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 Post subject: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:10 am 
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When in a Karaoke pub my friends sometimes tell me, "Sing fast songs, upbeat numbers, they go down better with the crowd."
Up to now I've tended to go along with that. But I just got to wondering, what kind of songs really are more popular. Both with singers and those who just listen.
I guess no-one will know better than all you professional KJs.
Care to give me your thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:41 am 
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Your friends are absolutely correct. Fun, upbeat songs are the most popular with the crowd and usually get people on the dance floor. Avoid the slow ballads from hell. People come out to the bar to be entertained, not put to sleep. So, while you may be able to nail Sinatra's My Way, Mustang Sally would go over a lot better as a fun, upbeat song that would have everyone singing along and getting into it.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:05 am 
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Screw that. Karaoke isn't about what the crowd wants to hear. It's all about the person who is singing. Sing what you want. If it puts them to sleep then you didn't do your best to make the song your own. A ballad with noticable high notes that are hit perfectly will keep people engaged as well as an averagely sung fast song. Fast songs are for no talented people. If you are a great singer then a high noted ballad would be the best way to show it. Fast songs are the easiest way to show that you are a no talented hack. It will show case all of your flaws.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:51 am 
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I believe you're absolutely right Danny... I know that, in our karaoke shows, it's the ballads that get folks onto the dance floor every bit as much, if not more than the faster numbers. It all depends upon the patrons. Our crowds cover a wide age range... from twenty-somethings to those in their 80s and, although I've never actually measured, I'd say our ratio is something like 75% slow/ballads to 25% up tempo.

Having said that, I don't host in "bars"... I'm strictly a service club / organization (Moose Lodge etc.) host. I imagine the bar crowd would want something entirely different.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:02 am 
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DannyG2006 wrote:
Screw that. Karaoke isn't about what the crowd wants to hear. It's all about the person who is singing. Sing what you want. If it puts them to sleep then you didn't do your best to make the song your own. A ballad with noticable high notes that are hit perfectly will keep people engaged as well as an averagely sung fast song. Fast songs are for no talented people. If you are a great singer then a high noted ballad would be the best way to show it. Fast songs are the easiest way to show that you are a no talented hack. It will show case all of your flaws.

Danny is right about one thing... yes, it's karaoke and you're free to sing anything you want. But if you really want to engage the crowd, it ain't gonna happen with slow, boring songs... no matter how well you can sing them. And Danny is wrong about fast songs being for people with no talent. That couldn't be further from the truth. It's actually harder to sing a fast song than a slow one.

Over the course of my career, I've seen many people walk out of shows where the majority of people were singing slow songs. As I've said... people come out to bars to have fun in a party atmosphere. They want to dance a little too.

If you want to keep the audience engaged and upbeat... slow songs are NOT the way to do it. I'm not saying don't ever sing them, after all there's a time and place for everything but I'll tell you this... and this is at just about every show that I've hosted as well as attended...

When someone sings a slow, boring ballad, nobody is paying attention. They're all talking to one another. They don't care. But when someone gets up and sings a party song... everybody stops and gets into it, sings along, or gets on the dance floor.

The bottom line is... if you want to motivate the crowd with nice upbeat party songs that are fun for everyone... slow ballads are not the way to do it.

Danny, you must run a boring as hell show....

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:11 am 
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Earl wrote:
I believe you're absolutely right Danny... I know that, in our karaoke shows, it's the ballads that get folks onto the dance floor every bit as much, if not more than the faster numbers. It all depends upon the patrons. Our crowds cover a wide age range... from twenty-somethings to those in their 80s and, although I've never actually measured, I'd say our ratio is something like 75% slow/ballads to 25% up tempo.

Having said that, I don't host in "bars"... I'm strictly a service club / organization (Moose Lodge etc.) host. I imagine the bar crowd would want something entirely different.

Earl, things are a little different in the "club" type settings. These places (Eagles, Moose, etc.) are basically "old folks homes". With many of them, it's like going to karaoke at someone's pole barn. They just don't have the atmosphere as a nice happening bar.

And yes, I have hosted karaoke at The Eagles and Moose Clubs. Very different comparing a bar to the Moose. Personally, I would never join one of these club type organizations. But to each his own.

But let's be clear... I'm not putting down the people who belong and go to these clubs. I'm just saying that the older folks are attracted to these places. One of the reasons is that food and drinks are usually cheaper than going to a bar. But along with that comes their song selection. That's why you have 75% of your people singing slow ballads which can get pretty boring, pretty fast.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:09 am 
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Boring? Did I hear you say boring? Well then, I guess if our shows are boring we couldn't possibly have 30-plus singers, and an equal number of non-singers in attendance every night... and we definitely couldn't have the most successful shows for many miles around. But somehow we do.

You seem to think anyone who attends a service club already has one foot in the grave... Not so. As I've said, we always have our share of 20-somethings... as well as 30s, 40, and 50s. I suspect the reason we usually have a full house is more because of the host's ability to make the evening fun and entertaining, than to the tempo of the music.

