Backing tracks for singers are great for karaoke or singing without a band. The musical quality of the backing music can have a huge impact on a singer’s performance. But what type of tracks are there and where can you find the best backing tracks online?
The best music backing tracks for singers include custom backing tracks, the latest backing tracks online, backing tracks for karaoke, professional backing tracks for bands, backing tracks for karaoke or even orchestral backing tracks for singers.
Your choice of backing tracks will depend on what type of musician you are, where you sing and how much – if anything – you have to spend. Here’s our guide to where and how you can source the best backing tracks for singers.
Music backing tracks for singers
Having good quality backing music is essential for a singer’s performance as it needs to compliment the vocals well. If the backing music is of poor musical quality or the backing vocals or instruments are poorly mixed then it can distract from the vocals and the overall performance.
The right (or wrong) music backing tracks for singers can make or break a gig or audition. Similarly good or bad live accompaniment can make all the difference to how your performance is received.
Backing tracks are not just for performances either. Even if you have live musicians to accompany you at your gigs, you’ll still need to practice at home – and that band who’ll be playing with you probably won’t be around then. It’s not a good idea to practise to tracks with vocals, as you can end up copying or picking up bad habits.
So rehearsing using music backing tracks for singers can help you be polished and ready to rock on the night.
Backing tracks online
In a world of increasingly fantastic tech, the first place you’ll be looking for something to support and complement your performance is online. There are companies which specialise in creating professional backing tracks for singers, as well as bands and instrumentalists.
There are also lots of karaoke tracks out there. These carry some pros and cons, which we’ll talk about later and may not be the best option for gigging singers seeking a career in the music industry.
Always download your tracks, never rely on streaming for performances. If the WiFi drops out or you lose signal, you’ll be scuppered if you haven’t got the tracks downloaded.
The best backing tracks for singers: Custom backing tracks
The other option for serious singers is custom backing tracks. This is by far the preferable route for professionals and amateur singers wanting to create the very best sound. It’s also the best choice for an audition.
Custom backing tracks are also almost certainly the more expensive option. As the quality can vary enormously with custom backing tracks, it’s important to be wise in how you source and create these. A bad custom backing track is much worse than one you’ve bought from a standard online backing track store.
Custom backing tracks for free/ free original backing tracks for singers
You may have musician friends and be able to record your own custom backing track. This is a fantastic option and a way to get custom backing tracks for free. But, as well as having friends prepared to give their time for nothing, who are great at what they do, you’ll also need top-notch recording facilities. Otherwise, your track will be of a poor quality, which as we’ve mentioned, will impact your overall performance a great deal.
A major advantage of creating your own backing track is that it’ll be unique. And if you write your own music, you won’t have an option to buy ready-made tracks online in any case. So custom made, will be the only way to go.
Find musicians and a producer who really get your musical style. A good collaboration makes all the difference.
Custom backing tracks for bands
The dynamics of band harmonies and parts often requires a custom track. As such, your best option for bespoke backing tracks is a professional recording studio. This is costly though, but well worth it for professional artists, whether they be bands or solo artists. Backing tracks can be recorded at any studio with suitable facilities.
Backing tracks karaoke
When searching for backing tracks online, you’ll come across a lot of karaoke tracks.
So what’s the difference between a karaoke backing track and a backing track for professional singers? And can you use them?
In theory, there’s little difference. They both provide instrumental backing. But karaoke tracks are generally designed for pub singalong type purposes. They are not always the best quality, nor is there always attention to detail in the musicality. Karaoke tracks often have prominent backup vocals that sound out of place in other settings, like an audition.
Another problem with them is that they can actually be really difficult to sing to – the melody can be tricky to pick out among the heavily processed electronic sounds of the tracks.
You’ll also find they are in the key of the original artist. Which isn’t ideal if it’s not a great key for you – or the original singer was of different gender with a very different range. Backing tracking for professional singers can be purchased in a variety of keys, as can bespoke tracks.
If you’re singing for fun, on an amateur level, or have little or nothing to spend on tracks, then karaoke backing may be the best choice for you.
Free karaoke backing tracks with lyrics
Of course, there’s a pro to counter these cons. Karaoke tracks are easy to find, there are lots of them and they are cheap. In fact, they can even be free. If you buy a karaoke machine, it will usually come with a package of free karaoke songs. The machine will have the ability to connect to a screen, so you can sing along with the words at the same time.
You can access karaoke tracks online for nothing, although the download quality isn’t the best. There are free online karaoke databases offering lots of songs as well.
Pick up karaoke CDs in charity shops and at a car boot or jumble sales – and be on the lookout for people giving them away for nothing.
Free instrumental backing tracks
The freebies don’t start and end with karaoke machines though. There are more ways to get free tracks you can stream or download to your devices. These can then be connected to an amp or speaker via a Bluetooth connection or cable.
Here’s a list of free online locations to get free instrumental backing tracks:
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The best free guitar backing tracks
There are backing track websites that specialise in guitar sounds too. Here are two of the best ones on the market. And their backing tracks won’t cost you a penny:
Backing tracks for musicians
It’s not only vocalists who use backing tracks. Some musicians may have a need for backing tracks to accompany a single instrument. This is less common than for singers but it does happen. But every professional musician using backing must make it a priority to have quality tracks.
