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Old January 29th, 2009, 01:56 PM
madjim- with the Lord madjim- with the Lord is offline
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How Are Economic Changes Effecting Your Karaoke Business At The Start Of 2009?

Where are you located and how are the present economic changes effecting your Karaoke business at the start of 2009?

I host karaoke in South Georgia USA. At one place where I hosted karaoke for over two years I had to stop. Their lunch business fell off and I acquired a large group of water drinkers that helped kill the karaoke. Here is the thread on the water drinkers:

http://forum.mtu.com/showthread.php?t=10633

I started working a bigger room but there was very little business. It's been a slow start but the karaoke is picking up nicely. At one club where I work weekly there has been little change other than having to close an hour earlier. At another place we are getting a later crowd.

I've also been putting off buying some new songs. My belt is pulled up tight but I'm still breathing.

I'm very thankful for the opportunity to entertain for a living and I'm not complaining but I feel I can safely say that this turn of events was set in motion by The United State's sluggish economy. Some of us may have to make adjustments and some may not but either way I know GOD has it under control and will keep us going no matter the economic changes.

I'm just curious, how are things in your back yard or across the pond? Anybody else seeing changes in their business?

Jim
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Old January 29th, 2009, 05:17 PM
gators66 gators66 is offline
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Hi,

From a business standpoint its hard for me to comment intelligently on the subject at hand. I'm still relatively new to this industry and although I thoroughly enjoy it, I have no tenure.
I can say that as an karaoke enthusiast I have noticed a little drop off in the venues I frequent. I think folks are a little tighter with their purse strings than they used to be for obvious reasons. It appears to be very sporatic at these places. One week its packed with people spending money and having fun and then next week its a ghost town.
Unfortunately, with the "economy" (god, I'm tired of hearing that word) the way it is it may get even tougher. I'm thankful like you to have a few gigs and can only hope for the best. After all, most call me an eternal optimist!!!
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Old January 29th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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Jim,

The economy & bar business around here is upside down. Bars with poor management/ownership have suffered because of the smoking ban, added pressure from the " blue meanies " stalking the parking lots, and liquor prices that keep going up.

I'm on the Arizona/ Mexico border south of Tucson about 65 miles. Most of my bars and night clubs that I gig in are medium size ( 50 - 100 capacity ). I have built shows where I don't move around much. I see ownership and management changes but my shows usually survive new ownership if they have checked the books, they understand that Karaoke night(s) pays a lot of the bills/payroll that the other nights (DJ, Ladies Night, Pool Tournaments, etc.) can't match. I don't charge as much as I should, but then again there is little competition from other KJ's in this area. My prices have remained the same since I started 15 years ago, and I foresee no changes as long as the bar and me both make money.

I used to manage a bowling center, and it had a small lounge that was under used, so I hired a KJ to come down from Tucson, better than break even for the business. Then another KJ moved into the area, and I hired him as he didn't charge mileage and turned out to be better, and the Karaoke night got bigger until we were at capacity ( actually over full ) and the boss was thrilled to see the lounge make some money for a change, and all was good for about 6 mos, then this KJ moved out of town and I decided that I could run the show if the boss would buy the equipment. We struck a deal where he put up the money to buy the equipment, and I would be the KJ, working the shows for free for 2 yrs, and then the equipment would be mine!

I left the bowling business a few years later, and took my show to another venue as a part-time thing, and before I knew it I was booked 3 or 4 nights a week around town, and holding down a full time day job. It got to be a strain on the day job, so I cut back to 2 shows for about 7 or 8 years with the ocassional private party, wedding, thrown in, when I chose to do them. I was turning down a lot of private parties because of my contracted gigs, and not wanting to get the KJ burnout again.

