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Singers & Hosts Wisdom Post how to be a great karaoke singer or host.

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Old December 6th, 2004, 09:32 PM
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alanross alanross is offline
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Why too much technology may not be best

There was the beginning of a discussion on the Hoster New Features Request thread titled "2 ideas I think are a must!" - if you're just tuning in, please refer to that thread for the back story. As you read through this, please understand that wherever there is an indication of gender, it is purely shorthand to speak in the masculine. I hope no one is offended and urge you to substitute "she" for "he" or "hers" for "his" wherever applicable.

AzKaraoke4,
You bring up a good point that technology often creates new jobs, but this is not always the case.

Technology has enabled the manufacturing institutions of the country to eliminate hundreds of thousands of people from their payrolls since the turn of the 20th century. These previously employed people then had to find gainful employment elsewhere or create their own businesses. Kudos to those that did!

But in this business, that of a Karaoke host, it has been my experience that most of us are not as interested in creating a business as we are in being able to make a living at doing what we love to do. Running the business is the necessary evil of living this life. If you are more businessman than performer, then congratulations on your ability to create new businesses. I salute you and wish you well at whatever business you create. I am not being facetious, I mean that sincerely.

I was fortunate enough to have realized the business opportunites of the job and have made a thriving business out of my passion. But I wouldn't want to have to create another business. I am happy with what I'm doing and we have grown a tremendous following. We work in a resort area that sees a few million tourists every summer. Every bar and nightclub is competing for their business and they'll do whatever they can to capture it because when the summer's over, the income dries up.

I have five systems and we stay busy all year long. We have been voted Best Entertainers (including Bands, DJs Comedians, Acustic acts and Karaoke shows) in several reader's polls in many local newspapers. I have been on radio and television and performed on stage with many national acts. One of my hosts was a regular in the TV series, Dawson's Creek and appeared in a few movies as well. We easily earn 6 figures every year. The main location at which we play is adding an expansion of their building (3600 sq. feet) to accomodate our shows. We have been playing there for more than 8 years and we're there seven days a week. This is a million dollar expansion that they have said is only possible because of the business we bring in for them.

I'm not bragging, these are the facts. I am very proud of what we've accomplished, but I can't take all the credit. We live in a great area for what we do and I've simply capitalized on the potential. We are truly blessed. I tell you all of this to point out that we aren't running a little Karaoke show in a dive bar somewhere in no man's land; that this is more than a weekend hobby to me and that I know what I'm talking about.

Unfortunately, bar owners are a very different sort of personality (and again, I speak in very general terms - there are certainly exceptions). I have been performing in nightclubs and bars for over 25 years and I speak with great experience that most bar owners are looking to minimize their expenses while maximizing their revenues, as any good businessman will do. They are usually very adept at this, except when it comes to entertainment. It never ceases to amaze me how a bar owner can rationalize certain decisions they make regarding their choices of entertainment and the amount of money they are willing to spend on it, without the slightest clue what the return on that investment will be.

I don't know how long you've been doing this, but rest assured, the bar owners will look into buying their own systems and they will try to recruit your employees to run the shows. If they can't get away with that, they will make their own staff run the shows. I have seen it happen twice. The shows are disastrous and they soon realize the huge mistake they have made, but no matter how much you try to warn them in advance, they never seem to learn until they've seen it for themselves.

Then to add insult to injury, they will refuse to admit their mistakes. In one of the two instances, I was told by the wife of the bar owner what a huge mistake they made in buying their own system and that they should bring me back in. I agreed, but she said that her husband was not willing to give in. He was going to make it work. They tried running drink specials on Karaoke night, advertising for private Karaoke parties, playing major sporting events on the big screen during the shows to bring in the sports crowd. Anything he could think of he did. What ended up happening is that all his loyal patrons who had been with him for years couldn't enjoy themselves anymore because the only people that would go there were the lowlifes who couldn't afford to pay the regular price for a drink so they came out on the drink special nights. The crowd shifted and now his bar is a dive that most people avoid and actively tell people to avoid. This began about three years ago and just the other day I ran into his now ex-wife and she said the place is losing money fast and he had to take out a second mortgage on their house to keep it going. It's pitiful really. I'm not ashamed to admit, that the thought of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Any place that has "bad" Karaoke makes it harder for the rest of us to overcome the general disrespect that Karaoke still lives under throughout the country.

