My new case!

Today I received my brand new Odyssey FRGS1016WDLX case!  I have had my eyes on this case for about 2 years now. The sliding platform on top for a laptop is what initially sold me. But now that I have it put together, the front panel conversion to a side table that can be used on either side of the rig is also very slick.

My plan is to drop a ZED60-10FX in the top slant along with a DMX lighting controller. Then add a power conditioner, dbx DriveRack PA+, RNC 1773 compressor, wireless mic receiver and drawers for the rest of my karaoke gear.

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For more info and specs on the case – Odyssey FRGS1016WDLX

 

-Cheers!

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Do you have a favorite karaoke brand?

Over the years, hundreds of karaoke music companies have come and gone. Some were only around for a short while, others have been (or were) around for 20+ years. Some have made great music while others…..not so much.

My karaoke library has over 50 brands in it. Some of those brands are just rebrands of exactly the same music so there is really a fair amount of duplication. I have to admit though that there are a bunch of those brands I have never actually used or plan on using unless they have a song that doesn’t exist on any other brand.

I have my favorite brands:

Sound Choice – This is my go to brand for rock, classic rock, alternative, and most pop music from the 80’s on.

Chartbuster/Digitrax/Karaoke Cloud – Country, some pop music.

Pop Hits Monthly/Stellar Records – Rock, classic rock, alternative, urban and some pop music

Karaoke Version – New releases across all genres

Zoom/Sunfly/SBI – New releases across all genres

The other 45+ brands in my library could honestly be dumped and my singers probably wouldn’t miss them. They are there only because I acquired a bunch of discs in a package and ripped them in just in case there was a track that didn’t exist anywhere else.

Karaoke Hosts: Do you have a go to brand or brands that you use? Maybe you like a brand for a particular genre or time period of music?

Singers: Do you have favorite brands? Do you even notice the brands? Do you care?

-Chris


What I am REALLY saying is….

First – My previous post – A request for the singers…. – has seen more activity than any other post I have made…. whopping 43 views. That is more than double my next highest viewed post. Thank you! 

Second – It has been been brought to my attention by one (and only one reader) that what I wrote is quite possibly not what I meant. The exact accusation was this –

“What you are REALLY asking is for singers to become your business partner and personal “karaoke cops” and punish an establishment (who usually doesn’t know or care about the music source).” – Source: Another karaoke host in a Facebook forum

That isn’t what I am asking for at all. What I am asking for is for singers to care about the integrity of the hosts they support.

I do not under any circumstances feel singers should become policemen for the karaoke industry.

I know t is absolutely unrealistic for me to think that singers are going to care about anything more than a good song selection, how fast the rotation is, how easy it is to get to/from the bar, and how good the drink specials are. I have been doing karaoke for 20+ years and to this day, those are the primary factors in what karaoke bar I go to. That is just how karaoke works.

I don’t believe for a moment that my post will result in a hoard of singers asking hosts across the world “How do you get your music”?” or “Is all of your karaoke music stolen?” (I wouldn’t recommend phrasing it that way anyway…). Chances are, with only 43 views, exactly zero singers will ask a host how they have acquired their music.

Truth be told, there are some fantastic hosts with kick ass, fun, well attended karaoke shows. The only downside is they stole their music.

Should anyone care about that?

-Chris


A request for the singers….

I know singers generally don’t care that much about the source of a KJ’s music. As long as we have what a singer wants to sing, they are happy. But did you know that karaoke music is the single largest expense for a legitimate karaoke host? The sound and lights are miniscule compared to legally acquiring the music it takes to provide a broad selection of desirable tracks.

The retail cost for buying a single karaoke track runs about $2.00 (and sometimes more) per song. To buy a full disc of tracks that contains 10-15 songs can cost a KJ between $10 and $30 dollars depending on the vendor we buy from.

That is for new music. For older music, we can get much of the cheaper buy buying old karaoke discs on eBay, through Craigslist, or from other KJ’s that are downsizing or getting out of the business. All of these means of acquiring karaoke music are perfectly legal so long as what is being bought and sold are the original manufacturers discs or storage media. Buying karaoke on a loaded hard drive, USB memory sticks, burned CD’s and DVD’s is illegal. However, even the buying the music legally in the after market can costs thousands of dollars. And we still have to buy new requested music at current day retail pricing to satisfy our singers.

Because the cost of music is so high, some KJ’s cut corners by illegally downloading karaoke music from various sites on the Internet. They buy (and sometimes sell) loaded hard drives that have literally 200,000+ karaoke songs on then for as little as $250 dollars. Much of the karaoke music on these drives was produced many, many years ago and only by certain vendors. Pioneer was famous for the LaserDisc karaoke videos that show the videos in the back ground. Those laserdiscs sold for up to $180 a piece back in the early 90’s and some of them only had 8 songs on them! If we just simplify the math and say every karaoke song costs only .50 cents, that would mean the 200,000 tracks on those hard drives should be selling for $100,000. As they say, if the deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

It isn’t easy for anyone to tell if a host is legally acquiring their music these days. Most hosts (including my company) buy new music in MP3+G format and have “ripped” or otherwise converted older karaoke music to a format that we can play with a computer. There are lots of benefits from doing this –

It’s a lot easier to carry a laptop and maybe an external hard drive than it is to manage one or more disc players and carry hundreds if not thousands of discs around to every show.

Discs get damaged, lost, stolen pretty easily. In the case of the old Pioneer LaserDiscs and many other defunct manufacturers, that music is not replaceable in any form (unless it is pirated).

Computerized systems are easier to back up and restore too. Many hosts carry a spare laptop in case their primary fails allowing the shows to go on. Even if we don’t have a spare, we can sometime borrow a laptop or even run to a store to buy one. Karaoke disc players are a bit more specialized so having an on hand spare is a requirement.

So what you will see is that even though computers and technology have made it much simpler and convenient for legal hosts to run their shows, it also has made it very easy for unscrupulous karaoke hosts to do the same. These hosts can get started and maintain operations in the industry for a fraction of the cost that a legitimate host can. In some cases, because the pirate hosts have significantly lower overhead, they can undercut a legitimate host and drive them out of a show by offering the venue a discounted price. This puts a lot of pressure on honest, hardworking host to stay competitive. Speaking only for myself, I cannot compete with a host that is willing to work for $50/night and a bar tab. I can’t even compete against someone that charges twice that. Anyone that can work for that kind of rate does not have the same kind of investment in their equipment and music that legitimate hosts do. It just isn’t possible.

I would like to encourage karaoke singers, particularly those in my area of Seattle, to support karaoke hosts that actually paid for all of their music. It can be an uncomfortable thing to ask a karaoke host if they actually pay for their music. Hosts that do should not be offended by this question. In fact, they should be happy to prove anyway they can that they have paid for all of the karaoke music they use at their events. Again, speaking for my company only, I am happy to show not only the original discs I have stored at home, but the certifications I have received from several karaoke manufactures demonstrating that I am in compliance.

Please….. support honest, hardworking, legal karaoke companies and hosts. In my experience you will find that these hosts are dedicated to what they do, treat their singers with respect, and support the industry by supporting the artists and karaoke song manufacturers that give us the great songs we get to sing.

Thank You!

-Chris