Our singers sing whatever they want to sing**, and if we happen to lose one or two people because we don't 'rock da joint' every night (and I don't know if that's the case), it certainly doesn't seem to have hurt our bottom line.

** some X-rated songs are off limits, but that's another subject all together.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:43 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:17 pm 
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Alan B wrote:
DannyG2006 wrote:
Screw that. Karaoke isn't about what the crowd wants to hear. It's all about the person who is singing. Sing what you want. If it puts them to sleep then you didn't do your best to make the song your own. A ballad with noticable high notes that are hit perfectly will keep people engaged as well as an averagely sung fast song. Fast songs are for no talented people. If you are a great singer then a high noted ballad would be the best way to show it. Fast songs are the easiest way to show that you are a no talented hack. It will show case all of your flaws.

Danny is right about one thing... yes, it's karaoke and you're free to sing anything you want. But if you really want to engage the crowd, it ain't gonna happen with slow, boring songs... no matter how well you can sing them. And Danny is wrong about fast songs being for people with no talent. That couldn't be further from the truth. It's actually harder to sing a fast song than a slow one.

Over the course of my career, I've seen many people walk out of shows where the majority of people were singing slow songs. As I've said... people come out to bars to have fun in a party atmosphere. They want to dance a little too.

If you want to keep the audience engaged and upbeat... slow songs are NOT the way to do it. I'm not saying don't ever sing them, after all there's a time and place for everything but I'll tell you this... and this is at just about every show that I've hosted as well as attended...

When someone sings a slow, boring ballad, nobody is paying attention. They're all talking to one another. They don't care. But when someone gets up and sings a party song... everybody stops and gets into it, sings along, or gets on the dance floor.

The bottom line is... if you want to motivate the crowd with nice upbeat party songs that are fun for everyone... slow ballads are not the way to do it.

Danny, you must run a boring as hell show....

Yeah they're harder meaning that they are more likely to totally scare off the not so good shy singer by showing off their deficiencies. Only fast fun songs that have any place being done by a karaoke novice are Tequila or wipe out.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:29 pm 
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Danny, I remember at a venue I used to host at several years ago, I had an elderly group of people who used to come in weekly. They all used to sing the ballads from hell. One woman in particular would sing longs like "My Heart Will Go On", "Memory" and "Ode To Billy Joe" which is a depressing song about someone committing suicide. I mean seriously, why would you sing a downer song like that. To top it off, most of them were not good singers by any means AND they were a cheap bunch who would drink water or soda, rarely order any food and tip very poorly if at all.

Whenever they came in, none of the waitresses wanted to wait on their table and this group actually drove regular non-singing customers away because of their song selections.

When the owner of the establishment changed the starting time from 8 to 9 PM, most of them stopped coming. The owner was happy about that. No great loss because all they were doing were taking up space and driving customers away. The waitresses were happy about that, too.

The point is, they brought the night down. There's nothing worse than when everybody's doing great fun songs, keeping the energy high, and then someone comes up with a boring, depressing ballad and brings it crashing down.

As I said, people go out to have a good time. They want to be entertained, and have some fun, not put to sleep or have to be put through depressing songs.

Again, the answer to the OP is it's always better to sing fun, upbeat songs. That's what gets the crowd going and makes it a fun night for everyone.

I am willing to bet if 75% of the songs sang at my shows were slow ballads like at Earl's shows, a lot of people would stop coming.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:11 am 
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I tend to sing mostly ballads myself. Not the Frank Sinatra my way type, mostly power ballads. But I try to steer away from fast songs because I don't do well with them. I get tongue tied too easily. I guess I would have to use the tempo change feature to be able to sing them at pace with my voice. But I absolutely hate to cheat. If it's totally out of the range of my natural voice, I usually back off. Meaning if I can't sing it without sonding bad, there are lower keys to songs that fit well with the original key without having to change the actual music key and sound good, I will just choose not to sing it knowing that I can't hit the note without changing the key. After The Fall is one example. Again I never said that I sound just like the original singer, I just do a fairly good job on most Journey and Steve Perry songs. Yes I have heard me sing and even I will admit that I don't sound like Perry but I am convinced that I don't butcher the songs either on my good days. The most fun song that I would attempt falls into the country genre and I would not be able to get away with it at family friendly shows being it has a couple of questionable lyrics in it, I refuse to do the studio version of it because it is so overplayed and boring to me. The live version of Friends in low places. The rest of my choices when I choose my own songs are power ballads of some sort.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:45 am 
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Well, I hoped for a lively response and I got it. Excellent. Keep those opinions coming.
Now can I suggest this would be a good subject for a poll. It could be done on this website or within the clientel at your particular venue. It would be amazing to discover whether age has any bearing on a person's' preference.
Even more helpful would be splitting the responses to the question over age groups, i.e., 20-30, 30-40 etc.
Wouldn't it be great to run an eye over the crowd and pitch your most suitable song? Perhaps this more scientific method of song selection will hand the choice of Fast or Slow (Don't forget Medium) to the listeners rather than the singers.


