How to Start a Karaoke Business

June 28, 2018 763 views

Image of two women singing into a microphone

A Quick Overview of The Karaoke Business

Karaoke is a form of interactive entertainment in which amateur singers sing along to the music.

The music is typically a well-known pop song minus the lead vocal. Lyrics are displayed on a screen, along with a moving symbol or changing color to guide the singer. In some countries, a karaoke box is called a KTV.

With karaoke becoming popular, it has formed a new language. For example, if you are the head of the entertainment, then you can refer to yourself as a “KJ” or karaoke jockey.

For people who love anything having to do with music, being a KJ or a DJ is a fun occupation. For such professions, the person doesn’t have to be an outstanding singer, musician, or a composer but can serve in the entertainment industry.

Karaoke isn’t known for being on the cutting edge of technology. Pop in a disc made 10 years ago, and stare at a monitor as lyrics fly by.

You can set up your own karaoke restaurant, bar, or pub, and set up at events, parties, bridal showers, and many other venues where entertainment is desired.

Skill Set:
  • DJ experience
  • Party-planning
  • Sound/music equipment
  • Knowledge of music, types, and popularity/trends
  • Run all equipment, including soundboards, lyrics, etc.
  • Set up karaoke equipment
  • Common Business Skills

Employee and Job Consideration During The Startup Phase or In The Future:

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

This job typically has longer hours that span from late afternoon to the wee hours of the next morning.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Karaoke CDG Player  (if a disc system)
  • Amplifier and mixer or powered mixer
  • Speakers
  • Speaker stands
  • Wireless microphones
  • Large Screen TV
  • Component Rack
  • Disc storage system
  • Various cables and accessories
  • Van or truck
  • See Our Essential office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

List of Monthly Business Expenses


When publicly broadcasting any type of copyright-protected media, someone must either possess a license or pay royalties in some way. Karaoke is no exception.

As a KJ, most of your performances will be in bars and clubs. In virtually all areas, these establishments are required to carry a “blanket license” to cover their entertainment. This includes bands, DJs, karaoke, and even a jukebox. You are covered by this license when you perform in these places.

For other public venues such as county fairs, street fairs, malls, etc., you should consult with the organizer about “per event” licensing issues.

Also, learning local laws and regulations is helpful if you are serving liquor. You will need to apply for permits and licenses, not just for your KTV bar/lounge, but also for the alcoholic beverages you plan to sell.

Copyright law is primarily federal law; however, state-law governed contractual agreements can also affect copyrights. A must-read guide to licensing and copyrights is located at Burning Karaoke CD+G’s Or Computer Karaoke.

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

The average startup cost may vary from a couple of hundred dollars if you already have a lot of the equipment to thousands of dollars if you want new, top-of-the-line equipment. You can start off small and expand your music collection and equipment as you grow.

On average, it could take about $5,000 initial startup funds to start a first-class operation.

Tips & Considerations:
  • Burning “back-up” copies of CDG’s for use during a paid show or ripping your CDG’s into a computer for use during a paid show is illegal. If you make money on a copyrighted work, you must use the original disc(s).
  • Most importantly, you need some quality equipment: a professional level karaoke machine, microphones, speakers, a monitor for the lyrics, an extensive karaoke music library, speaker stands, and cords. Some clubs have their own speaker system that you can plug into.
  • If you would like to cut down on your expenses, and on the amount of equipment you need to haul in and set up at each gig, an excellent suggestion is to look into The Song Station Karaoke Machine. This karaoke machine is of high quality and provides a lot of features.
  • A dynamic personality to cheer on the crowd and get them going is a big plus! Also, a good singing voice is an asset, because sometimes you will have the first karaoke song to get things started!
  • Anywhere in the city where the nightlife is active is a perfect place to start this kind of business.
  • Go all out because using your imagination is where the entertaining begins. Bring a camera around and treat party-goers like stars for the night or give away magnificent prizes to the most talented singer, letting the audience decide.
  • You will need to prepare a checklist with all the required karaoke equipment, karaoke songs, karaoke machine, karaoke downloads (if required), and a pen and paper to take down song requests.
Type of Customers:

Locate your local wedding planners, event planners, and party planners. Leave your cards with caterers, florists, wedding photographers, and videographers.

Your primary customers are the venues that will host your karaoke services. This can include bars, restaurants, and clubs. Don’t forget less-visible lounges like those in bowling alleys, hotels, and restaurants.

Your secondary customers are the karaoke singers; you’ve got to provide a great selection of songs and excellent service to keep them coming back week after week. Usually, tips will also be part of your business income, so it pays to be friendly, fun, and helpful.

Even your local churches and school districts may enjoy having a Karaoke Night fundraiser. Party supply houses might let you leave a stack of business cards at their registers.


While karaoke isn’t as popular now as it was in the boom of the late nineties, there is still a lot of demand for this fun activity at bars, clubs, and special events around the country.

While some bars have taken the time to set up their own in-house karaoke systems, many others rely on outside services for their karaoke nights.


Equipment and Supplies:




National Association of Mobile Entertainers


Don’t Stop Believin’: How Karaoke Conquered the World and Changed My Life

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Ultimate Guide to Karaoke Domination

Pocket Karaoke

Guide to Karaoke Confidence

Karaoke: The Global Phenomenon


Karaoke Software KaraFun

MP3+G Toolz


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