The Karaoke Revolution

Music was really my first love. But to be honest, my performance was more convincing than the quality of my singing. And I was a shy guy back in the days. So despite my fascination for karaoke, I stopped it because I didn’t wanted to harm anyone. But when Singstar was released for Playstation 2 in 2004, everything changed. This first game and its successors hit a nerve and inspired millions of people all over the world. Especially me. And my buddy Robert.

There were a few very simple tricks involved, which actually have little to do with typical karaoke. On one hand Singstar included licensed songs with the original performers. There were also the original videos, which made the experience more interesting for everyone else in the room. During the compilation the local Sony Playstation teams understood very well what works and what doesn’t. A look at the track list shows many timeless classics – some of them were still very modern at the time.

In my opinion, the fact that you’re always singing over the original music was essential for the initial success. That was different from Konami’s Karaoke Revolution, the more serious rival from Japan. In the case of Singstar, there was basically no possibility of completely fading out the vocals, even if a setting in the menu suggested that. So it was more like singing along and the own voice got lost in the music. It was even possible to simply hum if a passage was too difficult to get points anyway. Both characteristics made Singstar accessible to a wide audience that didn’t really want to sing because in first place they were too shy to sing.

Why this of all things led to success can be easily explained with an example: My buddy Robert hated Karaoke. He never even sang in the shower. He only joined our regular singing evenings because he liked the company of his friends. But because Singstar worked in a completely different way and perhaps made it a little easier to socialize. He gave the game a chance and a few months later he bought himself a Playstation. And that was really mainly because of Singstar.

Singstar was simply fun. It was intuitive and polished like an Apple product.

My way from Singstar led me to a real karaoke bar. Today I like singing on stage there, but I know much better about my strengths and weaknesses. There are songs that I should simply not try to sing for the sake of it. Others sound fabulous. Singing has given me a lot of joy and above all a lot of self-confidence. I’m still excited when I’m on stage, but it’s gettig better.

However, the love for Singstar was put to a hard test and in the end, despite the clinging, I had to learn to let go – a subject that obviously accompanies me more often. On the one hand, it increasingly annoyed me that I could not fade out the singing. On the other hand, there was a point when there were no more new offerings for the Singstore, an internal shop which introduced with Singstar on PS3. Furthermore, the updates led to bugs more often than they solved problems.

Singstar had several issues since the end of 2015. And still all these things never stopped me from using this service. I have bought around 1100 songs. In the app business I guess you would call me a whale. At the end of 2017 Sony released a new edition called Singstar Celebration. But there were no new songs for the Singstore and no updates for a broken software. In January 2020 the servers were shut down – the end of online community and Singstore.

What remained is the love for karaoke and many beautiful moments.

Singstar was released in May 2004 for Playstation 2, followed by over 70 editions worldwide, which together have sold more than 20 million copies. In Germany even editions with football hits and Turkish hits were released. With the release of Singstar on PS3, Sony launched an online community to share performances and a Singstore to buy songs. On PS4, Singstar no longer played a major role, despite the fact that there was a free Singstar app with all the features and functionality of the regular versions.

This post is also available in: German