FAQ: Karaoke Etiquette

Karaoke Etiquette

Questions about singing at our events

I want to sing! How does this work?

WOO HOO! 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!

Oh, I just want to sing backup.

Great! Karaoke is better with friends! We’ve got multiple microphones to make that happen. But make sure you get permission from whoever’s singing before you join them on stage: 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.)

Can I change my song?

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!

I love this one song but I can’t sing that high.

Good news: you don’t have to! We can change the key of any song in our catalog. Just submit your song and then swing over to tell us how much to move it up or down (we adjust in half-steps, e.g. B# to B). Starting a song a couple half-steps up or down is pretty much imperceptible to most folks without perfect pitch, so feel free to ask– it’ll be our little secret!

Wait, someone already sang my song? Who cares?

Looks like 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!

I can’t hear myself on the microphone!

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 top of 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, unfortunately. 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.
(Also, we have your name and a room full of witnesses.)

Ugh. This singer sucks.

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!

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Pop Up Karaoke™ is a trademark of POPUPKARAOKE LLC in Illinois,
operating in IL, WI, MO, IA and throughout the midwest