The economy around here revolves around the Mexican produce industry, and border tourism. One is seasonal about 7 - 8 months out of the year, and all the businesses used to hibernate for the other 4 -5 months that depend on the produce season. So while the season is here, everything is groovy and the $$$ flows freely, then it ends and everyone tightens their belts and waits for the next season to return. So we're used to seeing swings in the economy around here, and the produce and satellite industries haven't felt the pinch that most of the rest of the country has felt. In that respect we are lucky.

Then there's the bar's that sometimes dont know how to survive in the interim, or try to open while the season is gone, and don't make it past the first year or two. We have alot of added police presence that has the bar patrons scared to come out and booze it like the old days, and the no smoking ban has run a few people away from the bars, and the tourism has felt the economic turn down, so most of the bars are complaining. My Karaoke nights are still packing the places, and I know that Karaoke is like blue chip stock ( stock market? ). Everybody has a good time at my shows, no matter if they just watch, dance, or sing. Whatever comes in the door I can entertain, no matter if they are eight or eighty. We all should feel blessed that we can provide a service that makes almost everybody happy, and get paid for it! Good Luck, and be prosperous!

Rick
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Old January 29th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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I can tell you in my area (SW Missouri) the bar business has taken a pretty big hit. My business is down 15% from last year. The beer companies have told me their overall business is down 10% and has shifted 25% to the package stores away from the bars. I am lucky that I have been in business for a long time and know how to trim the overhead. Out of the 25 bars in my town, 4 have closed in the last 6 months. I still have 2 employees, but if worse came to worse, I could still do it myself with a cordless headset. I don't see myself going to that extreme, but I could if I had to. In my first 5 years of business, it was just me. Then, thanks to karaoke, I have had to hire employees.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 06:45 PM
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over the years that i've been playing ( 10 yrs. in a band as a guitar player over south east asia ) and moved to united states, i started doing karaoke when everybody was still using cassette tapes i accumulated a bunched of gears, replaced old gears with new ones, i ended up with big 12 speakers, ( 2 and 3 ways speakers, 4 subs, and 7 amps ) spent closed /over $12,000,not including my newly acquired Mackie set-up, laptops etc., about 6 months ago i was doing a private party around Miami , Fl. someone asked me if i have any equipments for sale, jokingly told him i'm selling all the stuff he sees on stage( except my laptops ) for half of what i paid for, 2 weeks later he called me up and wanted to buy everything, i sold it to him, not knowing or thinking that he'll be doing the private parties i've been doing for people in Miami for yearsfor less than i was asking... now back to karaoke, i've been playing at this restaurant/bar ever since they opened ( almost 4 years now ) they were supposed to renovate the place and that didnt happen, and now they are asking me if i could play for less money, i told them i would, since playing karaoke is not main source of income, ( i knew the owner )but when they told me that i would only be getting a percentage of sales that night, and i have to pay for my tabs, which i never did before, and now they also wanted to raise the price on drinks the reason for these was they are not making enough money, to make long story short, i'm not playing there anymore...so now i'm only doing small private parties( karaoke/djing ) around West Palm Beach, Florida for less hours and same money when i was doing karaoke
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Old January 29th, 2009, 08:25 PM
muzicman144 muzicman144 is offline
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The Economy

