Karaoke Mailbag – About that No-Fly List…

Fence

A professional karaoke jockey wrote us to ask about the No-Fly List of songwriters who don’t allow their tunes to be reproduced as karaoke:

How does it work when some of these people are on collections already purchased and in my library? Many of those big names are on Top Tunes and Sound Choice cdg’s. Was it legal at one point and then they changed their minds? Are previously purchased cdg’s grandfathered?

Yes, songwriters move onto and off of the No-Fly List occasionally. For instance, Adele recently rescinded her allowance for karaoke after much product was already released to the market and moved on the list. Another major songwriter is about to move off the list (can’t say who or when yet). There are some songwriters who are okay to karaoke with one publisher, but who subsequently moved to a different publisher that doesn’t allow it, and vice versa.

Our legal team is of the opinion that if the songs were licensed at the time you purchased the songs, you should be okay (bear in mind this is an opinion and not established law or precedent). This can be very problematic in practice, however – how can you know that the song was licensed at the time of purchase, since no karaoke company is in the regular habit of disclosing their licensing deals?

The only sure way we know of to be completely clean is to not play any of the songwriters on the list. It is our hope over time to encourage as many songwriters as we can to remove their names from the list, through strong revenue growth that demonstrates to the songwriters that karaoke is no longer the “wild, wild west”. It’s the only way we can see to accommodate your singers, the songwriters, the KJs and the karaoke companies.

Cloud is where karaoke discs go when they die

All discs go to heaven...

Karaoke Cloud is where karaoke discs go when they die.

Music listeners continue flocking to online cloud-based delivery systems, and DigiTrax Entertainment is betting that the professional karaoke jockey and the casual karaoke fan will too.

A report from research outfit The NPD Group released earlier this year cited data gathered from 13- to 35-year-olds indicating that free and subscription-based streaming music services accounted for almost one quarter of those consumers’ average weekly music listening time, up from 17 percent in the previous year.

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Bon Jovi, won’t you please come home?

Lonely Denim

In the wake of the Karaoke Cloud Summit, the music industry is questioning the judgment of songwriters like Bon Jovi, for banning his songs to be sung as karaoke tracks in America, despite their widespread availability and use outside the United States.

“When you think of American rock legends, Bon Jovi is near the top of the list, but he refuses to license his songs for karaoke use in the United States. It’s ironic,” Karaoke Cloud CEO Joseph Vangieri said regarding the rock and roller’s karaoke ban.

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Karaoke Summit 2013 – Getting On The Digital Runway

Jet Airplane Landing at Sunset

We are a little more than a month away from the Music City Karaoke Summit 2013, to be held June 20 at the Hilton Nashville Downtown, and the list of topics is already up at the official site. Here’s a quick look:

  • State Of The Cloud Address
  • Sync Licensing – Your song isn’t on karaoke
  • Sync Rights In A Global Economy
  • Consumer Demands in the Karaoke Trenches
  • Flaming Hoops – Clearing A Song For Karaoke
  • Piracy Interdiction Efforts in the US
  • Structuring Licensing Contracts
  • Software Tools for Accurate Reporting
  • Future Tech – Where The Cloud Is Going

If you were plugged into last year’s summit, you already know that it was the first time in history that the movers and shakers from the US karaoke industry came together in one room.

In spite of the potentially adversarial nature of the assembly, it turned out that everyone in attendance acknowledged the threats facing the industry and pledged to work together to try and mitigate them. They even felt strongly enough to sign their names to the pledge.

A quick glance at the topic list would seem to indicate plans to really get down to the nitty-gritty this year. Licensing and piracy are always hotly-debated topics, and the digital forecast promises to be a highlight to finish things with a bang. Lets hope everyone leaves with a smile on their face like they did last year.

Summit Group Photo

The History of Karaoke In America

Performing

Today, we forgo the mike drop in favor of the knowledge drop. Long, but worth knowing.

Karaoke has its roots in the Japanese custom of providing musical entertainment for guests during dinners or parties. Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician, is credited as the titular creator of the first karaoke machine in 1971, in response to requests for private recordings of his performances from guests at the Utagoe coffeehouses where he performed. These coffeehouses were venues where like-minded patrons would sing songs together, usually politically-themed, and were very popular for two decades stretching from the mid-fifties to the mid-seventies. With recordings of his works, the Utagoe patrons could sing along with music even when Inoue was absent.

This was not too different from a product used by performers elsewhere in the world. Where touring with a full band was impractical or too expensive for performing vocal groups to afford, it was often simpler and easier for them, their label or their promoter to commission a recording of their own records, minus the vocal tracks, and to serially provide that recording to each venue for playback during their performances. As these “minus-one” tracks were highly specific and of general use (it was thought at the time) to only the original artists, the tracks were not mass-produced.

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Biggest Little Karaoke In The World

reno

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.

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