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.

Copyright dictionary entry

Copyright dictionary entry

Availability

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.

Territory

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.

Time

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.

Use

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.

Royalties

For every karaoke song played online or purchased for download, a payment is made to the songwriters and the publisher.

Ownership

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.

Piracy - copying onto CDs

Music - Piracy

Piracy

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!


24 Comments

Posted by ryan plummer 26. March 2010 at 7:27 pm :

i will checkk out your site the next time im looking t buy a karaoke song. for now,look, i bought the justin timberlake version of “hallelujah”,changed the lyrics and sang it at my church. now i would like to put a video recording of me singing that song on our churc h web site. all this confuses me so,can i or cant i legally do this??????????im in florida,usa

Posted by Teresa 29. March 2010 at 3:11 pm :

Hi Ryan,

You will need to check the terms and conditions that apply to the song that you purchased – the website where you purchased the song should have terms and conditions on it and the terms should specify if you can use the song for public use or only for private personal use, as well as what you can do with any recording you might make of yourself singing that song. It would be best to contact the vendor of the song to know what you can legally do with it.

Posted by OB 1. May 2011 at 9:19 am :

So can the Karaoke Channel.com be used for streaming karoake in a bar or restaurant? Or does that violoate copyrigh infrigements?

Posted by Teresa 4. May 2011 at 1:11 pm :

Hello OB. Thank you for the question.
According to the Terms and Conditions, The KARAOKE Channel ONLINE can only be used for personal, non-commercial use.

Posted by dale 6. June 2011 at 6:56 pm :

Can we download karaoke song on our computer?

Posted by dale 6. June 2011 at 6:59 pm :

We have a collection of karaoke song we like to sing on our computer. Can we download them to our I Pad to use with Karaoke Channel

Posted by Teresa 16. June 2011 at 10:17 am :

Hi Dale,

The KARAOKE Channel Mobile App (iOS) uses streaming over a network connection (3G or Wi-Fi) to play karaoke videos on Iphones, iPod touches and iPads. There is no option in The KARAOKE Channel Mobile App to play songs downloaded to your computer. That said, if you purchase MP4s from The KARAOKE Channel Download Store, you can transfer these to your iPad and play them back using the iPod App on your iPad.

Hope this helps!

Posted by Andrew 12. July 2011 at 9:17 pm :

I’m still confused about this. If I download a song and burn it to a CD, can I play that song (and sing it) at a local karaoke bar? Since I purchased the song legally, everything should be fine, right?

Posted by Teresa 15. July 2011 at 10:23 am :

Hi Andrew, When you sing songs in a bar, one of the licenses required for songs is a public performance license and this is not part of the license you receive when you purchase and download a song from The KARAOKE Channel Download Store (the download songs are licensed for personal, non-commerial use only – not public performance). Hope this helps!

Posted by Paradigm 2. August 2011 at 3:01 am :

Hi Teresa,
i have noticed your tracks available from the PCDJ Venue site and they state that they are ok for commercial use. is this true? i understand that there are different licenses, and you said that TKC has not paid PRS fees, so if PCDJ paya the PRS fees, would that cover the requirements for public performance?
Thank you for discussing this.

Posted by Teresa 2. August 2011 at 2:40 pm :

Hi Paradigm, I’m not sure – it appears that they may have a commercial product being a bundle of karaoke tracks (under the brand Sound Choice) , but it’s not clear on their site what the license is for the individual tracks that are listed under karaoke (where you see The KARAOKE Channel files) – let me see if I can find out.

Posted by Paradigm 2. August 2011 at 5:05 pm :

Thank you Teresa. on their forum PCDJ state that they can be used commercially, but with the tension over legal vs. illegal and the suits, many on the KJ forums are split as far as what permissions The Karaoke Channel has given PCDJ as far as use. Many will not accept PCDJ’s stance as they do not hold rights to the tracks so i figured i would ask The Karaoke Channel first hand. here is the only information i have
http://message.pcdj.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=17415
thank you for looking into this, we are all hoping for a yes answer.

Posted by Paradigm 19. August 2011 at 7:51 pm :

any answer yet?

Posted by Dean 4. January 2012 at 10:34 am :

Can you host a free karaoke party, in a bar or restaraunt, if the establishment has the proper public performance licenses?

Posted by Paradigm 6. March 2012 at 5:39 am :

Karaoke Locker through Digital One is still selling Karaoke Channel tracks and stating that they are for use in the U.S. by pro KJ’s. is this true?

Posted by Ben 24. April 2012 at 4:34 am :

Hi Teresa, specifically what type of copyright licences has your company obtained to operate this website? I’m currently learning the intricacies of music copyrights and found that karaoke is the most confusing area to understand! Appreciate any of your insight.

Posted by Nachiket 18. May 2012 at 10:14 am :

Hi,
I want to start my own Karaoke website using my own recorded music. Do I still need license to broadcast?
Thanks.

Posted by J 13. February 2013 at 5:53 pm :

I’ve made a few recordings from downloaded Karaoke tracks. I’ve posted them to my blog, where I only send friends/family/coworkers etc … Does that break the rules about public performances?

Posted by Arlene Kelly 25. October 2013 at 2:00 pm :

what does it mean when I sing a song on the karaoke Channel and a box appears stating changing privacy my site on the karaoke Channel which i am a member is not private so where is it going it has happened to me afew times can someone answer this for me Thanks and have a great day, love this Channel by the way.

Posted by Joseph Sala 25. November 2013 at 4:18 pm :

When buying a karaoke company, how do you transfer licensed music or what is needed?

Thanks, Joe

Posted by Teresa 30. December 2013 at 4:50 pm :

Hi Joe, it would be best to consult with a lawyer to know everything you need to do when purchasing a company.

Posted by Teresa 30. December 2013 at 5:01 pm :

Hi Arlene,

We suspect that the song(s) you may be referring to may have been revoked – meaning that at one point we had a license for the song, but the publisher revoked the license. This happens from time to time.

if it continues to happen, the best thing would be to send a detailed email to support @ thekaraokechannel.com with the song/recording titles as well as a screenshot of the problem.

thanks

Teresa

Posted by arlene 12. January 2014 at 9:27 pm :

I am unable to record I have tried everything I know is something wrong with the site

Posted by Teresa 28. January 2014 at 12:59 pm :

Hi Arlene,

Thank you for your comment. The technical issue that prevented recording has been resolved. We hope that you are enjoying singing karaoke at The KARAOKE Channel ONLINE. If you require assistance, it would be best to send an email to support @ thekaraokechannel.com. Thanks!

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