How Much Does it REALLY Cost in Fee’s to Have Karaoke in a Bar or Restaurant?

Cost of Karaoke for a Bar or Restaurant

When hosting karaoke in a bar, restaurant, or other commercial establishment it’s important for the venue owner to pay for a license.

Yes you, the karaoke host, must also have a legal karaoke library. Your karaoke music collection must be sourced legally, which means you’re either purchasing CDG discs and ripping them yourself (one-for-one conversion), purchasing a la carte downloads from legal karaoke manufacturer websites, or subscribing to a commercially legal karaoke subscription service like Party Tyme.

That’s only one side of the coin. The other is that the venue must pay BMI/ASCAP for a license to offer karaoke in the establishment.

There is quite a bit of (mis) information floating around the internet and various karaoke user groups on Facebook about what the cost for the venue is to add karaoke. The truth is, it’s not nearly as expensive as many believe. In fact, it’s down right affordable, especially considering how much revenue a karaoke night can bring into the venue.

Cost for a Karaoke License

As the image above showcases, Karaoke falls under “Enhanced Recorded Music” subcategory, under “Recorded Music”.  Venues that offer any of those types of recorded music playback (DJ/Jukebox etc) already have to pay for a license.  Adding Karaoke, albeit a sliding scale based on occupancy, raises the cost minimally.

Here’s how one karaoke host broke it down:

“ACTUAL COST OF KARAOKE: So lets assume an imaginary bar seats 100. Lets assume they regularly play some type of prerecorded music in the background, either from Pandora or other streaming, their PC or iPod, a radio, CD player, or whatever. WITHOUT karaoke, that would cost them $300 a year. Adding Karaoke will cost them $325 a year. SUBTRACT the 300 they are already paying (because they take the higher number) and that means they add karaoke for $25 a year!”

That’s nudge in fee’s is a drop in the hat, and the venue seeing a return on investment a ‘gimme’.

So is karaoke “worth it”?  Without a doubt, yes!

2 replies
  1. Nick Hammen
    Nick Hammen says:

    I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong then. Do I as the DJ or host have to inform the venue of the need for their license if my content is already licensed and legal? Is there a good way to verify that I am cleared and legal to host at that venue? Our bars have digital jukeboxes, but I’m not sure of their own licensing. If they don’t have the enhanced recorded music license, does that liability fall on the venue or the DJ?

    • Ryan Sherr
      Ryan Sherr says:

      Hi Nick, the venue is responsible for paying the fee’s. Your content needs to be legal as well, but the venue also needs to add karaoke to their licensing fee’s. They will need the “Enhanced Recorded Music” license if they plan to have karaoke in their location.

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