Karaoke Karoake? Is it worth it? What gear/software?

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IceBurghDJ

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So I'm seeing more requests for karaoke, the local bar I do a few gigs asked if I do it...

So, is it worth it?
Gear: - have a couple of inexpensive mics, VDJ can do it but was thinking karafun as I have no library of songs.

Figure to need a TV, perhaps 2? One to face the singer(s) and one for the crowd, and a mount of some kind for them.

Thoughts? Experience? Advice?
 

adj2ent

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Is Karaoke worth it depends on how much they are paying. I don’t do bars because they don’t pay anywhere near what I’d expect. And the one time I was thinking about it, there was a Issue at the bar two weeks later. Pretty much I prefer Karaoke over DJing now, why ? Because the events are usually only 2hrs, happen afternoon or evening during the week. I only do college, corporate, maybe private events and although I do have to have the latest music they usually go for the classics.
Now pretty much everything you need you should have already, mics, mixing board, laptop/SW. What’s makes the different is your song selection, how you run your show and what do use to display your video. Those three things will determine how much you can get depending on who’s your client. In 1994 when I started doing karaoke I started with Laser karaoke because it played much more. I already had Laserdisc players and video screens. So, I just needed the songs on laserdisc, which were insanely expensive but my clients were willing to pay. First, I got brought in by other DJs, plugged into their system. Then things took off, I hit the college market with a package with a 10ft video screen as the main focus. A little later we added a option for dual TVs on truss behind the singers. We used same setup we used in our booth at trade shows. So the idea of dual TVs with the singers in between goes back to 1996.
How much would a person paid for Karafun and a very basic setup. I don’t know but it does put you in the group with all the other karaoke guys and my understanding is many work really cheap. The one thing i found I didn’t like us when your add karaoke to a regular DJ party, balancing the two can be a pain. No I did have one which was a wedding with karaoke all the dances were done with people singing karaoke and about half the night was karaoke. It Drove the works at the catering hall crazy especially since many songs were in Chinese. My wife’s friends are the Philippines, in the evening at their Cookouts they move to the family room where they have a full system with wireless mics and online media from overseas.

B1516CEE-3EF7-4087-953A-274CC53D19C5.jpeg
 

steve149

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Start with the basics.

You need a karaoke player. VDJ or PCDJ will do it (probably a couple others) or dedicated Karaoke software. Karafun client is ok, but it won't do things like rotation management and "next singer" stuff on screen, so it's less effective for larger scale and less ad hoc events.

You need 2 monitors usually .. one facing the singer(s) that can be small 15-20" is fine (I have used an iPad as a display for very small quarters) and a larger monitor or 2 for the audience to see (or tap into the bar's TVs). This normally means a splitter of some sort (HDMI or VGA) since most karaoke software can only talk to 1 external "screen".

Music is the tougher part. You can use Karafun's onliine library, but it is really only for private events and that doesn't inlcude bars. Their pr licensing runs much more. VDJ has a $20/mo karaoke add-on subscription that's probably worth it, as is buying collections and ripping discs to have some catalog that works even if you don't have WiFI or cell access .. still happens.

The rest you probably have, though it helps having a mixer with at least one aux send to feed a singer's monitor if requested.

 

Scott Hanna

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If I were considering starting, I'd do the VDJ $20 a month, I wouldn't add 3 TV's to start. I'd just use one monitor ...or iPad...for singers, and your laptop screen for you.
If it picks up and you want to up your game.... Then consider adding additional monitors for crowd.

As Steve mentioned, if you can patch into bar's TV's, all the better
 

adj2ent

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VDJ does everything you’ll for karaoke including tracking who sang what. Used it for Karaoke, DJing, Video DJing & multi media shows, so far I haven’t found anything I needed it to and couldn’t. About 6 major upgrades since I started with it over 12+ years ago I guess I got more than my moneys worth. But everything Revolves around how good your library is. It doesn't have to be huge but it better be really good. Same as DJing.
 

DJ Ricky B

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If you have a great wifi connection at the bar then KaraFun app works very well. 30,000 songs are on there...All the most popular ones are on there.

I don't do bars, but I usually set up a tablet, or another laptop with the karaoke library from karafun showing so people can search through it. I use a 32" flat screen TV. Honestly, 32" size TVs are so cheap now to get that it is easy to use that size for karaoke today. People love the bigger TV size. I usually just bring a 4 foot table to plop it down on...that is much quicker set up then mounting it on my TV speaker stand. I also leave a couple of mics on the table for singers to pick up. I use wireless GTD microphones for singers, and I also have a pair of vocopro mics. Up to 4 microphones readily available.

I actually charge $100 extra for karaoke option for private events, and people pay it when they inquire about karaoke. I will run Kara Fun through hotspot on my phone, but you will run the risk of it lagging at some point in the middle of a song, or the song completely freezing. That has happened.

