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Free karaoke software: EvilLyrics

January 1, 2004

in All Articles,Audio

A while ago I had the lucky experience of going to Japan as a bright-eyed foreign exchange student. One of my favorite parts? Karaoke. It’s not the same in the USA. Here, a standard karaoke night involves a smoky bar, dozens of strangers, and one too many drinks with names like “Bahama Mama”.

If you’re not into that scene, but would still like to sing karaoke, go to Japan. You’ll rent out a private room with a small group, just close buddies who don’t mind your bad singing. Compared to the USA, it’s karaoke for the introverted.

Or save your money on transnational plane tickets, while still living your dreams of becoming Celine Dion or Bon Jovi: Turn your PC into a karaoke machine with free karaoke software.

You’ll need a computer with speakers. Grab your music collection, whether it’s CDs, an iTunes account, or MP3s.

There are many free software packages available to display music lyrics karaoke-style on your computer. Among the best is EvilLyrics. Download at

First, get the software by clicking the “Download” link from the EvilLyrics website. Before you install, click and read the info at the “Players” link. This section tells you how to set up EvilLyrics for your specific music player. The software supports popular players like iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, RealPlayer, and many others.

When everything’s configured, start your music player, then start EvilLyrics. Play a song, and EvilLyrics will automatically detect the song title and download lyrics automatically. Presto – full song lyrics on demand.

If you want to get fancy, EvilLyrics has a scrolling “karaoke bar”. This scrolls to display the current line of whatever lyric you’re singing.

Plan on some prep time. You can’t install EvilLyrics and have an instant party. Before inviting friends, make sure EvilLyrics knows what lyrics go with what song. If you’ll be using the scrolling karaoke bar, you need to download a free timing script for each song – this tells the karaoke bar when to scroll and when to pause, so you’ll sing the words in time with the music.

If lyrics or a scrolling karaoke bar isn’t available for a particular song, you can make your own and share the results with other EvilLyrics users. In this way, the database of lyrics and karaoke-enabled songs continues to grow.

I was very impressed with the way EvilLyrics worked on Windows Media Player and iTunes. The majority of songs I tested were detected and the correct lyrics were displayed without tweaking from me. It was easy to sing along, from Duran Duran to Gloria Gaynor. (Is a karaoke party even possible without “I will survive”?)

For a cool effect, turn on “visualizations” on your media player: Create trippy images that pulse and spin to the sound of the music. In EvilLyrics, right-click on the lyrics or karaoke bar and choose “always on top”. You’ll have a great karaoke setup – full song lyrics and snazzy background images for your audience.

Bahama Mamas are optional.

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