I do a one man show, w/guitar, piano. Have been for 20 years, starting using backup tracks when they were on cassette. Stopped the road travel five years ago. Play mainly military and/or private clubs. Used to be alot of Karaoke competition, but with things down, i have found where i play, most demand is for shows such as I do. Matter of fact, they are paying more now for my type of show than before, and cutting out any karaoke that isn't quality. The better class of Karaoke shows here still have work, but the less professional karaoke shows are really suffering. The people who frequent these clubs that i play tend to be older and would rather dance than watch karoke. I am offered more jobs now for more money than before the crunch.
I know I am more than fortunate that things are this way, and, at a time like this. I didn't expect it.
I do beleive karaoke is here to stay and a great outlet for everyone.
muzicman
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Old January 29th, 2009, 08:50 PM
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Well, I can say that the economy has had an effect on the bar business, and has had a trickle down effect on just about every other aspect. I am now no longer at a place that I had been running karaoke for over eight years. Business slowed down, people just could not afford to go out as often, and prices went up. There has also been an influx of people buying computers relatively inexpensive and then free downloading their songs, then getting multiple systems and offering to work on a.....sliding scale. It's the old "I will work for free for the first or second night, then we will see" or, I will work for $75.00, and the club owner pass a percentage more, if the bar rings up more." I have stayed consistent with my rates, but, it makes it tough to compete against people that just...POP in for little expense. Sorry, if I offend anyone, but, over the years, I have quite an investment in this business. I have been in the entertainment business for 40 years. I was a traveling musician, then came off the road and played. Bands went through hell for a period of time. It got very cut-throat. When I was 18, I was making $500.00 to $600.00 a week, for 4 night, plus my meals and room. When I more or less quit playing, in Spokane, it was a struggle to get $25.00 a night; because bands would work that cheap. When I first started running karaoke, I was running karaoke during the week, and playing in a band on weekends. BOY, did I catch hell from fellow musicians. They said I was a traitor, and I hurt THEIR business. Actually, I just combined the two. I had a wife and daughter to support. Well, I digress...sorry. Yes, I have definitely seen the economy effect this business. Daryl.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by RIKKI TIKKI View Post
Jim,

I'm on the Arizona/ Mexico border south of Tucson about 65 miles. Most of my bars and night clubs that I gig in are medium size ( 50 - 100 capacity ). I have built shows where I don't move around much. I see ownership and management changes but my shows usually survive new ownership if they have checked the books, they understand that Karaoke night(s) pays a lot of the bills/payroll that the other nights (DJ, Ladies Night, Pool Tournaments, etc.) can't match. I don't charge as much as I should, but then again there is little competition from other KJ's in this area. My prices have remained the same since I started 15 years ago, and I foresee no changes as long as the bar and me both make money.
Rick
Rikki Tikki Karaoke
Although there is another thread on this, how much do you charge, may I ask?
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Old January 30th, 2009, 07:59 PM
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Although there is another thread on this, how much do you charge, may I ask?
Sundays - Thursday ---- $50 / hr
Fri, Sat, Private Parties ---- $75 / hr


Rick
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Old January 31st, 2009, 01:43 AM
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Sundays - Thursday ---- $50 / hr
Fri, Sat, Private Parties ---- $75 / hr


Rick
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How many hours a night?
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Old January 31st, 2009, 08:32 AM
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How many hours a night?
My current gigs are 4 hrs. ( I have a two hour minimum ). Have never done less than 3 hrs, even though my publicity fliers state that minimum for all gigs.

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Old January 31st, 2009, 10:50 AM
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i got a call from the owner of the rest./bar where i used to play and i had a talk with the owner, he suggested that if i could charge a dollar for every cust. that wanted to sing,( just like they do in asia ) they will just pay me the diff. i thought about it for a minute and since doing karaoke is not my main source of income , i decided not to take the offer, i have friends that come in every fridays ( i only play 1 night a week ) and spent a lot of money on beer , food and wine and i can't see myself charging them..and if i do word will go around that i charge people to sing and thats's not cool..i am now thinking of just throwing in the towel, give up playing in bars, i'll just do private paries, ( i wont do weddings though )
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Old January 31st, 2009, 11:46 AM
muzicman144 muzicman144 is offline
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The Economy

