Karaoke Mailbag – About that No-Fly List…


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 For instance, Adele recently rescinded her allowance for karaoke after much product was already released to the market and moved on the list.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.

How do you save your favorite karaoke venue? Love, and comic strips.


When patrons of SoHo’s Baby Grand heard their favorite karaoke showplace was closing, they reacted differently to the news. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, artist David Iseri drew a comic strip (set in the future) to commemorate the good times they’d all enjoyed there. Three others decided the center could not hold.

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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Squared-away Karaoke CEO Started Out Punk

Joseph Vangieri’s experiences as a drummer in NYC punk and new-wave bands helped prep him to serve as the CEO of DigiTrax Entertainment, create KaraokeCloud.com, lead that company to the forefront of its industry, and blaze new trails in the tech space.

Joe Vangieri in his new-wave days with The Abstracts, in the early 1980's

Joe Vangieri in his new-wave days with The Abstracts, in the early 1980’s.

DigiTrax Entertainment’s CEO Joseph Vangieri, who has led the company into a position at the forefront of the karaoke market and innovated throughout the industry, got his start in music as a drummer for punk and new-wave bands in New York City. It may have been the perfect place to start.

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“Born In The USA” – but not legal here.


Bruce Springsteen, one of the most iconic American musicians (and categorically patriotic songwriters) doesn’t want America singing his songs for karaoke. Yet while Springsteen refuses to let American fans sing his songs, he licenses them freely abroad.

“Springsteen stands in front of the American flag on his album cover, and sings about making a home in ‘America Land,’ and yet refuses to license his music to allow fans to sing karaoke versions of his songs here in America,” Karaoke Cloud CEO Joseph Vangieri remarked regarding the apparent contradiction between Springsteen’s patriotism and American karaoke ban.

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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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The 2013 Karaoke Summit has Ended


Joe Vangieri, CEO of DigiTrax took the podium and began with his background. He’s one of the first KJs in the USA, having multiple venues back in the laserdisc days, in New York City.

Natalie Madaj from the National Music Publishers Association outlined the general attitude among publishers for innovations in karaoke licensing, and suggested the Harry Fox Agency’s Slingshot program as a way for streamlining the video sync licensing process.

Allen Jacobi, famous entertainment lawyer, ran down the differences between licensing in the USA and doing so abroad, and how the current licensing structure puts American companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Hal Kinney, President of the Knoxville Chapter of the American Disc jockey Association, talked about how difficult it is for a KJ to stay legal, when his customers constantly approached him with non-licensed files to play. The customers, Kinney noted, don’t care about licensing issues. They just want to sing their favorite songs.

Jonathan Apostoles, CEO and Founder of JoltSoft, makers of Karaoke Anywhere, detailed the new social media “Karaoke Feed” integration in their very popular app, and how it can help singers, venues and KJs.

Roby Robinson, attorney for Piracy Recovery LLC spoke at length about that company’s efforts to curb piracy, and the rights surrounding karaoke use.

Kurt Slep, CEO of Slep-Tone Entertainment, gave a riveting speech covering a brief history of both karaoke and karaoke piracy in the USA, and what his company is doing to bring it closer to an end.

Toni Roberts, Senior Licensing and Production Coordinator for DigiTrax discussed setting up the correct metadata for each karaoke song ever released. Allen Jacobi returned to the podium to advocate sharing and crowd-sourcing the metadata.

Joe Vangieri closed the Summit with a look at how upcoming technology is affecting where and how we use karaoke, before taking closing questions.

You can review the Livestream, with full replay capabilites now at: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4348237/events/2168578