stores for these games are long gone. They closed a few years ago. So you are stuck with the music selection you find in the original games CDs and what you bought and downloaded at the time.
The latest “Guitar hero” and Rock band” releases add to the singing karaoke experience by providing oddly rewarding playing plastic instruments. Drums are by a long shot the most impressive and realistic to play; the guitars and bass, while a lot of fun, are as unrealistic as you can get. Unfortunately, you will have a hard time finding any of these instruments for sale these days.
The alternative approach
If you do not have a game console or have a poor selection of tracks, there is a do-it-yourself approach with Ultrastar on a (Windows, Mac, or Linux) computer. It is free and open source, and it is called “Ultrastar Deluxe”: https://usdx.eu/
There is no official store; it comes with no licensed music. So you have to either prepare each track yourself or download it from the Internet.
The first approach is a lot of hard work but immensely rewarding since you end up with every music track you love and want to sing. Each track needs:
- a lyrics file and timing for each vowel (required)
- the mp3 with the song or midi track (required)
- an image with the album, artist photograph or single cover (optional)
- an optional video file (optional)
All the hard work goes into the first item on the list. You can buy or rip from music CDs, get videos from your favorite supplier, and the image should be easy to acquire. There are excellent guides on the Internet like https://littlecapecod.blogspot.com/2018/06/creating-ultrastar-deluxe-song-part-i.html
Building your library for “Ultrastar Deluxe” is extremely rewarding. It’s the IKEA effect in action. You get a higher emotional connection to things you build yourself, and you end up with a karaoke machine with your all favorite songs and artists.
Downloading music has the instant gratification factor, but you only get the music tracks that you can find. The legality of this approach may seem questionable, but if you own that music and the video (both are likely for sale at iTunes for every track), it sure is legal to use the music tracks you previously bought. A good starting point would probably be the https://ultrastar-es.org/en website.
Singing safely at a party in the middle of a pandemic
Everyone should be vaccinated/boosted and tested to attend. In addition, you should avoid indoor spaces with poor air circulation. Outdoor areas are preferable for these activities. Outdoor heaters are a great option on cold days; people have the freedom to dance and can sing their hearts out in relative safety.
Have fun. Be careful. Properly evaluate risk and keep your sanity.