License to sing! The legalities of streaming, downloading and sharing karaoke songs
We are often asked “why isn’t <song title> in your karaoke library” or “why don’t you have songs by <artist name>”? Sometimes the answer is because the karaoke version doesn’t exist yet, but most of the time, the answer is because we do not have the license (or right) to offer the karaoke version for use online or for download. Here is a brief overview of the legalities of offering and using karaoke songs.
Every karaoke song is licensed for a certain use. This means that while a song might be licensed for our online service, it may not be licensed for download. Or it might be licensed for public use (in a bar) but not be available for online or for download. Some artists and song writers refuse to license any of their songs for karaoke use, others allow only specific songs. Additionally, even if the song is available online, there may be a restriction in the license that does not allow video recordings to be made of the song so you may be able to record a vocal version of it, but not a webcam version of it.
Every karaoke license is for a specified territory. This means that when you are connected to the online service from the United States you will have a different song selection than someone who is connected to the service from Canada or Europe. The same is true for the Download Store, the songs that are available for purchase in the Download Store are different for each country.
Every license has an expiration date. Unfortunately licensing contracts do not last forever and have to be renegotiated from time to time. While every effort is made to renew the license for existing karaoke songs, it is not always possible, so it may happen that songs that were previously available online or for download are no longer available.
If the karaoke song is available and you record it online or download it to your computer, the next question is what can you do with it after that? For recordings that you share online, they will be available for you to share with others online for as long as the license is active. Of course the friends that you share them with must reside in a country where that song is licensed. When you download a karaoke song, you are paying for the right to use it for personal uses only. The karaoke songs that you purchase on The KARAOKE Channel Download Store are not licensed for public performance.
For every karaoke song played online or purchased for download, a payment is made to the songwriters and the publisher.
Karaoke versions are owned by the production company that produced them. When you join an online community or download karaoke songs, the license that you are buying is the license to sing along to the song.
Just as piracy exists for the music industry, it occurs with karaoke as well. Many sites offer karaoke versions that are not legally licensed.
Why does it matter?
No one likes to work for free and no one should. Piracy costs the industry money and ultimately hurts the recording artists and song writers who will not receive royalties for their work. Know that when you subscribe or download legal karaoke tracks, you are helping to support the musicians, singers and songwriters who work hard to provide you with your favorite music.
Why not sing a legal karaoke song today
Head on over to The KARAOKE Channel ONLINE and sing a song!