by Marc Burgess, EPE & NAME Board Member
I am fortunate enough to live in Florida where we have been able to have events and a mostly normal life for quite a while now compared to much of the rest of the country. Back in August, I was contacted by two area managers for a chain of family restaurants to restart our karaoke service at several of their locations. Eager to get back to work, I said “Sure, what nights and times do you need us?” After they gave me that info, I got the “but…”. Their corporate office had some concerns of how we can do it safely. Together we came up with a plan that worked for all of us.
The first thing was to eliminate the karaoke song books. Obviously, lots of hands touch those things and we wanted to eliminate that. Not a problem, since I don’t think I’ve updated my physical books since 2005. Once upon a time, I had my books online but when I renewed my subscription and tried to update my library, I couldn’t get it to work properly. (I’m somewhat self-proclaimed technologically illiterate.) I found out you don’t need books at all to host a successful karaoke show. People know what songs they want to sing and if they don’t, I ask them, “What do you sing in the car when you are alone?” That always jogs their memory. Chances are, I already have the song. And if not, I can usually get it on the fly (and no, I don’t play anything off of YouTube.)
Second was how do the guests hand me their song requests? The answer was simple, I just have them text it to me. You can have them text your cell phone or you can set up a Google Voice number specifically for that purpose. There are also services out there that have some more features you can use such as RequestNow.
Third riddle was how to do karaoke while social distancing. One of the easiest things was to simply eliminate duets and groups from singing a song together. I initially thought I would get a lot of backlash from this, but surprisingly, it hasn’t been an issue.
What about all those people handling the microphone? Each singer gets a disposable microphone cover to use for the night. I hand it to them, they put it on and I remind them to take it with them and use it for the night if they sing any more songs. They are also not allowed to take the mic out of the mic stand. In addition to the mic covers, you can also set up a bottle of sanitizer and paper towels on the table to disinfect the mic body should someone touch it while singing. You can also use disinfecting wipes.
That’s pretty much it. People are so tired of not being able to go out and do the activities they enjoy. They realize we are living in a different world with new restrictions (that are hopefully only temporary) and they are willing to follow a couple of rules so they can get back to singing karaoke safely at their favorite establishment.
Do you have any tips & tricks your small business is using to keep booking gigs? Please email email@example.com to connect!