I look for the karaoke clubs to go to the Machine that plays a karaoke song w/video screen and sound set up that sells for about $3,000, has about 30,000 karaoke songs, and do away with the karaoke host. Just put in your dollar and sing.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 01:28 PM
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I look for the karaoke clubs to go to the Machine that plays a karaoke song w/video screen and sound set up that sells for about $3,000, has about 30,000 karaoke songs, and do away with the karaoke host. Just put in your dollar and sing.
muzicman

it's the same thing as if you'are the charging the customers to sing,i know someone that has that kind of gears, it's one of those sing along mic, some of them even has more songs than that ( in a chip ) the only thing with that is ,it sounds like you're in a tunnel and it gives you an score after you got than singing,and applause ,if you hit around 99 ( score ) and thats not a professional gear..i dont think it cost that much..around $300 it depends on how many songs are in a chip..
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Old January 31st, 2009, 02:25 PM
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I think he means these things: http://www.acekaraoke.com/jblease.html
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Old January 31st, 2009, 04:53 PM
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I think he means these things: http://www.acekaraoke.com/jblease.html

that's a nice gear, i read the method of payment on that and in my opinion the only people thats going to make money are acekaraoke and the owner of the establishment, 50% to ace ( depends on how much you put down as a down payment ) and of course you have to give some to the establishment for using the place and electric, and how many people do you think will use it and how often, i think you'll be lucky to net $100 a week or less..
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Old January 31st, 2009, 05:22 PM
muzicman144 muzicman144 is offline
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The Economy

No, CAVS sells a self contained system w/15,000- 30,000 songs, built in key change, video screen, 500 watt system for about $3,000. You buy and don't share with anyone. Has built in slot for money and money changer. It ain't cheap.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 05:30 PM
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To make something like that work (as an individual) you would need to buy the machines and convince establishment owners to let you put one in their place of business for a cut of the profits. In other words become a jukebox/pool tables/pin ball/electronics games provider for the locations around you. I had an uncle who had that kind of business in Oklahoma back in the 60's and he made good money from it.
Billyo I think this is probably aimed more at bar/restuarant owners as a way to have Karaoke with out having to hire a KJ. Not a good thing for us, but expensive enough that I don't think it will go over that well. Besides if you look at the list of requirements #1 is that you must be within 50 miles of Ace Karaoke. That kind of limits their sales.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:47 AM
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My current gigs are 4 hrs. ( I have a two hour minimum ). Have never done less than 3 hrs, even though my publicity fliers state that minimum for all gigs.

Rick
Rikki Tikki Karaoke
Yes, but are these gigs that you play at , are they every week at the same place and keep your equipment at the place as well?
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:45 AM
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Yes, but are these gigs that you play at , are they every week at the same place and keep your equipment at the place as well?
I'm Mobile, with setup & tear down every night!

I have found that the change in atmosphere by switching venues increases my base of regular singers, and allows for the show to have fresh faces that wouldn't necessarily travel the 20 +/- miles to the 3 gigs I currently play in!

I base out of Nogales, then travel 20 miles east to Patagonia, or 10 miles north to Rio Rico. Different crowd of regulars in each place, and thus don't allow the show to die due to overkill.

The Nogales gig I've done for 13 years, the Rio Rico gig is a Resort, where I did 3 years at the golf country club, then they asked me to move to the main hotel property where I've been for the past 3 years, for a total of 6 years, and the Patagonia gig is in limbo this month while they are changing ownership and remodeling to increase the size. I took over that show 3 years ago from one of my proteges that left the Karaoke business. I have been lucky enough to have a waiting list built up for the 3 nights that I presently allow myself / Wed-Fri-Sat ( I bowl Mon & Thur - Ha! ), but like I tell them when I contract to them, you've heard the rest, now you have the best! Building the show takes cooperation and commitment from the management and the Karaoke host, and that can only be done over the long haul, and if they are not willing to help me promote, and commit to things that my standards dictate, then I am wasting my time and their money, and the show will not prosper, and neither of us will make money!

You have to sell the sizzle at the beginning, and then be able to back it up by doing all the things that you promised! I feel my longivity has been perpetuated by being honest upfront, and delivering a first class package that allows the venue to make money. Advantage goes to the professional Karaoke host if you don't try to place your shows where they don't belong!

If you can't compete with a Karaoke jukebox - you have chosen the wrong line of work! Did I mention that it is alot of work, and not for the fly by nights, and the thin skinned, or faint of heart?

Rick
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