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Author Topic: Karaoke Contests  (Read 14144 times)

Offline Fabio

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Karaoke Contests
« on: August 05, 2013, 10:07:06 PM »
So at one of the bars I host, we've started talking about having singing contest...the problem is I've never hosted one and I wouldn't know where to start and the bar itself has never hosted one either.  This bar is actually my busiest and I'm just wondering if it's such a good idea.  My thinking is that you want to hold a contest because you want to attract more customers.  I did a google search about how to host one and pretty much all I read was negative.  Has anybody done any contests and what's your take on it?

-Fabio
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Offline Justin

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 01:24:14 AM »
We did one every year at Schane's Bar when I hosted there. With the right promotion and planning, it really does bring in a lot of customers. At our finales the place was standing-room-only. We had taken down the pool tables and everything to fit everyone in.

I had created some sheets for the judges (hand-picked by the bar owner, non-singers from out of town to eliminate bias) to fill out for each contestant. We let each contestant sing one or two "warm-up" songs, and choose their qualifying song, picking 2 qualifiers each week. Then I created a "weekly" sheet to tally up the winners for each week. We did elimination for the semi-finals, and then the finale was down to the top 10.

It worked out to 12 weeks total for the contest, 10 weeks of qualifying, the semi-finals and then the finale. We saw growth through the entire contest, with the $1000 grand prize keeping people's interest. Some came to sing, others came just to watch. It's like the American Idol phenomenon, people love watching others win/lose/fail/embarrass themselves :)

And believe me, the owner made out big-time. He put up the $1000 cash prize, had posters made up by the Miller distributor, advertised on the marquee and Facebook, etc. He made that thousand back several times over just on finale night alone...

If you have a halfway decent following of singers, you should have no problem having a successful contest. Ask around to your customers and see what they think about it. It takes a lot of planning and promotion, and you'll definitely want an "official rules" posted at the bar and available, to eliminate any disputes. I just looked and can't find my contest rules, I'm sure I posted them on Facebook but this was a few years ago...
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Offline Justin

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 01:33:04 AM »
I found a file from another contest I did in 2006 at another bar. I am not sure why the formatting got screwed up, it was an older Word document that I no longer seem to be able to open properly... so attached is a simple text file that needs some cleanup, but it gives an idea of how we spelled out the rules.

I'm pretty sure in my later contests we had revised the rules to handle any problems we had with customer complaints, etc...

Just another note - the attached file was my first time hosting a contest, and it seems to go better in the Winter than in the summer. The last couple I did were in the Winter on Sunday nights, brought in HUGE crowds... I think the last one was in 2010, we had people bring in food, had drink specials etc, and it went over very well. It boils down to promotion, getting people excited about it.

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 01:38:59 AM by Justin »
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Justin

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 01:45:41 AM »
FaceBook keeps changing things, and I can't figure out how to search within my own timeline (I type "karaoke contest" and I get results from other people)... but if you go back a few years there's pictures etc from our contests and other parties:

https://www.facebook.com/jmandj

I know for a fact I had posted the "official rules" either there, or on Schane's Bar's page, back when we did the contests... just can't find the post right now.
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline Fabio

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2013, 02:11:34 PM »
Well, I tried to find the "newer" rules you mentioned on your page or Schane's and finally gave up...FB does not make it easy to find anything!  The ones you posted on text file will help.

I'm just concerned what was mentioned on this post:

http://www.requestyoursong.com/index.php/home/22-how-to-run-a-karaoke-contest

I know you live in a small town, so this stuff might not be an issue...but I'm concerned about singers who probably will come sing and maybe even win and never come back to the bar and the good singers we do have will get pissed off and never want to come back.  We may not want to run it for 10 weeks, I'm thinking about 6 would be enough...we talked about a $5 entry fee...but maybe that's not the cool thing to do?

-Fabio


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Offline Justin

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 06:06:02 PM »
We do get a lot of non-regulars at the contests I've hosted. One rule of thumb is that I kept the "qualification" round limited to two hours. I ran from 9pm to 1am (or later), but you could only qualify for the contest between 10 and midnight. This left room for other singers to sing just for fun, and allowed for contestants to do a practice song if they wished.

For the qualifying weeks, the judges were myself, the bar owner, and the bartender. This was just to decide which two singers would advance to the semi-finals; at the end of the night the three of us would sit down and pick two. We did our best not to favor regulars or friends...

Down to the final rounds, the bar owner brought in some people he knows from Chicago, in various music-related fields, gave them free drinks and probably some cash...

There are *always* arguments from the vocal minority about how it must be rigged etc, but most people just enjoy watching the contest and seeing who leaves with that grand prize.

The last one I did was the only one where we did a $1000 prize, and the girl who won is only an occasional customer. She has 3 small kids and really needed the money - and based on her singing she really deserved it as well. People appreciated that, and didn't argue much about who won. It turns out she has tried out for American Idol when they were in Chicago - she didn't get in, but she was good enough to at least get an audition...

Like I said before, you might ask your regular singers what they think about a contest, without mentioning any specific prize amount, just to get a feel for how it might go over.

As for the duration, we went with 12 weeks (10 qualifying then semi/finals) because shorter contests didn't build up the momentum and excitement about the finals as much. You can give each qualifier a business card with the Semi and Finale dates written on the back to ensure that they, and their "cheering section" who will of course be buying drinks, will remember to be there. This also gets a business card for yourself out there that they are sure to hang on to :)

If you print your own at home like I do, you could even do special cards just for qualifiers, that mention the bar, contest date/time, etc... I didn't do that but I only thought of it just now :)  That would create a memento they will probably keep, and if they ever need a DJ...
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline vcationguy

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 08:51:59 AM »
I think that article from Fabio talked me out of any contests.  lol  Maybe trivia or something in conjunction with karaoke.  The only problem is that sometimes there are so many singers, you don't have time for even a dance song because you want to get the singers in.

Offline Justin

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 12:59:57 PM »
In general, it is a huge pain in the ... it's only when the bar owner insists that I do it. I think it's always the bar owner's idea, never the DJ/host. In a desperate attempt to get customers in, bar owners dump the extra work on their DJ to pull together a contest.

In my experience it wasn't all that bad, but again, small town, lots of regulars who live very near by, etc. I've heard many of horror stories, from other DJs I know personally as well as online...

So in short, unless the bar owner insists, don't initiate it :)  In fact try to talk him or her out of it, maybe printing out the website linked above as an example :)
-- Justin Nelson, CEO
   Next Generation Software, Inc.
   http://www.vdj.net/

Offline john flecher

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 08:07:11 AM »
just in case you are still thinking about holding a karaoke comp .
if you all ready have a busy venue they can be a pain cause they up set regular singers
one way I got round it was by running the comp over a month and only letting a certain about enter at a time I,e 5 a night
then for the final I would change the day from the  normal day . this way .if it was normally a Saturday would have it on a Thursday or Friday .this kept regular singers happy and a  very happy venue owner

Offline Fabio

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Re: Karaoke Contests
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2014, 02:38:25 PM »

No, thank God, the owner decided we were busy enough and didn't need one.  I hope I never get asked to do one. 

I do like your suggestion to change the day, though.  If for some reason I'm forced to do one, I'll to do this.

-Fabio


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