Industry copyright lawyers! Here’s something to get your dander up this morning: a new website that promised to turn YouTube videos into karaoke. We’re using the past tense for a reason there: in between the site launching and coming to people’s attention yesterday, and this story being written this morning, Youka has already ceased operation.
“The original website is dead, but the idea is live on,” explains a note on its homepage, inviting people to follow its creator on Twitter for updates.
While it was live, the site worked by splitting the audio from YouTube music videos into instrumental and vocal stems, and (according to this tweet) pulling in the words from lyrics sites.
There are several legal issues here: not just the YouTube-ripping element, but the lyrics too – and with karaoke already a legal, licensed business model for music rightsholders, Youka surely wouldn’t have lasted for long.
Its creator appears to be planning to open source the site, so this may not be the last we see of it. Or the idea more generally: we reported last year on the development of audio-separation tools like Deezer’s Spleeter, which was also open sourced.
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash