Legal vs Certified….

I have been taking part in a discussion on a message board regarding this question –

Can a KJ be legal without being “certified?”

A few minutes ago, I posted the following response to the thread and thought it would make for a good blog post.


I think most of us are considered legal until otherwise proven illegal.

I equate being certified as a KJ simliar to passing a health department inspection as a restaurant.

You may eat at a restaurant a couple of times a month for years. The food tastes great, the service is good, the pricing is fair. You have never gotten sick from eating there and never heard of anyone else getting sick. You watch the servers come and go through the kitchen door without really concerning yourself with what is on the other side.

Then one day you go to eat at the restaurant and find it has been closed due to health code violations. The health inspector found rat droppings, improper food storage, unclean conditions, etc, etc.

Had the restaurant taken the proper steps, the inspector would have done it’s inspection and placed a nice little seal on the door leading into the restaurant. That seal gives visual notice to prospective patrons that allows them to be reasonable assured that food is being prepared, stored, served in a heathy manner.

Similarly, there are restaurants that absolutely follow the rules of proper, healthy food preparation but for whatever reason, their inspections have fallen to the way side and their seal is out of date. Keen patrons that look for that seal may pass over the restaurant because there is no proof that they have passed inspection. The restaurant is legal in respect to following food preparation guidelines, but there is no proof. Thus they may actually be missing out on some business.

There are great many legal karaoke hosts out there. With the state of the industry, the awareness campaigns from the KIAA, and the resulting legal actions in many areas, it is not only the hosts and venues that aware of piracy, but also the singers themselves.  In my neck of the woods, it is a very high tech area (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and many more…plus a very active Startup Community) and as a result there is a heightened awareness of piracy, technology innovation, and intellectual property. The singers are slowly becoming a bit more discerning in their choice of karaoke venue beyond price of drinks, song selection, friendly host and convenient location. They have heard about the legal actions brought against KJ’s and venues in the area. Very slowly I am seeing folks wonder about the legality and thus the potential longevity of a quality karaoke show. The singers have and are suffering the fallout from piracy as well by being subjected to the $50/night host that is only there for the free bar tab and the chance to oggle some patrons. They want more.

In my opinion, getting certified means the host has taken the extra step to contact the manufacturers and demonstrate compliance. In return they get some extra marketing power to show to venues and patrons that they are in it for the long haul and they are worth the investment.

This is not to say that uncertified hosts are any less legal, capable, qualified or “good”. It just means that as a certified host, I get an extra tool to promote my business and leverage to my advantage. Venues can feel comfortable they won’t get dinged, and patrons can see my investment in the process. Everyone should know I am serious about what I am doing from a business perspective. Now I just have to prove I am capable of running a good show.

Can I be legal without cerification?  Certainly. Can I prove it to a venue or patron?  Possibly, with some work.

I can also be legal *and* certified. When it comes to proving it, I just show the paperwork. Done deal.


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