A Usenet group devoted to swapping karaoke versions of popular songs is unusually popular, with 7500+ songs posted in the last month alone. I don’t know where the original files are coming from, but the diversity and timeliness of available files in alt.binaries.sounds.karaoke is staggering. The standards are all represented (“Celebration,” “I Will Survive,” and “Mandy”), along with brand new songs spanning the genres of alt-rock, country, and pop. The MP3s are bundled into ZIP files along with mysterious .CDG files, so I did a little research.
Apparently, karaoke CDs are distributed in a format called CD+G, which stores images and lyrics information along with the uncompressed audio. Clever karaoke fans developed software to rip and compress these discs into a format they call MP3+G. It looks like the .CDG file is all of the goofy images, lyrics, and metadata that is normally displayed by specialized karaoke players.
Some of the more oddball gems were karaoke versions of King Missile’s “Detachable Penis,” Nirvana’s “You Know You’re Right,” Electric 6’s “High Voltage,” Liz Phair’s “Fuck and Run,” PJ Harvey’s “One Line,” and the Dead Kennedys’ “Too Drunk To Fuck.” Is there really much overlap between karaoke and Dead Kennedys fans?
Anyway, enjoy singing along to these karaoke renditions of The Strokes’ “Last Nite,” Andrew WK’s “Party Hard,” and the White Stripes’ “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.”