If you've ever tiptoed in the karaoke world, you're bound to see these names: Sunfly, Legends, Sound Choice, Party Tyme, Sweet Georgia Brown, Stingray, Vocal Star, Zoom, etc., whether it's when you're browsing for a song to sing at a karaoke bar, on Youtube (ugh), or in our Singa karaoke app. What are these karaoke brands? No wait, are they bands? Karaoke versions? Manufacturers? Official karaoke companies? Karaoke-song-providing something-somethings?
Before going further, if you want to skip the reading part and move straight to singing (no hard feelings, I get it), you can find over 80 000 karaoke versions of both classic and new songs online in Singa, just one click away.
Now, let's resume the business! What on earth are Sunfly, Legends, Sound Choice, Party Tyme, Sweet Georgia Brown, Stingray, Vocal Star, Zoom and all the rest? Surely they have nothing to do with the genres of music you like to sing or that the music comes from a computer or a disc. And they are everywhere.
What on earth are Sunfly, Legends, Sound Choice, Party Tyme, Sweet Georgia Brown, Stingray, Vocal Star, Zoom...
The answer is: they are karaoke companies and labels that produce and distribute karaoke versions of music. Some of the above mentioned karaoke companies produce their own content, i.e., they make new recordings of your favourite tracks fit for karaoke use. Other may buy these karaoke versions from music producers and just distribute them on discs or as digital files. We'll get into the details now.
What does a karaoke producer do, really?
The above companies manufacture replicas of songs released by real artists. This means that the backing tracks used in karaoke are in fact not the original recordings of the songs, but reproductions. Shocking!
A karaoke producer is usually a professional musician who is capable of listening carefully to the original recording of a song and picking up the different instrument parts in the song. He/she then produces a similar instrumental track by either recording instruments or programming MIDI instruments with a computer. Depending on the song there may be various instruments used to make the new recording track sound as similar to the original as possible.
Once the instruments are recorded, the song may need backing vocals. Also a guide lead vocal track is usually recorded to help with syncing the lyrics on screen and for the karaoke singers to check the correct melody of the song. After recording the vocal parts, the karaoke producer typically creates two mixes of the song: a karaoke version and a full mix. The full mix is the cover version of the original song that has all the instruments and vocal parts. The karaoke mix has all the instruments and backing vocals but, of course, not the lead vocals.
With the full mix version, our karaoke producer is able to sync the text. It means to set the song lyrics to appear and their colours to change as indications of when they're supposed to be sung. This synching can be done with various programs, and sometimes a MIDI note is added, too. In Singa you can see the MIDI notes on top of the text when available, and you can choose to enable the guide lead vocals in song settings.
How to choose the right karaoke version for you?
Different karaoke versions may vary a little in sounds and mood, or even in the keys they are in. The best way to choose the best karaoke version for you is by... surprise-surprise, singing to them! You can easily preview the different karaoke song versions in Singa and choose the one you like.
Karaoke producers also have their unique sounds and qualities. Here's a list of some of the best ones.
1. Sunfly Karaoke
The UK-based company Sunfly has released tens of thousands of karaoke tracks since 1991. All Sunfly karaoke songs are ‘in the style of’ and recorded in the same key and tempo as the original artist by a team of professional musicians and producers to create a recording as true to the original as the possible.
2. Sound Choice
Another brand you have surely encountered is Sound Choice. It was founded in the US in 1985 by the Slep brothers, and is now distributed by the Canadian media company Stingray. The brand became known for the highest quality and has released more than 16,500 karaoke tracks.
3. Party Tyme Karaoke
Party Tyme Karaoke is the flagship product of the California-based Sybersound Records.
4. Sweet Georgia Brown
Sweet Georgia Brown is one of the older karaoke producers with thousands of songs ranging across all popular music genres. Some great country songs can be found from this catalogue.
5. Vocal Star
Vocal Star is a UK-based karaoke company who produces high quality karaoke versions and also karaoke machines. The company was founded in 1994 by the karaoke and music enthusiasts Jay Taylor and Matt Coxon.
Want to create your own karaoke versions of songs?
Are you a music producer interested in creating new karaoke tracks? While most of the biggest hits are already covered by established karaoke companies, there are gazillions of songs still lacking their karaoke versions. Isn't it a cool thing to find something that hasn't been done and create karaoke versions for everyone to sing. Think about it! And remember to contact us once you have something ready!