Launching its 1.0 version today is Karaoke World Cup, a service that allows people to compete in singing competitions online, or just to sing their favorite songs and share it with their friends. Currently the service boasts 700 tracks with one new English and one Finnish song added each day.
Karaoke World Cup is fun. I’m usually not a karaoke guy (even under the right uhh… mindset) but after going to the website I clicked “start singing” and gleefully butchered Barracuda right here in the ArcticStartup office. The service takes advantage of your computer’s microphone and webcam to record your singing, which can be used to share with friends or compete in competitions. KaraokeWorldCup also uses SingStar style bars and gamification that tracks how on pitch you are. Unfortunately… it must have been broken the times I tried it.
Aside from the competitions the company is building strong community features. The social features Of Karaoke World Cup allow users to follow singers and get notifications whenever they release new recordings or participate in competitions. Users can also easily share their tracks in social media, and the service provides a social stream of all the content produced on the site.
Atte Hujanen, the CEO of the company, has been organizing Karaoke World Championships since 2003 with over 35 countries participating yearly. Over the years he has constantly found that there is much more talent out there than his network of tens of countries could ever reach.
“All of us founders had ran into the exactly same problem either as organizers, competitors or fans of singing competitions: in Finland alone there is a huge pool of phenomenal singers who mostly get to perform in school musicals. We want to change all that.” said CEO Atte Hujanen.
Currently the business model runs on advertising received from the listed competitions. With the launch singers can find monthly and weekly competitions to win spa packages to the Sokos Hotel Vantaa, an entrance to the Karaoke World Cup with a trip on the Viking line to Tallinn, to win Startup Sauna schwag, or to win karaoke CDs.
Many of the competitions are Finland-based at the moment, but Hujanen is also working with global sponsors that can offer interesting prizes to wherever you are in the world.
But a Finland strategy isn’t bad one for their initial launch. I’ve noticed it’s tough to find a street in Finland that doesn’t have a karaoke bar, and in the future Karaoke World Cup is also targeting Karaoke hotspots like Southeast Asia and Ireland with more localized brands and content.
In the future, the company also plans on adding a freemium model that gives users access to more current songs and tools to make their tracks better (like adding reverb to their vocals).
So far the team has seen 1600 registered users, 600 published videos, and 200 000 uniques a month and growing. The company has been bootstrapped by the founders, along with a small grant.