How to Copy Karaoke Songs to a USB Drive

Move your favorite sing-a-long tunes to your computer

What to Know

  • Karaoke CDs and songs include an audio file and a graphics file, and both need to be in the folder and named correctly to work.
  • Building a file structure according to the machine’s instructions will assist in making songs searchable and playable.
  • You can play karaoke CDs on a computer with karaoke software, which requires no ripping or burning.

Karaoke is a lot of fun, but it’s better when you have the songs you love. This article will look at how to keep karaoke songs on USB and burn new karaoke CDs.

This is only for personal use (not to be sold or given away). The RIAA explains what piracy is and how to avoid it.

How Do I Transfer My Karaoke CDs to a USB Drive?

For a karaoke CD to work correctly, it needs three things: A graphics file; generally, a video file such as .avi or a format called .cdg; an audio file, such as MP3; and a way to understand that these two things belong together, called a "file structure." Building the file structure is the most important part of USB playback. The video and audio need to have the same name on your data source.

  1. Check your karaoke machine's manual to ensure it has a USB port used to read data.

    Some karaoke machines, such as Singing Machine, will only accept songs on a USB drive downloaded from their store.

  2. In your karaoke machine’s manual, check for instructions on creating the file structure. Write down precisely how it wants each file to be named. For example, if the karaoke machine operates by entering in a number, you will want to name both the music file and the graphics file after that number.

    Use a spreadsheet program to write down relevant information, like singer, title, and song number. It will create a “directory” you can use to track songs and make them easier to find when singing.

    Open your file manager by pressing Windows + E in Windows or Command-N to open the Finder on Mac. Select and open your USB drive from the column on the left.

    Back up and delete any files you might find on the drive if you've used it before. It will help the karaoke machine find your songs faster.

  3. Insert your karaoke CD into your CD drive. Open Windows Explorer and choose This PC. You'll see all your available drives, including your USB stick.

  4. Right-click CD/DVD Drive and select Open in new window. Double-click your USB drive to open it in a separate window.

    Open in a new menu in USB drive context menu on Windows
  5. Click in the CD drive window and select all the files you want to export. Drag them to the USB stick's window.

    Files being dragged and dropped onto a USB stick in Windows
  6. Plug the USB drive into your karaoke machine and try out a few songs to make sure they load correctly.

How Do I Burn a Karaoke CD?

Burning a karaoke CD will require a few more tools than making a standard CD. Karaoke CDs use a format called CD+G or CDG, short for "Compact Disc + Graphics." This format includes the music to sing along with and the scrolling lyrics. You’ll need to transfer both the music and the graphics file for the song to play correctly.

Popular programs for burning CD+G discs include Karaoke Builder Studio and Power Karaoke.

  1. Check if your CD burner is compatible with the CDG format. You can generally find this in the documentation for the drive, which should be available online.

    Some software may offer to burn a VCD or DVD for you instead. Make sure your karaoke machine is compatible with these formats.

  2. Create a file folder for each song you want to burn with each song's graphics data and music in the same folder.

    Karaoke Songs in a folder on the Windows C drive
  3. Name them according to the karaoke machine's file format, such as 00001.cdg and 00001.mp3.

    Example of karaoke file structure
  4. Add each file to your burning software, checking each file name as needed. Then select Burn and test your CD once complete.

    Burn in Karaoke burner software

Can My Karaoke Machine Play Songs From a USB Drive?

As far as a karaoke machine is concerned, there’s no practical difference between a CD and a USB drive. As long as you have the files it needs, it’ll playback your song. However, it’s how you organize those files that make a difference.

A file structure is the layout of the files on a drive or CD, similar to what you see in Windows Explorer. Karaoke machines use this structure and the file's name to find and play the song you want. Paying close attention to the file structure will make your songs easier to find.

How Can I Download Karaoke Songs to My Laptop?

Downloading karaoke is just like downloading music. Buy what you're interested in, download it, and place the files where your karaoke software can access them. Usually, your karaoke software will create a folder in your computer clearly labeled so you can drag and drop files into that folder.

To transfer karaoke CDs to your hard drive, open the disc on your computer and drag the files from it into any folder. You don't need a special reader to open and transfer data from karaoke CDs.

How Can I Play Karaoke CDs on My Computer?

Any CD drive will play back a karaoke CD, although you may need to use karaoke software such as Siglos to get the lyrics. You can also find uploads of karaoke CDs on YouTube.

  • How do I make a karaoke CD with lyrics?

    To display lyrics karaoke-style, download an LRC file for the song using an app or plug-in. LRC is a format that contains the lyrics and timing information to correctly synchronize the words with the music.

  • How do I make a copy of a karaoke disk?

    You can copy a karaoke disk the same way you copy a music CD on your computer. Just make sure all the files are included in the correct folders, and it should work just like the original.

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