Everyone loves the newest ‘thing’ – the most updated version of phones, TV’s, tablets, anything. Old fashioned equals bad, new equals good, right? Not always. There’s a reason some older versions are still around. They may not be as fast or as cool, but they still work and can have their own particular perks. Some karaoke enthusiasts may disagree, but I prefer the old school way of choosing what to sing from the somewhat hefty songbook versus the new digitized way. The completely computerized system that has crept up in more and more venues requires the singer
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to already know what they want to sing on the spot. Sure, this is much quicker than perusing a big ol’ binder alphabetically by artist/song, but what if you’re in the mood for something completely different than what you usually sing and you need a little help to find it? A lot of karaoke regulars have their stand-by’s that they always sing, so this is not an issue for them. These old pro’s just walk up to the KJ, supply the song name and they’re all set. If they want to try a different song, since it is the age of smart phones, they could just type in a favorite artist name in their cell and check the options. But what if you feel like going another way, and want to sing something older or a tune that wasn’t in the top 20, so it’s not so easy to think of or look up? I recently had the opportunity to try both formats in the same week. The first venue was completely digitized, so I asked for 3 of my regular tunes that I sing everywhere. To my shock, they didn’t have a single one of them! I tried 2 more and still no luck! Some of them were oldies, but the others were from a massively popular era – the 80’s! Are
these new modern karaoke systems sacrificing quantity for supposed better quality? I was with some girls that had never tried karaoke, which is also a good point. If you are new at this and don’t have an arsenal of ‘go-to’ songs, then not having the option of a list can hinder your motivation or confidence. None of the other girls did ever go up and sing. Since I didn’t want a karaoke opportunity to pass me by, I finally thought of a song (that they actually had!) and sang my heart out. Still, I inexplicably felt myself wanting to grab a book, flop it on the table, and flip through hundreds of songs that I knew were available. I had the chance to do just that later on in the week at a different karaoke spot. This was a cozier place, but the people were very nice and personable. The stage was smaller, which actually made me more comfortable. They not only had the old fashioned big karaoke song books (in which I always find a song that I never would have thought of on my own!), but I didn’t need them this time because they had my regular stand-by’s! The KJs that still use the old books do have a computerized system, so the sound quality is still there. And I always see the binders out in front of customers scanning them for songs, so they aren’t gathering dust in a corner somewhere. You decide – are paper lists too archaic or just the retro and convenient flashback we need?
by Cindy Starr