Live music and karaoke have a lot in common. Both are hugely popular forms of entertainment at pubs, bars and other hospitality venues and a great way to attract new customers and make them stay longer. So, definitely good ideas for your bar.
Karaoke has increased our revenue by 30% compared to a live music night. - Lord John Russels, Southsea UK
There are also some crucial differences in organising a karaoke night vs a live gig. Usually at live gigs, people are divided into two groups, performers and audience. The audience pays to be entertained and the live performer does the job. In a karaoke bar or party the audience and the performer are the same. People are the headliners of their own show, which makes karaoke such a popular and addictive form of entertainment. If you've ever been to a great karaoke party, you know what I mean.
We recommend trying out both live music and karaoke or maybe even combine the two, so customers can keep partying all night long. But where do I start? Which one is a better idea for my bar? Do I need to hire more staff? What equipment do I need? What are the costs involved? And last but not least, what is the return on investment?
Planning a karaoke night vs live gig at your venue
In both cases you need to do your groundwork carefully. Live gigs need significantly more planning and preparation, as you're not only responsible of attracting people to the party, but also finding a good live act and making sure your venue is fit for hosting the live gig.
Here are some key points you need to consider when evaluating your bar entertainment options.
How much are you willing to invest?
It always comes down to money, right? The risk and costs for hosting karaoke or live gigs are one of the biggest differences between the two. You can start a karaoke party already tonight with a fairly low risk, on the other hand live music requires more investment. If done right, both can lead to more engaged customers and profit for your business.
Costs for hosting karaoke at your venue
If you already have speakers, mixer, few microphones and a TV screen you can get started with a professional karaoke software like Singa Business from less than a £100 per month. You can try it out easily and see if karaoke is a fit for your venue.
The benefit in investing in your own karaoke software is that you can do hosted events by your staff or a karaoke jockey as well as self-served karaoke parties. At times when karaoke is not on in the main room the software can be used to convert any room into bookable a karaoke room. Singa also has in-built background music and display advertising which are useful between karaoke sessions.
If you don't yet have the needed audio equipment, it will be an additional cost starting from around £1000 and sky being the limit. In case you need some help in finding the right audio system for your venue, we're happy to assist! Just drop us a line.
Costs for hosting live gigs at your venue
Live gigs need a bit more investment to get started. If you're not planning to host only singer-songwriters you need to upgrade your audio system which can be a significant extra cost. Depending on how often are you organising live gigs, it might be wiser to rent all the equipment or ask the live act to bring everything. You also need to hire technical staff to your venue or make sure the live act brings their own technicians. In any case, it will result in significant extra costs, more in the thousands than hundreds.
Then there's the most important thing: the live act. Costs for booking a band or artist can be almost anything. A troubadour is £200 or more. And any self-respecting cover band won't ask anything less than £1000. If you're looking for any high-profile acts, the costs will sky rocket easily. If you don't have knowledge about the local live music scene, it's better to work with a booking agency.
Karaoke vs live music. Which one is more profitable?
Both karaoke and live music have been proven to increase sales in bars, pubs and other nightlife venues. According to a recent study karaoke has a significant positive impact on sales and customer dwell time. Average customer spend increased up to 42% during karaoke nights. Similarly live music creates up to 48% sales uplift during weekend. So, if done right, both should have a positive effect on your business, but karaoke is a bit easier to start because of the lower risk.
Lord John Russel pub in Southsea UK is an entertainment led venue that hosts both live music and karaoke. According to pub manager Chris, Singa karaoke has increased their revenue by 30% compared to a live music night. Learn more about their experiences below.
How to attract people to your event?
When you have the karaoke night or live gig booked the most common mistake is to forget to promote it. If you don't have a full house every night (if you do, we salute you!) or Ed Sheeran coming over to perform, you need to do marketing.
Marketing tips for promoting karaoke at your venue
If you're hosting a karaoke night and have Singa Business you're in a lucky position. Singa consumer app is used by a huge base of karaoke lovers waiting for their turn to hit the stage at your venue. All Singa Business venues are listed in the Singa consumer app and potential customers can easily find the nearest karaoke venue.
Make sure to communicate loudly about your event in the social channels where your customer are active. If you're reaching for a traditional pub crowd Facebook might be your channel, if looking to attract more younger crowd Instagram or Tik Tok is more your thing. You can also easily try some locally targeted paid campaigns in social media by yourself or hiring a professional marketer to do that for you.
If you do bookings or sell tickets, you should consider starting to build an email list of your customers so you can communicate about new events. Also people are searching for karaoke constantly in Google, so make sure you have all the information on your website with relevant keywords like "karaoke" and the city you are located in.
Marketing tips for promoting live gigs at your venue
Pretty much the same as above with karaoke nights, but you need to work a bit harder cause you need to cover the more higher investment. Also if possible try to leverage the live act's social media following by making sure they share the news about live gig at your venue.
What's the verdict then: karaoke or live music?
Karaoke is a bullet-proof option for a great party and increased sales without the need to invest a lot of money and resources to planning and execution. Live music needs more budget and has higher risk. Our recommendation is to try both and possibly combine the two. Karaoke works great as a warm up before the live act or after the gig to keep the party going and people in the venue.