I have some karaoke songs downloaded on my laptop as well, but my library is weak. I could not do gigs with it alone. Last year, I had 3 karaoke gigs. The year before, I think I only had 1. Karaoke market is pretty weak compared to 15 years ago, but I believe it is slowly gaining ground again. I do notice more bars are bringing in karaoke DJs on various nights in my area again. I know they don't pay much, but it seems to be a cycle. Karaoke really softened up between 2012 and 2018...Now it is starting to come back just a bit!
 
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IceBurghDJ

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karafun has a pro license - $49/week or 229 a month.
good for bars and such.

Start with the basics.

You need a karaoke player. VDJ or PCDJ will do it (probably a couple others) or dedicated Karaoke software. Karafun client is ok, but it won't do things like rotation management and "next singer" stuff on screen, so it's less effective for larger scale and less ad hoc events.

You need 2 monitors usually .. one facing the singer(s) that can be small 15-20" is fine (I have used an iPad as a display for very small quarters) and a larger monitor or 2 for the audience to see (or tap into the bar's TVs). This normally means a splitter of some sort (HDMI or VGA) since most karaoke software can only talk to 1 external "screen".

Music is the tougher part. You can use Karafun's onliine library, but it is really only for private events and that doesn't inlcude bars. Their pr licensing runs much more. VDJ has a $20/mo karaoke add-on subscription that's probably worth it, as is buying collections and ripping discs to have some catalog that works even if you don't have WiFI or cell access .. still happens.

The rest you probably have, though it helps having a mixer with at least one aux send to feed a singer's monitor if requested.

 

adj2ent

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karafun has a pro license - $49/week or 229 a month.
good for bars and such.
$229 a month is almost 3K year, I’d only use that as temporary solution. I am not sure how I’d would go about putting together a whole new karaoke library now but if you’re going to be in it for the long run leasing would be crazy expensive. Once you have your library the only delta cost then is adding those new songs thar you need. But ripping all those CD+Gs/VCDs back then wasn’t fun. I did it while family was on a cruise. I setup shop in the living with 2 laptops and went to town until done as it was just me and the TV.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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My friend has Karafun and his is $20 a month. He just tried it out in a Tavern he was playing in. The place is a hair salon now. One thing that wasn't mentioned is what about books for people to look through with songs to sing that the DJ has for Karaoke?
 

IceBurghDJ

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$229 a month is almost 3K year, I’d only use that as temporary solution. I am not sure how I’d would go about putting together a whole new karaoke library now but if you’re going to be in it for the long run leasing would be crazy expensive. Once you have your library the only delta cost then is adding those new songs thar you need. But ripping all those CD+Gs/VCDs back then wasn’t fun. I did it while family was on a cruise. I setup shop in the living with 2 laptops and went to town until done as it was just me and the TV.
$49/week, or event MIGHT work...
I assume they have an app...website for songs for the guests to look up.

If you have to invest in 20,000 songs (cost? $20,000? $10,000? Hell, even $5000..) then you need a way for the guests to choose songs. The few times I've been to karoake the DJ would have a printed binder.
A local weekly karaoke bar you just ask for the song you want and he finds it, no book, no app. I think part of the fun is looking up songs...

My friend has Karafun and his is $20 a month. He just tried it out in a Tavern he was playing in. The place is a hair salon now. One thing that wasn't mentioned is what about books for people to look through with songs to sing that the DJ has for Karaoke?
$20 a month IS NOT the pro license...it may work, but it's not legal.
 

Chuck The DJ

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I use VDJ for karaoke. I don't do bars, I tried that but the singers are a pain, and they don't pay shit.

But I do a lot of private corp events with it and average about $900 a show.

I have a real library of music from Sound Choice and Chartbusters and so on, and I have no idea how I would start out now.

Is it worth it? It sounds like with Karafun it might be. Or the VDJ add-on. But I haven't looked into that.

I charge extra for a "Audience Monitor" with is either a 42" or 55" depending on what they pay for.

For me, private parties are the way to go, but to each their own.
mercedes-benz-wce-chuckthedj-13_orig.jpgKaraoke_private_party.JPGKaraoke is fun! (37).jpgKaraoke is fun! (29).JPG14063788_287671524946485_3401063695011731659_n.jpg
 

Handinon

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I shall direct you to my own thread on this. Scroll to Steve's suggestion of getting SCDG discs (Super CDG), and ripping them, which is exactly what I did. I use OpenKJ to play them -
 

adj2ent

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Question? who said you need 20,000 songs. I don’t think I have that many songs now and I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. What you need is a good library of songs your clients want to sing. I started with only 600 - 700 song on laserdisc and built on that. My clients determined what addition songs were purchased. I can’t recall how much I spend on discs the first 10 years but I doubt it was more 5k. I brought laserdisc's, VCDs, CD+Ds & anything on sale or Clearance. I am sure some of the services do sell digital libraries or there are used CD+G collections for sale. Looking at way companies would rather have you stream than own,I would buy my library now if you really plan to be in business for years. But 10k or 20K for karaoke discs way too much unless you’re get paid mega bucks as I don’t spend that on musicvideos or audio now. Once everything went digital, upgrading & creating books became earlier.
Very True, I find people like looking thru the song books and they do it in groups. I do have my lists online as a PDFs, a few serious singers use them. But More always use the books or walk up if really want something. Then we take notes & look for it for the next show if we don’t have it.
 
