The world is their oyster, for digital karaoke execs.

September 4, 2009

At first sight of this article, I cringed. My raspy voice, combined with a tuneless ear and basic lack of musicality, makes me THAT person. I am the person who you taunt to participate in this (awful) bar ritual, but really if you listen to me “sing” for 10 seconds and you will realize that I was not being a party-pooper, I was trying to save you from this horrific, ear-piercing display.  But, “I’d like to teach the world to sing on Google legally…” is a great article telling an entrepreneurial account of two talented executives who combined smarts, skiing and a bit of serendipity to lead them to the internet giant who offers significant new opportunities for their brain-child company.

This article  hits home to the consumer electronics industry at a time when some of its most revered media server manufacturers (Kaleidescape for one) are struggling with legal battles and digital rights management.  Stingray Digital has successfully navigated the costly “karaoke rights” issue within the music industry and is continuing to move its business plan forward. Here’s how the story goes…

Two successful tech executives set out to build a business together in 2004. What that business would be, however, was yet to be determined.  More than four years after partners Alexandre Taillefer and Eric Boyko set out on the dubious route of bringing karaoke into homes worldwide, they are succeeding via iTunes and partnerships with digital cable providers.  It was a long road, even investors expressed doubt,  “I said, ‘Alex, find anything–but not karaoke’”, but now Stingray Digital has silenced doubters by hooking the shark  to bring the company to the next level – Google.

The deal is that Stingray will share ad revenues with Google in exchange for making its tracks available; Stingray’s North Carolina-based Karaoke Channel channel has legal rights to all music tracks. 

How far can Stingray grow? The company estimates the global karaoke market to be worth $7-billion. That includes Japan, of course, but the birthplace of karaoke is a tough market to crack, since companies such as Sega Music Networks already dominate the market. Stingray sees the rest of the world as its oyster.

Great article that I thought I would share. … don’t get me wrong, I’m still not going to sing, even if it is in the privacy of my home.

Posted by: Katie