Want to sing your heart out with socially-distanced friends? It's easy if you learn how to do karaoke on Zoom.
Everyone's using Zoom, one of the best video chat apps, while they're continuing to stay at home during the pandemic. Many of them are using the program for work meetings or personal calls with friends and family, but it's easy enough to adapt Zoom for karaoke purposes.
Zoom is a great way to get a group of people together in a video conference and many people prefer it over various Zoom alternatives since you can see everyone in gallery view (up to 49 participants in one screen). The Brady Bunch-like grid format is perfect for a virtual karaoke session, since you can see singers as well audience members at the same time. Just be sure to remind people to mute when there's loud background noise.
Here's our guide to Zoom karaoke.
How to do Karaoke on Zoom with Watch2Gether: Create rooms
(NOTE: Free Zoom meetings have a time limit of 40 minutes for three or more participants. Check out their upgrade plans and pricing.)
The second thing you need to do is set up a room on Watch2Gether. What is Watch2Gether? It is a free social video website that allows you to watch videos and other content in sync with others. This way, everybody in your karaoke group can watch the same YouTube or Vimeo lyric videos at the same time.
Create a Watch2Gether room and save the link for later.
(NOTE: Watch2Gether rooms are temporary, and get deleted after 24 hours. To save a room, all you need to do is sign up for a free Watch2Gether account.)
How to do Karaoke on Zoom: Invite friends
Send a karaoke party invite to your friends. Ideally, this invite should include instructions on using Zoom and Watch2Gether. Here are the steps I sent to my group:
- Join this Zoom Meeting (so we can see and hear each other): [Zoom meeting link]
- Join this Watch2Gether Room (so we can watch the same karaoke videos at the same time): [Watch2Gether room link]
- At the top of the Watch2Gether room is a search bar. Type in your song title and select one of the results that populate below the playback window. Add it to the queue by clicking the + symbol.
- When your song comes up, sing!
How to do Karaoke on Zoom: Tips and tricks
Having done Zoom karaoke with my own friends, I can offer some tips on how to make the event run a little smoother.
- When you join the Watch2Gether room, make sure to update your name on your icon (the left-most one in the list at the bottom of the screen). The room keeps track of who does what.
- Make sure to turn both your computer's volume and the Watch2Gether playback video's volume all the way up.
- The singer (or the primary singer if it's a group number) should be the only person who has the audio on for the Watch2Gether playback video. Everyone else should mute the video. This helps if playback is slightly off-sync for different people.
- Try searching the song title plus the word "karaoke" to find the best lyric videos (example: "Sweet Caroline karaoke").
- When you are selecting a search result, make sure to click the + sign and not the thumbnail, or your video will immediately play. (Jumping the queue is bad karaoke etiquette.)
- The host should take charge of managing the queue and making sure everyone gets a turn before singing again.
Otherwise, treat Zoom karaoke as you would regular, in-person karaoke. Sing duets and group numbers. Add in sound effects with tambourines, shakers, bongos or other instruments you have around the house. Try themed rounds based on genres ('90s boy bands, country, yacht rock) or titles (songs with names, numbers, colors, etc.).
And sing your heart out.
Other Zoom applications
With more people using Zoom than ever before, we've put together a general how to use Zoom guide, and more specific step-by-step guides on how to set up a Zoom meeting, how to join a Zoom meeting, how to see everyone on Zoom, how to share your screen on Zoom and how to chat on Zoom. And, if you want to mix things up, you can also learn how to change your Zoom background so you look as if you're on a tropical beach or in outer space.