Karaoke – How to Play on your Computer, What Software to Use & Other Useful Info

My wife and I enjoy karaoke (she’s the one with the good voice) and we have recently gone “all digital” (no more karaoke CD’s to lug around). I also KJ (karaoke DJ) a few times a year, mostly for friends and other small events.

I’ve been asked by several friends and people that we have over – “We’re trying to play karaoke on our computer but don’t know where to start?”, or “How do you do that?”, or “Where do you get all of the music?”

So this post is dedicated to all of those who are wanting to learn more about playing karaoke on your computer and if you already have Karaoke CD’s- how to convert those to your computer.

To begin with, Karaoke CD’s are typically in a special format that is different than regular music CD’s/ music files. That’s because it has music plus words that play on the screen. So in order to play these special files, you need a program on your computer that understands how to play them.

There are a ton of programs that can play karaoke files out there, however a lot of the ones that I’ve tried are hard to use or just don’t work very well. The program that I use is called “Karma”, which can be found here:
It is very easy to use (even for non-computer literate ones) and it works very well. It is a paid software but I’ve found it was worth it, especially if you karaoke a lot. Some of the cheaper programs or free programs out there that I tested kept crashing, had a bunch of ads all over them, wasn’t reliable or a few just plain didn’t work at all.
To get karaoke files from your existing Karaoke CD’s, you have to have a program that understands how to do this. We use a program called “Power CD+G Burner”, found here:
This program allows you to take existing karaoke CD’s and “rip” them (term for converting them) from CD to a file on your computer.
One note on this– you can choose the “Output Format” in the program. Choose the option with “zip” in the name, as the Karma program can still play the files in this format and it will save you quite a bit of space on your computer.

Connecting your laptop/computer to your stereo
Karaoke wouldn’t be much fun if you relied on your computers speakers to play the music. You can connect your computer to your stereo quite simply, with 1 simple cable. These types of cables are available from all over (Best Buy, Radio Shack, Wal-mart, etc), but here’s an Amazon.com link as online will usually be cheaper than the stores above:

Where Do I Get Karaoke Files (legally)?
Of course, with the above software, you can convert the karaoke CD’s you already have to files that can be played on your computer. Other than converting the files from the CD’s you already have or going and buying more karaoke CD’s somewhere and converting those to your computer, “How do I get karaoke files?” is usually the next question. There are several options but I’ve found you basically have 2 main ways of getting karaoke files:

1) Get them one at a time, or pick and choose which songs you want. Here’s a few well-known websites to purchase karaoke files, and that offer downloads of the right type:
**Chose the file format of “MP3+G” or “Zip” whenever you purchase songs online. This will make sure it’s compatible with the above programs. If you can’t download it in that format, find that song somewhere else. There are several karaoke players that appear “free”, but they use a special format for their songs and you can only play those songs with that certain player. And usually they don’t end up being free in the long run.

2) Karaoke CD or Subscription basis. Some well known services that offer karaoke CD’s available for purchase or CD’s/digital files on a subscription basis are:

Happy Karaoke-ing! 🙂 If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below 😉


  • I actually have a mixer that goes out to powered speakers. The microphones plug into the mixer. And the computer plugs into the mixer as well.


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