Questions about karaoke in general
Sure! We want you to be the best you can be! Just let us know a couple songs before you’re supposed to sing so we have the time to set things up and download tracks if necessary. No harm, no foul!
Even if you get up to the stage and panic, we can fix it for you! Just let us know you want to sing something else and we’ll let the next person go so we can update the list and you can get a chance to get yourself together. It’s no problem, we promise!
Woo hoo! Karaoke is better with friends! We’ve got multiple microphones to make that happen. But make sure you get permission from whoever’s singing first: we won’t turn on the microphone unless they give us the thumbs-up.
(Also, if they’re already rocking, don’t demand they give you the thumbs-up. Let them be awesome.)
Great minds think alike! But yeah, we won’t play the same song twice in a night. Some hosts do! We’re not them. When you sing a song someone else has already sung it invariably becomes a competition, and we are very much not about that. With thousands and thousands of other songs, we’re happy to help you pick an even better alternative, though!
Ooh! This is a good one! Our hosts set the microphone volume every song every time based on the room, karaoke track, and how you’re holding the mic. But it’s totally fine to get your host’s attention and ask them politely to turn your voice up, too.
That said, if we’re not cranking the volume, it’s almost always because we’re worried about feedback, and that’s often because the singer is unwittingly doing something strange with the microphone. Here are some tips for perfect technique:
- Hold the microphone within three inches of your mouth. Really! The farther away you hold it, the more your host has to amplify it and the more likely you’ll hear nasty feedback.
- Point the microphone directly at your face. Microphones are designed to pick up sound in a very specific region, so if you sing into the side of the mic, we won’t hear it unless we boost the sound, and that can cause feedback.
- Don’t cover/cradle/hold the head of the microphone. This is a big one that has become super common! Again, any time you block the microphone’s natural pickup, you’re blocking sound and risking feedback. Your favorite pop stars can hold the microphone in wacky ways because they’re usually lip-syncing!
Please do not. Our equipment is made to be replaceable, but it’s not invulnerable. If you screw up our stuff you’re going to ruin the night for everyone.
Maybe! Still, shut up about it. It takes courage just to show up and sing, so they automatically get our love! Pop Up Karaoke performances are not open mics: karaoke is about entertaining, not being the next contestant on The Voice. If you can’t have fun watching other people have fun, our shows are probably not the right place for you.
By the way: NO BOOING. Even if you’re booing a friend (and honestly, why would you do that?!) we’re going to ask you to knock it off. The second time we’ll ask you to leave. We don’t know the difference between you heckling a friend and heckling a stranger, so don’t make it weird. Plus, it makes people outside of your circle worried that you might boo them. So don’t do it. Thanks!
Questions about throwing a birthday party, house party, office party or any other kind of karaoke night
Hooray! Our typical rate is $125/hour, which includes a dedicated host, audio, lighting, and special effects. There are no hidden fees: setup, teardown, equipment, and everything in-between is included in your pricing. We’ll talk directly to the manager at your location and make all the arrangements for you: all you’ll need to do is get your song list ready!
Do note that the per-hour cost can go up and down based on the location, size of your group, and duration: contact us at email@example.com to get a full quote and plan the perfect party!
Absolutely! We have setups for any home, whether that’s a one-bedroom apartment or an expansive single-family home! The typical rate is $150/hour– setup, teardown, transportation, and equipment included– but can range by as much as 50% based on the number of guests, duration, and (because this is Chicago) the parking situation.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote!
Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuup. We specialize in events in strange places (and have already covered 3 out of 4 places in the question, in case you were wondering). We have several setups to fit your craziest whim, including entirely battery-powered rigs that’ll go darn near anywhere. Contact us at email@example.com to discuss– and we give discounts for weird!
Here’s an option for you: early open! We can open up to three hours early at any of our residencies just for you and your friends for half the typical private party price*, starting at just $75/hr all-included! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and available dates.
* Some venues charge a nominal room fee at peak times. Inquire for details!
Questions about regular appearances throughout Chicago
YES! No sign-ups, no book, no problems! If you want to sing a song, just come right up and ask the host: they’ll get you set up right away. Not sure what to sing? Choose any song from our catalog of thousands or just ask your karaoke host: if we can get it, we will!
Actually, speaking of our song list: our primary supplier is Karafun, who provides us with music, lyrics, and licensing for over 40,000 tracks at the time of this writing. We also use tracks from a number of other licensed suppliers, but due to copyright and licensing we won’t be able to use YouTube tracks or songs you provide: sorry!