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MIXMASTERMACHOM

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I use VDJ for karaoke. I don't do bars, I tried that but the singers are a pain, and they don't pay shit.

But I do a lot of private corp events with it and average about $900 a show.

I have a real library of music from Sound Choice and Chartbusters and so on, and I have no idea how I would start out now.

Is it worth it? It sounds like with Karafun it might be. Or the VDJ add-on. But I haven't looked into that.

I charge extra for a "Audience Monitor" with is either a 42" or 55" depending on what they pay for.

For me, private parties are the way to go, but to each their own.
View attachment 50180View attachment 50181View attachment 50182View attachment 50183View attachment 50184
Karaoke was meant to be fun. Not someone sounding like the next Luther Vandross or Patti Labelle. I can't sing a lick but do it to act silly.
 
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Jeff Romard

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but do it to act silly.
You don't need Karaoke ;)

So I'm seeing more requests for karaoke, the local bar I do a few gigs asked if I do it...

So, is it worth it?
Gear: - have a couple of inexpensive mics, VDJ can do it but was thinking karafun as I have no library of songs.

Figure to need a TV, perhaps 2? One to face the singer(s) and one for the crowd, and a mount of some kind for them.

Thoughts? Experience? Advice?

A couple of thoughts on setting up Karaoke. I've looked in to this a few times I actually have a client trying to talk me in to it now. Again these are just my thoughts and are based on being an occasional host not a full time Karaoke guy and from a guy that worked for a Karaoke show with a full FOH and a staff of 4

Don't buy cheap mics. First off cheap mics are cheap for a reason they break a lot easier than a more expensive alternative and better mics sound better. I'm not suggesting big money mics but something like a SM58 you can drive nails with them. Up here in Canada I can get them for about $129 so i figure maybe $100 in the US. Even if you have one as the main mic for solo singers and a couple of cheap ones for multiple singers but if you can afford it buy all decent mics.

Have something with effects. Either effects on your board or a vocal processor your singers will sound much better once you learn to use it. Take the time to learn to use it. Why is this important? There are likely dozens of speaker on stick guys doing Karaoke in your area if you are the best sounding you pick up a following quick

Pick up a Compressor/Limiter/Gate. You wouldn't believe how much gear you will save with a CLG. People tend to scream a lot at Karaoke and your fingers just aren't fast enough to catch it most times the CLG will. It's good for mic drops too. Again take the time to learn to use it.

If you can use the venue screens. HDMI cables are a lot cheaper than TV's and there's a lot more of them most likely. If you have to buy TV's a 42" and a cheap tablet should do the trick in most places

In the short term use Karafun for your library but build a library if you are in for the long haul

Using what I suggested above would run you less than $1000 to start and you'd have a good quality show
 

sawdust123

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I recently set up karaoke for home parties. I basically took an old Behringer X1204USB that I had lying around and fed it into one of the line inputs of my ceremony system. I used it as a sub-mixer for the vocals and vocal effects and monitor output. The music was played through one of the sound cards in my ceremony system. I then bought an HDMI splitter to feed the singer screen (an old LCD PC monitor) and the TV. I signed up for the Karafun plan that requires a WiFi link which is fine for home use but not for paid gigs. As others have said, the rotation management with Karafun is quite poor but for home parties, I don't care. We've done two karaoke parties at the house in the last month and my friends keep asking when the next will be.
 
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Chuck The DJ

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Karaoke was meant to be fun. Not someone sounding like the next Luther Vandross or Patti Labelle. I can't sing a lick but do it to act silly.

I like it when someone sings a song who is not a great singer but "owns" the song. What I meant in my OP was the way bar singers act live Diva's!
 

Handinon

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I like it when someone sings a song who is not a great singer but "owns" the song.
Dam right - and it doesn't have to be Karaoke. At the American Legion, one of our friends is a really big guy, and looks like a cross between Santa Claus and a bad ass biker dude. Whenever David Allen Coe's "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" would play, he would stand up, beer in hand, and start singing - and he knows every single word, even the talking part. I laughed so hard the first time I saw him do this I almost passed out. Own it? He'd do this at church on a Sunday morning!
 
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