Now I realize that this is purely anecdotal and there are other stories to tell, but I speak from experience when I say that you don't want Hoster to do all the work for you. When you choose to do a job, it's fine to have tools to make your job easier, which Hoster does in spades! But it's quite another thing to have that tool do EVERYTHING for you. The last thing Karaoke needs, in general, is hosts who aren't completely dedicated to doing the best job they can. No matter how good the technology, it can't replace the human touch. It's the host that can make or break a show. If the host doesn't have it in them to make the extra effort, if they're looking for a program to do all the work, then what's left?

Hoster is a wonderful tool and I use it not to make the job easier, but to make it more cost efficient. I won't have to replace disks anymore (a huge expense when you have hundreds disks that are used day after day after day) and I love the features that currently exist. The singer's list display, for example, is a wonderful addition. I call it the "Pee Meter" because now people know when they are up next and they can decide if they have enough time to go pee before their turn up to sing. This has been the biggest hit with the audiences. It's a feature that adds to the show, but doesn't take anything away from my job.

I have a great respect for MTU and all their products. I have their entire line. As far as I am concerned, there is no better company in this business on the planet. I have met the head of MTU and he is not only brilliant, but honest and sincere. He is dedicated to producing the best product possible at the best price he can deliver - not because it's good business - but because it's the right thing to do. He is a man of strong moral fiber and I hold him in high esteem.

My objection to the ideas in the previous thread were no slight to MTU or their creative genius, it was a caution to all Karaoke hosts that we need not get too greedy or lazy. Most people have no idea what it takes to implement a new feature into the programming and it's easy to throw out ideas - which MTU encourages. They love to hear what users think, so they can better their product. And again, I have nothing against new ideas, I also encourage them - I often offer them myself. But we must bear in mind that there is a break-even point where the more you add, begins to become a detriment.

My reply to the ideas was not to quash the creative juices, but to splash a little reality back into the whirlwind that was beginning to swirl around these ideas. Ideas left unchecked can sweep one down treacherous roads. I only interjected into the discussion because I wanted to address the good people in the forum. I meant no slight to the participants in the forum, just that I have seen the dark side and was willing to share my experience. There are two sides to every coin and I was simply flipping the coin over.

I am confident that MTU will thoroughly consider the requests and take into account all aspects of the options before proceeding. If they decide to implement the ideas suggested, it will be because they have heard from far more people than we can imagine and the combined experience of all those people is WAY greater than mine. I will support whatever they decide.

Thoughtfully,
- Alan
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  #2  
Old December 6th, 2004, 10:30 PM
quaizywabbit quaizywabbit is offline
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Re: Why too much technology may not be best

After all the automation has been added, what's left to separate you from the rest is the sound quality, the selection, and most importantly, the Host and his/her attention to detail........
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Old December 6th, 2004, 10:32 PM
Wallymeister Wallymeister is offline
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Talking Re: Why too much technology may not be best

First of all, technology is going to happen. MTU will have to go with the times to stay on top of newer technologies. If it means that MTU only sells their products to bar owners then thats what they'll have to do.

Second, it takes a certain passion to run a Karaoke Show right, fair and congenial. If a bar owner wants to hire and does hire someone who will do the job with a passion for a fair price then that my friend will be a part of the times. That means I as a KJ will have to take my equipment somewhere else and convince another bar owner that I can bring in business to his establishment, maybe because Joe Blow is going to lose customers because of his most recent business decision. I also have seen bar owners try to purchase their own systems and run their own shows, but it didn't last long. Mostly in my estimation is because the show loses something with a kj that doesn't know what they're doing (set the sound, etc.) and of course only a few hundred songs to choose from.

If a bar owner really wants karaoke, and he tries several kj's and is not happy with any of them he might be the type to get a wild hair and buy his own system but I don't think any bar owner really wants that. It's our jobs as kj's to keep up with the technologies to help us do the most professional shows we can without getting stressed. Technology is the answer. Keep up with it or just stay with old systems and watch others pass you.

My 2 cents!
Wally
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