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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:19 am 
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i have different lists for what i sing at different venues.
VFW, DAV, Legion, Eagles, Elk, Moose.... slow old ballads, that is what they like and want.
regular bars, depends on the bar itself,
some newer country, some metal, others pop.
fast or slow is really subjective to the audience.
White Sportcoat and A Pink Carnation is fast to the private club crowd, butat a regular bar, it generally has a different effect.
the private club crowd has literally told me to slow down Hank Williams Your Cheatin' Heart because it's too darn fast.

i also buy songs for specific venues rigs ao i know what they like and don't.
a good way to see what will be best is to get the app for the jukebox and look at the history. literally look at what customers at that particular venue are paying to hear.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:02 am 
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Paradigm Karaoke wrote:
i have different lists for what i sing at different venues.
VFW, DAV, Legion, Eagles, Elk, Moose.... slow old ballads, that is what they like and want.
regular bars, depends on the bar itself,
some newer country, some metal, others pop.
fast or slow is really subjective to the audience.
White Sportcoat and A Pink Carnation is fast to the private club crowd, butat a regular bar, it generally has a different effect.
the private club crowd has literally told me to slow down Hank Williams Your Cheatin' Heart because it's too darn fast.

i also buy songs for specific venues rigs ao i know what they like and don't.
a good way to see what will be best is to get the app for the jukebox and look at the history. literally look at what customers at that particular venue are paying to hear.

If it's the SC version, the tempo is fast. All the other brands use the correct tempo.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:39 am 
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I agree with Danny a customer should sing what they want, but I am also curious.

What do you class as a slow song or a fast song?

I have nothing by Whitney Houston has a BPM of 153 but is a slow song.

Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond has a BPM of 127 but is a fast song.

Surely a fast and slow song is subjective.

Do you mean by fast song has a lot of words in it like Bare Naked Ladies One Week but only has a BPM of 112 or Roy Orbisons Penny Arcade which is quite a slow song but is uplifting and cheerful.

There can be slow cheerful songs and there can be god awful fast songs.

For Alan B to be so dismissive and to say it should be fast songs because people will walk out with slow songs or won't listen doesn't make sense to me!!


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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:04 pm 
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Gnome Karaoke wrote:
For Alan B to be so dismissive and to say it should be fast songs because people will walk out with slow songs or won't listen doesn't make sense to me!!


Makes no sense to me either. It certainly hasn't been my experience. In close to 1200 shows over the past 15 years, I can honestly say I do not recall anyone walking out, or refusing to come back because of slow song choices. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but it's never been brought to my attention. So, to repeat... I'd suggest you let the singers sing whatever they want... fast, medium, slow... it's their choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:18 am 
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Gnome Karaoke wrote:
What do you class as a slow song or a fast song?

feel, it doesn't have to be BPM, but the feel of the song.
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
I have nothing by Whitney Houston has a BPM of 153 but is a slow song.

agreed, and in MOST situations would not give a party response in regular venues.
the exception would be if the singer could nail it and the mood was already slow.
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond has a BPM of 127 but is a fast song.

yes, that is decent because it is a sing along for everyone with the "Bah Bah Bahhhhhh" parts.
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
Surely a fast and slow song is subjective.

yes, i agree
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
Do you mean by fast song has a lot of words in it like Bare Naked Ladies One Week but only has a BPM of 112

not a lot of words, but the feel of the song is upbeat and energetic
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
or Roy Orbisons Penny Arcade which is quite a slow song but is uplifting and cheerful.

here we disagree. i think it's not that great by feel, listening to lyrical content, it's great and so was he. but in a regular venue they are not listening to words as much UNLESS it is the hot thin on the radio or a perpetual classic. for private clubs where they tend to watch the singers more like they are at a concert, sure, it works.
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
There can be slow cheerful songs and there can be god awful fast songs.

no doubt there
Gnome Karaoke wrote:
For Alan B to be so dismissive and to say it should be fast songs because people will walk out with slow songs or won't listen doesn't make sense to me!!

from the perspective at regular venues and not the private clubs, he has a point. anybody working regular bars and nopt the private older clubs has experienced the slow song coming on and suddenly it's smoke break time for everyone, and after the break, fewer people are left.
last night, i had 3 singers in a row doing upbeat dance songs. i did my hourly counds and counted 73 people, many singing along and dancing. then the next singer sang Roy Orbison Crying, nailed it (including Roy's incredible falseto) and one verse in i saw barely 20 left in the bar. smoke break for everyone. next time he came up, there was a bottleneck at the door to smoke.
so while it is not every time everywhere, he is not wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:25 pm 
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Gnome Karaoke wrote:

For Alan B to be so dismissive and to say it should be fast songs because people will walk out with slow songs or won't listen doesn't make sense to me!!

Again, in the average bar, not "private clubs" (otherwise known as "old folks homes"), it is my experience that the faster, more upbeat party songs go over much better than the slow "ballads from hell". Like I said, the people going to bars want to be entertained not put to sleep. And yes, I've heard people complain with some walking out because they couldn't take listening to ballads all night from people who shouldn't be singing them.

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 Post subject: Re: Fast v medium v slow
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:01 am 
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a good mix of all 3 work just fine

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