We hear you! Here are some insider tips and tricks to maximize your time with us:
- Get here early! Most of our residencies start at a slow time of the night. The earlier you get here, the more you can sing!
- Put in your next song as soon as you’re done singing. It’s first-come, first-served– even for regulars– so get that next one in right away!
- It’s okay to put your name in even if you’re not 100% sure of the song you want to sing. It’s totally fine to change your mind: just be sure you request your new song at least two singers before your turn so we can make sure it’s ready to go for you.
- Let us know you’re coming! We’re happy to reserve tables at our residencies for regulars, and we’ll even save spots in the rotation if you check in ahead of time.
We really don’t! Honestly, our founder and karaoke host Eamon loves Hanson, so if you want to sing it, we want to hear it! If we don’t have the song, we’ll try to get it– and if we can’t get it, it’s because it doesn’t exist or there’s some legal issue involved.
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Let us know as soon as you arrive and we’ll plan for a little something special for them, time permitting. We can’t bump you or them up the list, though– we want everyone to have a good time!
Just one time, we swear! We sometimes move new singers up a couple spots to get them in the mix; after that it’s first-come first-served as always. And in the last hour of our shows, we don’t bump people up. Period.
Sorry, we don’t do that. No offense to those karaoke hosts who do, but we adhere to a first-come, first-served policy.
Ugh. Seriously, we’ve had to turn down tips as high as $200. Don’t be that person.
That said, if you want to pay someone else to switch songs, that’s your business. Only one song in the list at a time per singer no matter what, though.
I promise, we’re as sad about it as you are! We want everyone to sing as many songs as they can, but our venues do have a hard cut-off. Our hosts always read off the names of upcoming singers for the last hour of our shows, so if you want to squeeze in a song at the last minute, please listen to the host, watch the screen for your name, and above all please stay in the room! If you’re not there when we call your name we’ll have to bump your name down so others who are ready to sing can get their chance.
Even if we can’t get to your particular song, you’ll still have a chance to sing at the end of the night! Our hosts always close the night with a group song that everyone can sing along to. Don’t be shy– join us!
Yeah. We struggle with this one. It’s problematic, and absolutely antiquated, but for a huge number of folks Rocky Horror Picture Show was their first introduction to any non-hetero identity and we’re uncomfortable erasing that. And so it remains in the catalog. Don’t be surprised if your KJ has something to say about it on the mic, though! (And as always we’re open to your thoughts.)
This is Chicago. We don’t sing R.Kelly in Chicago.
Questions about lights, sound, special effects, and physical access
Our shows use a number of lighting setups for enhanced visuals and to create a party atmosphere. While we do use spotlights, color changers, and similar effects, we do not use strobes and avoid pulsing any effects at speeds above 3Hz. Even so, we are 100% happy to chill out the lights for your performance! Just let us know– we have several static scenes we can run and have no problem dimming anything that might trigger you.
We make heavy use of fog machines at most of our shows. We use Chauvet High Performance Fog Fluid almost exclusively, which is water-based, non-toxic, non-flammable, and unscented (and here’s the safety sheet). As with everything else we do, your comfort is important to us: if you’d prefer us not to use fog during your performance, just let us know. Be aware that the room will likely have a bit of a haze throughout the show, especially in our smaller venues.
Obviously this is karaoke, so we can’t entirely control our singers’ volume, but we do our best to tamp down any amplification over a certain level. If the overall sound level is a problem for you, we can provide individually-packaged foam ear plugs available upon request. Also, we display upcoming singers at the top of our screens; if a particular song is just too much for you, we won’t mind at all if you leave the room and come back when your song is ready to go.
Carol’s has a sloped surface leading to its front door and is level throughout the venue. The performance area is on a stage that is only accessible via full-step stairs, but lyrics are displayed on multiple screens throughout the venue and we are happy to bring microphones and a personal lyrics screen down to the floor in front of the stage for your performance.
Joe’s on Weed St. has a sloped surface leading to its front door and is level throughout the venue. The performance area is at ground level.
On special occasions performances will be on the venue’s rooftop; these events will be clearly marked, as there is no elevator to that level.
High Dive’s main entrance has a single step; there is a secondary entrance one door east that has a sloped surface leading to its door that will be opened for you upon request. The venue is level throughout. The performance area is on a stage that is roughly 8′ wide by 4′ deep by 4″ high. Lyrics are displayed on multiple screens in the venue and we are happy to bring microphones and a personal lyrics screen down to the floor in front of the stage for your performance.
Konak has a sloped surface leading to its front door and is level throughout the venue. The performance area is on a stage that is only accessible via full-step stairs, but lyrics are displayed on multiple screens throughout the venue and we are happy to bring microphones and a personal lyrics screen down to the floor in front of the stage for your performance.
