The 2013 Karaoke Summit has Ended

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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

Details emerge on Karaoke Summit 2013

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The official website for this year’s Karaoke Summit has been updated, and includes an intriguing entry in the agenda.

Set to appear at 10:30 am is Natalie Madaj, who is a legal fellow at the National Music Publisher’s Association. The title of the talk is “Reform Sync Licensing Now”, which has us fascinated. Coupled with the appearance of Allen Jacobi, who’s widely regarded as a top entertainment licensing and copyright attorney, this is shaping up to be an interesting line-up.

Is it possible we could be witnesses to a paradigm shift in the way publishers view karaoke licensing? It’s hard to tell from the information given.

ABKCO v Stellar pretty much gutted the industry way-back-when as the dominoes began toppling over licensing disputes. If karaoke could shed the video sync license requirement, perhaps even (dare we dream it) become compulsory, like some economic zones enjoy, there could be a karaoke renaissance in the USA.

That would be a major boost to labels, KJ’s, singers, publishers…. pretty much everyone involved in the industry.

Update 3:11 pm: The streaming channel link has just been released http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4348237/events/2168578.

Karaoke Mailbag – Rant of the Week

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When you deal with a topic as polarizing as karaoke (wait, did we just say that?), you gotta expect to get the occasional nastygram. Here’s one that came over the wires just yesterday regarding the upcoming Karaoke Summit (more details on that tomorrow).

Smoothedge69 writes:

“It’s amazing the amount of sheer nonsense that Karaoke generates. The greed factor in the publishing world is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone has their hands out. Karaoke is a form of entertainment, and you people, with your lawsuits and the greed of everyone in music business is destroying a harmless activity. The people who sing these Karaoke tracks are not professional singers. For the most part, they are drunk people just looking to have some fun!! They aren’t making money, unless they are winning contests. The hosts make a nominal fee, especially now-a-days, and the bars sell drinks. GET OFF OUR BACKS!!

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Karaoke Cloud Music City Summit 2012- “TLC – Technology, Licensing & Content” by Derek Slep

“Everyone wants to sing. It will take 25 years for the whole world to sing.” These seemingly two opposing sentiments is how Derek Slep of Singray Music USA describes how he convinced his way to starting his karaoke/music career. Slep really does believe that everyone wants to sing, even comically asserting that it is an involuntary process, “There is an innate desire for a singer to sing.”

Technology, License, Content, The Singer and The Song. They are all interdependent upon each other, and always have been.  People have emotional ties to songs of their youth. The publisher owns the song,  and karaoke jockey’s have the sound recordings. Why people want to sing and what it symbolizes for them is summed up by saying, ”Anthropologists have not figured out why we need singing, but its a way to emotionally communicate,” and essentially, he’s right.

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Karaoke Cloud Music City Summit 2012- “Workingman’s Blues” by Jonathan Apostoles

Karaoke Anywhere-let’s bring Karaoke to mobile. Karaoke Anywhere was the first CDG capable player for IOS.

Karaoke enthusiasts downloaded the app when it was first launched and then were stumped as to why they couldn’t import their iTunes playlists and other mp3 files into the app. The difference is the type of file most karaoke tracks use, the CDG.

Answer? Karaoke Anywhere +Store. After addressing this feedback, a store was created for Karaoke Anywhere so that users can get their favorite karaoke tracks, and were instantly available in the app. Customers then said they wanted to record themselves and use it on platforms other than their phone. But most of all, feedback revealed that users didn’t understand why a karaoke track was $1.99 a piece.

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Karaoke Cloud Music City Summit 2012- “SEE – The Path to the Future: Solutions, Education, Enforcement” by Kurt Slep

Soundchoice’s Slep equates the karaoke industry and its battle with piracy to the metaphor of a broken stool-he begins, “think of a three-legged stool, we’re off the ground but not comfortable and can’t see the top of the table. A three-legged stool can go two ways: down or up. We want to grow it up”

Soundchoice has always been interested in anti-piracy, but were not always able to engage the power players before. The karaoke industry needs a new leg to stand on, because one has been dulled by piracy of Karaoke tracks. So they offered this model to “see” how to combat the issue:

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Karaoke Cloud Music City Summit 2012 “The Name Game” by Bob Latshaw

Latshaw is no stranger to technology, he wrote his first computer program in 1977 at nine-before the pc existed. After falling in love with karaoke in 2001, he began mentioning his expertise to the dj’s and kj’s he met; four years later Latshaw systems was born.

His first prototype of the product “SongbooksLive.com” reveals the mentality of most VJ’s and their desire to keep sharing without crediting to a minimal. He then developed a way for the file to include to whom it was licensed.

Karaoke is unique however, and it has an advantage over other items that are typically shared. It’s public, unlike an ebook.

To stray away from the CD age and successfully take stake in the digital realm:

  • stick to MP3+G this tech needs to stick around for many many years to come. Stay away from video, it’s just pictures and too easy for someone else to edit
  • If youre going to offer downloads, you’ll want to zip them because it makes for a neater package.
  • this is something microsoft knows and Latshaw is willing to share: older programs can’t keep up with newest zip compression- so it’s advisable to stick to the oldest format.
  • And finally, something Latshaw learned a long time ago: above all else “Keep the Singers Happy”