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Thread: Karaoke song lists at gigs

  1. #1
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    Karaoke song lists at gigs

    We're now taking karaoke bookings and have a few in the pipeline already for this year and 2023. We've got all the gear now, a decent (Yamaha) mixer, several radio mics, two TV screens, etc. The last thing we need to do is compile a list of karaoke song books.

    I wasn't going to bother doing this, but I'm sure that such books are essential (or at least they used to be) at karaoke gigs. When I last did karaoke, I took out a large binder with songs listed alphabetically, firstly by artist's name and again by song title. It was like an encyclopaedia! It was HUGE! I only had one and that would be passed around the various tables.

    Chatting to a friend recently who does the occasional karaoke gig, he told me that there is no need to have a huge binder which lists thousands of songs. He simply takes out a small binder with half a dozen pages which lists the most popular songs, i.e. those which are more likely to be requested at a typical karaoke gig. He also has a small disclaimer which states that he has many, many other songs and just to "ask if it's not listed".

    Seems reasonable to me. Enter my girlfriend, who assures me that you cannot do it this way and that I MUST have all the songs listed twice, alphabetically, as mentioned above.

    My personal preference would be to list the most popular songs from each genre. Perhaps 100 or so for these and also for each decade. Maybe then list a few others in the traditional alphabetical order. I am now wondering how big a job this is going to be.

    The questions I have are:

    1. Is there a traditional MUST DO format for karaoke song collections?

    2. Does such a list have to be huge? i.e. include thousands of songs?

    3. Do karaoke DJs even bother with such folders these days?

    A simple enough issue I suppose, but we just want to get this right.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Truck Driver Dix's Avatar
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    I printed out a list once. It wasn't pretty but it was a list. I cant remember how I did it exactly but, there is a way that you can print right from the list off your HD. Just Google it. The instructions are out there.

    I had to view the files in the "List" format, & there is a way you can print that list.

    The down side to this was, it printed exactly what you see. I could never find a way to sort & make it print the sorted list. It prints the files listed one way... period. So you cant sort it by artist, then by song title and print it both ways. But, its a list.

    Good luck.....
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  3. #3
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    Dix, you need my girlfriend (Well, you can't actually have her .... ) but she understands how to manipulate databases like you wouldn't believe! It was part of her job some years ago and she never forgot the skill. She has sorted and formatted a HUUUUGE list of more than 70,000+ songs! OK, the huuuge majority of these are duplicates, but she's got rid of those too! I now have a clean and well-organised list and will attempt to select tracks from this and organise them into some kind of meaningful presentation for the purpose. So that angle is covered, thankfully.

    I DO know what it's like to struggle with databases. Maintaining some kind of 'standard' is the way to go, but when you didn't compile the database yourself, you might find columns are separated in different ways, with multiple kinds of 'breaks' and 'delimiters' and other stuff I do not understand, then you have to export/import lists into other programmes so they can be manipulated in other ways, everything gets messed up so easily. Lots of hair gets pulled out. Not easy for me as I am losing it fast. This karaoke song list is not my own. It's a database somebody let me have for the ease of organising it into the list I need, but I'm pretty sure I have all the tracks included in it.

    The database now has two columns. 'Artist' and 'Title'. Ah ... some of these are the wrong way round. But that's a relatively easy one to sort out. Lots of 'Save's and backups along the way. I can sort this little problem easily enough, but WOW is it time consuming! Something WILL go wrong, there's no doubt.

    Still wondering how other karaoke DJs present their song lists - and if they actually do this anymore. I'm just guessing that things have changed since I last did this.

  4. #4
    Moderator pete's Avatar
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    any chance you could just upload the database to google documents, or something, then have the customers just look through on their phones?

    probably quicker and more convenient than flicking through pages.

    but it depends on the age of clientele I guess...
    bored, curious, deaf or just bad taste in music?
    finally a mix by me
    and what's this, another shoddy mix...another dull mix

  5. #5
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    Good one. Thanks.

    I have to wonder how many customers would have access to such apps or even know what Google docs is.

    When I last used Google Docs for a project I had running about ten or more years ago, it had many limitations and really didn't like large lists. It would break along the rows when searching. You can imagine it "Cha Cha Slide" by Metallica. "Mr. Brightside" by Michael Buble, "Achy Breaky Heart" by The Sex Pistols, etc. I've seen such things happen.

    Now then, I could add this to an online database on our website, but would there be bandwidth issues? Hmm. Probably not because online databases written in php/MySQL are physically small anyway, so that's a real possibility. Not many people don't have mobile phones with them. Interesting. We already have a textline for requests.

    Still wondering how karaoke DJs organise their songs.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Member b.ill's Avatar
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    I no longer do karaoke song books. I have an old one I haven't updated in 10 years if someone really wants one, but no one does these days.

    It all depends on how much work you want to put into your show John. There are Karafun hosts who don't allow anything else, guys who still use their own collections, and guys like me who do both plus go digging on Youtube if I don't have it. It's so seldom that I can't find a karaoke version of a song that I just tell everyone to write their name and the song they want to sing on a slip. If I can't find it, I'll go to their table and let them know. But it just doesn't come up very often.

    The other regular show in my area doesn't use books either. I think it may depend on what being done in yours. Check out other shows you will be in competition with, and see what they're doing.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for this b.ill. Interesting.

    We actually took time out to visit a couple of local karaoke pubs over the weekend to see how they did things. I know this is not the same as a mobile disco/karaoke (and I found another DJ friend who has a very simple few pages of the most popular karaoke songs in a small folder which is passed around the crowd. He also says it's not really worth bothering with a large folder for each table, etc.) The local pubs we visited didn't have song books. The karaoke presentation was very basic but great fun. Clearly a local DJ for the locals. They were both good nights out, but my other half enjoyed the first pub so much she wants to go back there again. It's actually within walking distance from my house.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this. I know these questions might be pretty simple in themselves, but I want to be sure I get things right. We might have a single book of song titles which can be looked through if anybody wants it, but we will be keeping it simple.

    Much appreciated!
    Last edited by John Faulkner; 11-21-2022 at 05:08 PM.

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