LIVE! Online Karaoke
Questions about participating in Pop Up Karaoke LIVE! online karaoke
Have you ever tried karaoke with friends over Zoom or Google Meet? It’s awful, right? We thought so, too. So we built Pop Up Karaoke LIVE! Based on the Jitsi platform, Pop Up Karaoke LIVE! was developed from the ground up to bring karaoke to you and your friends online, with all the fun and interaction you get from your local place! Plus, with XSplit Cam and Snap Camera compatibility, you can even do stuff you could never do in real life!
Want to check it out for yourself? Keep an eye out for our monthly public events or contact us to set up a privately hosted session for you and your karaoke buddies. Yes, we do birthdays! Yes, we do company events! Yes, we even do boring Tuesday nights! Get back into the spotlight with Pop Up Karaoke LIVE!
Pop Up Karaoke LIVE! works best on Google Chrome or any Chromium-based browser like Microsoft Edge or Opera. Chrome is available for almost every operating system around, including Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and even most tablets and phones! It’ll also work fine on most versions of Mozilla Firefox, though some people have reported high CPU usage over time. We do not recommend Apple Safari: some singers have used it without issue, but others have reported limited functionality, especially involving their microphones.
It’s easy! Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see a list of thousands of songs from our catalog on the right side of your screen. You can browse with the navigation buttons at the bottom of the panel, or just type what you’re looking for in the search box at the top. Mouse over or tap the song you’d like to sing and click “Request Song”– that’s it! The host will give you a thumbs-up to let you know it’s ready to go and will announce you to the room when it’s your turn to sing.
(Can’t see the list? Make sure you’re in windowed mode by clicking the button labeled “window” in the bottom toolbar.)
If you need to reach out to the host, just look for the “more” button in the lower left corner of their video. Select “Send private message” and it’ll pop open the chat menu on the left of your screen. Type your message, hit return, and the host will get back to you right away!
You can message other people in the room, too, but be nice! The host reserves the right to kick out anyone who’s being a jerk. If it’s not fun for everyone, it’s not fun!
If you have headphones or other speakers connected to your computer, your browser might make the wrong guess at where the sound should go. If you don’t hear anything in the room, click the small down arrow next to the microphone button . That will bring up a list of your speaker options: try choosing a different one and see if that works.
If none of the speaker options work, switch back to the first option in the list (“Default”) and make sure your volume is turned up in your operating system. If that seems okay, verify you’re using a supported browser and consult with your operating system for troubleshooting: you can check out this guide for Apple macOS users, and this guide for Microsoft Windows. (Linux users, you’re our kind of people, but you’re on your own!)
Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons you might be having trouble with your microphone, and we can’t address them all. But the first thing is to make sure your microphone isn’t muted! Everyone will be muted when they enter the room so as not to interrupt any singing; once they’re done, just click on the red, flashing microphone icon to change it from “mute” to “unmute” and you should be all set.
If the microphone is unmuted and isn’t flashing red, then you might have the wrong microphone selected. In that case, click the small down arrow next to the microphone button. That will bring up a list of your microphone options: try choosing a different one and see if that works.
If none of the microphones work, switch back to the first option in the list (“Default”) and make sure your input volume is turned up in your operating system. If it all seems okay, verify you’re using a supported browser and consult with your operating system for troubleshooting: you can check out this guide for Apple macOS users, and this guide for Microsoft Windows. (Linux users, you’re our kind of people, but you’re on your own!)
Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons you might be having trouble with your camera, and we can’t address them all. But the first thing is to make sure your camera is turned on! Just click on the red, flashing camera icon to change it from “stopped” to “started” and you should be all set.
If the camera has started and isn’t flashing red, but there’s no video, then you might have the wrong camera selected. In that case, click the small down arrow next to the camera button. That’ll bring up all of your camera options: try choosing a different one and see if that works.
If none of the cameras work, switch back to the first option in the list (“Default”) and make sure you have any other videoconferencing like Zoom or Google Meet turned off. If it all seems okay, verify you’re using a supported browser and consult with your operating system for troubleshooting: you can check out this guide for Apple macOS users, and this guide for Microsoft Windows. (Linux users, you’re our kind of people, but you’re on your own!)
Well, it is karaoke! But while your host doesn’t have control over individual singer volumes, you do! Just look for the “more” button in the bottom left corner of the singer’s video and you’ll see a volume slider. Adjust that however you want: it only changes the sound on your end and won’t affect anyone else in the room.