Almost all singers get to a point where they want to record a song. It may be so they hear it for themselves or to share it with friends. However, the process can often get stalled if singers don’t play another instrument or have a way of creating a track for themselves.
A backing track is the music that a singer sings along to. If you play guitar or piano you could just record yourself playing those instruments.
But those that don’t play other instruments or want inspiration, there are plenty of resources.
If you’re doing a cover song, search for “Karaoke Tracks”. There are many popular websites and services for karaoke tracks. Look for a service that permits “downloads”, as you’ll need to be able to load the track into your DAW. A popular service is Karaoke Version.
If your subscription account permits, you can also download karaoke tracks from Apple Music or Spotify.
A lot of the music you hear in commercials such as YouTube videos or corporate videos is called royalty free music. This doesn’t mean the music is free. It means you pay a single fee for use vs. a royalty each time it’s listened to.
You’re not going to find popular cover songs from known artists on royalty free websites. But a lot of the songs don’t have vocals, so you can make up any vocal or lyrics you want. The tracks that do have vocals can often be downloaded without the vocal, similar to a karaoke track.
Using royalty free music is great if you have some lyric ideas and don’t mind conforming them to a previously produced track.
Search for “Royalty Free Music” and you’ll come across providers like Premium Beat and Free Music Archive.
In many cities, and globally, there are companies and individuals that specialize in creating backing tracks. They can do this service for a cover song or an original. The best place to start is to search for “Custom Backing Track”.
If you’re up for learning some tech, you can create your own backing track from a song you have on your computer. This article walks you through the steps of removing vocals from a recorded track.
Remember that there’s loads of guidance available for following along with the music on a backing track, chord sheet or other forms of written music. Check out this course from Kathy Alexander.
Kevin Alexander is CEO and co-founder of Singdaptive, bringing his past experience as CEO of the singing technology company TC-Helicon, as well as live sound, recording and love of music. Recently, he has been a university instructor in Multimedia Learning and is helping to envision an exciting future with technology at the research firm Kinsol.io
Janine Le Clair
Gregory A. Barker