The cool folks over at indie-news outlet Reno News & Review weigh in with an excellent profile of karaoke in their biggest little neck of the desert. We especially dig their breakdown of why karaoke remains popular decades after being dismissed as a fad:
It’s the fact that it welcomes all types. It offers immediate acceptance—you’ll get clapped one way or another. Whether it’s because you’re just that good, or because the audience is just that glad you’re getting off the stage. It’s the one sport where the worst players are the most respected—hey, they had the balls to get up there.
That’s the gospel, right there. The article goes on to sketch out profiles of a few familiar faces in the Reno karaoke scene, including one fellow whose set list is restricted to AC/DC (and apparently has the pipes to back it up). We totes get it, “AC/DC Joe” – “Shoot To Thrill” would be on our permanent rotation if we had the chops to pull it off.
We do admit to one concern, however. In the article, author Laura Davis profiles a KJ she says is “one of the biggest names in the area” with a “monopolistic reputation in the K.J. world.” Steve Starr, the gentleman in question, likes to boast that:
“We download new music every day. My selection is incredible. If there’s a song I don’t have, I bet people a drink that the next time they see me, I’ll have it. I’ve only spent about $60 over 24 years.”
Okay, there’s a couple of red flags. First off, every song you can think of to sing is not legally available as karaoke. If you’ve spent 24 years fulfilling requests for every song under the sun, we wonder where you’re sourcing your karaoke material from. We understand you want to make your customers happy. ABBA would say that’s “The Name Of The Game”… except that’s one song that’s not legally available as karaoke (ABBA never has been in the USA).
Secondly, wagering with your customers that you’ll have their song next outing kind of serves as a built-in incentive to cut the legal corners, doesn’t it?
Here’s a friendly reminder, Mr. Starr: Just because you can find it on teh torrentz doesn’t mean you should. Do everything legally in your power to make your karaoke customers ecstatic at your karaoke shows, but please don’t step over the line. There’s hundreds of people in the legitimate karaoke business who depend on your ability to recognize the difference between what’s expedient and what’s right. They need you to do that so they can keep feeding their children. Like, literally, mmkay?