Karaoke box venues exist in nearly every major city in the world, including Scandinavian ones, but up until recently Copenhagen still lacked its dedicated karaoke space. Two creative entrepreneurs Simon Bergkjær and Sam Loomes wanted to change that and they founded a fresh new karaoke pop-up called City Pop. In that Copenhagen's new karaoke gem, customers can rent a private booth to sing and have fun without having to share the stage with anyone else.
Singa had an amazing opportunity to interview one half of City Pop, Mr. Simon Bergkjær this month. He shared some inspiring findings on how they built a success story with karaoke.
You have run City Pop since early May. How has the start been?
The initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. You can really see that people are excited to go out again after this lockdown period and we just want to provide a fun activity that can bring people together again. It [the pop up karaoke box] is a little different, but people are really into the concept. So many of the people we spoke to had been waiting for something just like this.
Many of the people we spoke to had been waiting for something just like this. – Simon Bergkjær, founder of City Pop
What do you need to start a pop up karaoke venue?
We’re still figuring that out! Fundamentally, it all depends on the kind of experience that you want to offer. We were set on providing a karaoke experience centred around a private room, so obviously finding the right space was key for us. We’re also very big into the “little” details that can really elevate the experience for customers: the right wine, the right snacks, the right lighting. But that’s not necessarily for everyone. You could probably have fun doing karaoke with your friends passing a phone around. We had a clear experience-goal in mind first and then worked towards that.
Do you run everything by yourselves or do you have other staff?
So far, City Pop is 100% us two. So, in-terms of everything from building concept and branding to taking bookings and running the venue, we’re doing all of that ourselves. Though it’s important to note that it wouldn’t have been possible without Øen, the venue we are using.
Øen is an amazing venue to do a karaoke pop-up because it’s just the right size for a single group and it’s a really charming space. Normally it runs as a small live-music venue with great sound quality. We don’t think there’re many karaoke places in the world where you get to sing over a Funktion-One sound system. We’re thrilled that they let us to use it!
How do you market your venue and what's your target group?
100% of what we have done has been focusing on Instagram. We saw the social media platform as the easiest way to get started, and we’ll only expand if/when we need to. All of our bookings are taken through our instagram @citypopkaraoke. Groups of 6-10 people get 1 hour 45 minutes of karaoke for 100 DKK per person in a private venue where they can really relax and enjoy themselves.
We have done pretty much zero as far as marketing goes. We shared the news around to our friends and let things build naturally from there. We made an illuminated sign to put outside the venue though lol. That felt important.
There are no requirements for you to be a good singer, actually it’s more fun if you aren’t.
As for our target group, it’s everyone. We love karaoke because it’s pure fun. It’s an inclusive activity that doesn’t require you to drink (though it might help). And, as you have the space to your own group, there is no requirement for you to be a good singer, actually it’s more fun if you aren’t. Our aim is to simply provide an entertaining experience that makes everyone feels welcome.
How has coronavirus affected to your plans and do you do some special security measures?
The timing is perfect as it’s an ideal activity for this period of the pandemic. As Denmark is opening up again, we can provide an experience that’s specifically suited to small individual groups. With coronapass we can make sure that everyone is either vaccinated or recently tested negative, and we’ve set aside enough time to clean the space and equipment between each group just to make sure that we are providing a safe experience.
The timing is perfect as it’s an ideal activity for this period of the pandemic.
Why did you choose Singa as a karaoke provider?
We were looking for a service that has a great catalog but also provides a stable, usable interface. We just give our customers the iPad and let them take control, so it’s critical for us that the app is intuitive and robust enough that people can get to have fun as quickly as possible. Singa’s new karaoke box mode is perfectly suited for our use-case, which is great. I should also say that their customer support has been very thorough and I feel very confident in the system, which is what you need for this business.
Singa’s new karaoke box mode is perfectly suited for our use-case, which is great.
What are your plans once the pop up period is over?
We’re open-minded. The response so far has been very positive and lots of people have been asking when our next set of dates will be announced. There’s definitely the opportunity for us to do it again, but we’re also interested in expanding the experience with the help of new collaborators. So if you are interested in working together, send us a message on Instagram.
Visit City Pop at Øen Mimersgade, (opposite number 60), Nørrebro 2200, Copenhagen. All the karaoke slots are unfornately fully booked for May, but let's hope they will open more soon!