Why it’s important to make sure your backing music is good quality
The most effective way to get good quality backing music is to download it from a reputable, high-quality backing music website or get a bespoke studio recording.
For the sake of a few pounds pay to download your backing music. Many free tracks are not licensed for public use.
Avoid YouTube for performances
Although it seems like the easiest way to get backing music, the quality of the backing music on YouTube is often distorted. When downloaded from a third party like this, the quality is affected and means, when played out, can sound muffled. This is fine if just using it for practice purposes at home, as you can stream it.
It may sound good quality when practising, but you have to remember that the backing track will be played at a louder volume in a larger space.
Free backing tracks for guitar practice
Although YouTube’s quality may not be good enough for performance, it could be perfect for practice. Sometimes it’s easier to practice playing an instrument like the guitar to a backing track in a set key. YouTube is perfect for this and even has videos that can guide you through the chords at the same time.
Blues guitar backing tracks
The easiest type of backing track to start with as a guitarist is a blues backing track. A 12 bar blues is simple and repetitive, making it very easy to jam over.
Instruments and backing music
Often singers choose to have backing music and play an instrument also. This is often a problem as unless you are absolutely perfect the instruments will clash with the notes on the backing music (especially in terms of timing).
It’s difficult to work with a backing track whilst playing an instrument. If you feel like doing both will help your performance, make sure you practise a lot so you know when the instrument fits well with the backing music.
The main problem with poor quality backing music is that it distracts from the performance given. It’s your job to make sure your backing (tracks, dancers, singers and musicians), outfit and tech all work with you, rather than acting as unwelcome distractions.
Even if the singer is giving the best performance of their life, it’s difficult to ignore the poor quality backing music most common mistakes include the backing vocals or instruments being poorly mixed so either too loud or too quiet.
So bear in mind when you’re sorting out your backing music, that it may sound good in a smaller venue but it’s going to be played in a larger venue and risks sounding tinny or muffled.
Paris backing tracks
Now we’ll take a look at the names of some reputable companies selling backing tracks. One of these which is well used in the music community is Paris Music.
Websites such as Paris Music allow you to search the song you want and download it from there and are relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, if you want bespoke backing music then you can into a recording studio although this could really take a day or two.
Backing tracks – Ameritz
Another big hitter in the world of backing tracks, is industry giant music publisher, Ameritz Music.
As soon as you start to search up backing tracks, this name will come up time and again. There’s a distinction in their tracks though, so be careful. Some are for karaoke singalong purposes, some are backing tracks for singers.
Backing tracks: 24p
Every few years, Ameritz has a fantastic 24p sale. That means all tracks at 24p each. Follow Ameritz on Facebook to keep up to date when prices are slashed again.
Where to download the latest backing tracks
In addition to the free sites listed, here are paid sites offering backing tracks suitable for singers:
- Backing Tracks Download
- Successful Singing
- Music Backing Tracks
- Standards Trax
- Steves Trax
- Backing Tracks Today
- Apple Music
- Backing Tracks
- Your Soundtube
- Mp3 Accompanist
- London Arrangements
- Sunfly Karaoke
- Mr Entertainer
- Sing to the World
- Zoom Entertainments
You will also find a wide range of backing tracks available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Sound Cloud and Google Play. These can be the best places to start if you’re not looking for custom options, as they offer tracks from a variety of companies, labels and providers,
Instrumental backing tracks for singers minus vocals
Professional backing tracks won’t have any vocal activity on them, although they may come with tutor tracks. These provide both an instrumental track without any vocals, and the same track with vocals, so you can use it as a guide when learning the song. This is an ideal way to pick up the melody and timing if you don’t read music.
What makes good backing music?
Good backing music has several ingredients. It should be high quality, clear recording, with a depth of sound (not tinny sounding). It should also be appropriate for the genre and style of song you want to sing, it must be easy to sing along too. And of course, it should sound pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. Don’t forget, a good track makes you sound good.
Save your tracks to your phone. If you get a last-minute opportunity for a gig or to sing in front of someone influential, you’ll always be ready to perform.
Orchestral backing tracks for singers
Anything too complex can be distracting and hard to pitch – this is often the case for instrumental music not designed for singers. It’s why it’s important to work with tracks designed to be sung to, as opposed to an orchestra’s performance piece of a pop classic.
Choosing the right backing tracks can be time-consuming, but it’s also a fun part of creating your act – even more so if you’re working on a bespoke one. And once you find a studio, brand or provider that works for your style, you’ll have done most of the groundwork.
Whatever your budget, vocal range and musical requirements there will be track types to suit you and help you sound great.
- What is the track of a song?
The ‘track’ describes a recorded single song or musical piece. It may or may not contain vocals. So it can be the backing music alone, an instrumental piece, or even an a cappella number. An album will be made up of a number of tracks.
- What is backtrack in music?
A backtrack is exactly the same as a backing track. Much like backup singers used to be referred to as backing singers, with ‘backing’ being seen as the old way of describing them. A backing track is currently still the most prolific term, but we predict that’ll change.
- What’s the best backing track app?
Backing track apps are added and updated constantly. A good way to find one that’s right for you is to check out the ratings on Google Play or iTunes (depending on whether you use an Android device or an iPhone). You can also read our article all about the best apps for singers on the market today.
Which music backing tracks for singers do you use? Tell us which ones you’d recommend in the comments below.