How to Start a Karaoke Business

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Karaoke is a worldwide phenomenon. It caught on quickly, and it's here to stay. There's something people love about becoming a star for the 5 minutes they get to perform on the stage, even if they end up sounding out of tune. A karaoke business is a relatively inexpensive business that you can set up on your own and start making money quickly. These steps explore how to start a karaoke business.

Decide what type of music you will use for your karaoke business. One option is CDG discs, which are CDs that display words as well as play the music when hooked up to a monitor. The second option, which is the more technologically advanced, is the digital system, where the files are stored on a laptop computer. You use a software program to host the music being played and shown on the screen.

Purchase the music you need. If you choose the CDG disc system, you must compile a wide selection of karaoke CDs to use. Two places you can purchase discs from on the Internet are Sound Choice and Total Karaoke, sites listed in the Resources below. If you are going digital, you can download individual songs from the Internet, from sites such as iTunes, also listed in Resources.

Purchase the basic equipment you need. With the CDG disc system, you need to buy a karaoke CDG player, one that is of professional quality to use for business instead of home use. If you use the digital system, you need the software, which has importing tools, ripping tools, a songbook creator and more. You must also have a laptop computer to carry around with ample memory space to load the software and work it.

Purchase karaoke system components. You need a mixer and amp, speakers and speaker stands, microphones, a monitor, cables, an RF converter and other accessories.

Get the music ready to use. If you are using the disc system, put the discs into some type of organized storage system, so that you can easily find songs as they are requested. If you use the digital system, import the music to the system, and then organize it so you can find it quickly on the computer system.

Create songbooks for people to search for songs to sing. If you purchase the digital software, generally there is a songbook creator in the software. Otherwise, you can type up songs into the computer and print them out in page format, and then put them together in a book. Organize the music alphabetically by title or artist for ease of use.

Decide on your prices for services--in other words, how much it will cost a business to hire you to come there with your karaoke equipment and have a karaoke show. Compare with other karaoke services in the area to find out the norm.

Promote your business. Make up business cards and start going to local hot spots and nightclubs. Talk to the owners and gauge interest. Come up with ideas so that they will hire you for karaoke gigs. Put free ads on the Internet, such as at the Maryland Party website, listed in Resources. You could also advertise in the newspaper.

Make deals with business owners to have a regular evening each week to have a karaoke gig. This way, you have weekly jobs that continue to make you money. You may play at Club A on Monday evenings, Restaurant C on Tuesdays evenings and Lodge D on Friday nights.

Get karaoke gigs for weddings and private parties. Talk to wedding photographers and wedding-cake makers to get referrals from them when their customers ask about karaoke. You could also have information available at hotels that have meeting spaces, where many private parties and wedding receptions are held.

Maintain professionalism whenever you get a karaoke job. Show up on time and with everything ready to go. Be courteous and friendly to everyone. Word of mouth is one of the ways karaoke businesses thrive, so your reputation is very important in the karaoke world!

Tips & Warnings

  • It's helpful to be a singer yourself if you start a karaoke business, especially if you plan to run the shows. Often, the karaoke DJ starts off the night with the first song to break the ice for everyone else to feel comfortable.
  • There are two main advantages to using the digital karaoke system. You won't have to carry around the CDs, and you can purchase songs individually through download instead of having to buy a whole disc for one song.
  • When you first start trying to get karaoke gigs, don't be too picky. The goal is to establish yourself in the community as a karaoke company, and then as you get more offers, you can increase your selectiveness.

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