A list of songwriters who refuse to license their works for karaoke singers was opened to the public at the 2013 Karaoke Cloud Music City Summit on Thursday, June 20, with more than a few astonishing names making the list.
“It’s unclear to us why these songwriters do not want their biggest fans to have access to their music,” said Joe Vangieri, CEO of DigiTrax Entertainment, hosts of the Summit and creators of Karaoke Cloud. “When someone cares enough about your song to not only purchase it, but to dare singing it in public, you know you’ve attained what every songwriter hopes for their song – it’s touched someone’s life.”
For instance, Adele, who has garnered massive commercial and critical success, has recently pulled her works from karaoke licensing, despite the fact that she herself first learned to love singing by imitating the Spice Girls, once having remarked, “They made me what I am today.”
Likewise Katy Perry, who at the age of eight swiped her sister’s music cassettes, rehearsed those songs, and then performed them for her parents, prompting them to suggest vocal coaching for the nine-time Grammy nominee and Billboard’s 2012 Woman of the Year.
“One might think that a songwriter would remember what brought them fame and fortune,” Vangieri continued. “But perhaps some of these individuals have forgotten what caused them to fall in love with music in the first place.”
It may be the biggest head-scratcher on the list is singer, actor and heartthrob Justin Timberlake, who has earned six Grammys and four Emmys. While appearing on Star Search at the age of 11, he wowed the crowd while performing Alan Jackson’s “Love’s Got a Hold On You” to a backing track – just like a karaoke singer. Before that, he was lighting up the Memphis talent-show circuit with Garth Brooks’ “Two Of a Kind”, a song that also isn’t licensable for karaoke. It is unknown where Timberlake obtained the original backing track used in the video.
“In what way are these formative events in the young artist’s life different from someone performing their heart out at karaoke night?” Vangieri asked. “Frankly, we are baffled that someone who learned to love singing and performing by essentially doing what karaoke singers do every night, would deny anyone else the chance to do the same.”
“If their younger selves were to travel forward in time,” Vangieri remarked, “I wonder how they’d explain it to themselves.”