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How Many Songs Is Too Many


Today we ask that imposing question, "How many songs are enough?"

Doc k a well known KJ responds. Of course if you have to hear the words "Man, you've got the biggest book I've ever seen" or "Where the H... did you ever get so many songs", maybe you do. The search for size is a sickness, it's called megalomania.

I think a form of megalomania infects many kj's. They want more, they have to be bigger, they have to have the most, and go far too far in their search for every song they can possibly get. It becomes their "raison d'etra" (reason to be) and quality suffers as quantity becomes their prime concern.

Let's all face it, we're not only entertainers, we're sound people, we're singers, we're business people, we're entrepreneurs. We are the jack of all trades of the entertainment industry. We provide a way for the little lady down the street to feel like a star, if only for a moment. The way you care for your customers is far more important than having 20,000 songs to chose from.

As a singer, I find that I regularly sing a great variety of songs, probably 2 or 3 hundred, but if a venue doesn't have the particular song I happen to be looking for, I'll try another song. I would far rather go to a venue where the sound was managed by an attentive kj, who had only 200 songs but knew how to make his singers sound good than one that had thousands of songs and a kj who didn't know how to adjust the sound or make me feel welcome.

As a kj, I've "retired", I only do private parties. I've cut back to about 2,000 songs and still do just fine, thank you. 

Rodney, gives us a different perspective. I think it has a lot to do with how you want your show. I think for me, I have more songs than most KJ's down here in Orange County, but I believe that my selections are geared more towards what my clientele wants, for example, one location is predominately latino, so I have a large library of Spanish and Oldies but Goodies, another location loves Rock-n-Roll, while all the other locations love the Standards and Pop hits. By that same token I do not wear belt buckles bigger than the "Fiesta Platter" at El Toritos, meaning I don't do much Country, but I still have just enough to please the newcomers. That brings me to the next phase, When I have regulars who have given their support to the shows, I will ask if there are songs they would like to sing, and if the disc in which that song may come in, meets my standards of approval, ie; manufacture, types of songs, limited repeats, and so on, then I get it for them. One of the biggest problems we as KJ's face, is the marketing strategies that these Disc Manufacturers adhere to, and that is to give us limited amount of fresh stuff and more of the repeats or songs that an alley cat would not sing !!!!!! Thus brings us to the problem of having 16,000 songs but only 1,000 songs actually wanted and with no duplicate songs....I still think the Disc Manufacturers should actually do an honest poll and come up with 18 songs on a disc that actually reflects what people want to sing, for that particular style, and maybe label these discs as KJ's Starter set instead of some of the sets that are out there today.

KJ Ed gives his input. I think the right 2000 to 2500 can easily support a show. I admit we carry about 20000(cuts, not songs) on a night with a single show. I do list my duplicates but I use the manufacturers #'s because most singers at our venues are "regulars" at various shows and know whos cuts they like to sing. When we have 2 or more shows on the same night I have A, B, and a C set of books. My A split is full set pioneer and (almost) full set of sound choice with about 15 misc disks. The B split is dk 1-99, pioneer set, country and pop monthlies from 96 to present and most of the misc music maestro, pioneer dvd, dangerous, all hits , etc. C is a 1500 song party pack based around pioneer cd+g. I prefer the SC and Pioneer set, our regulars prefer the b set with the monthlies and they really don't care what "core" is there. What amuses me is how many people praise the party pack with a set of pioneer cd+g and about 20 misc disks (all hits and a few pop / country compilations) that we use only for combo dj/kj jobs and rentals . I could probably add a set of monthlies to this, have 3000 songs with virtually no dupes and keep just about everyone happy. I am not saying pioneer was great but it does make a great core up through 1998.

The KJ guru Harry sums it up. Take one of your old books and highlight every song that has been sung. I would maintain that if every KJ took a database of the songs in their karaoke library and deleted the songs that have never been sung, you would find a core of probably 1500 of the same songs on every list. Someone who has 20,000 songs must have a wonderful collection to choose from, but the majority of karaoke singers pigeonhole themselves into the same standard tunes. New releases such as Pop Hits, etc... add current songs that lose their appeal with time, while the classic songs will always be sung as they remain timeless. Having a lot of songs that never get or are rarely sung is not a bad thing, as it is always nice for a singer to find a chestnut that he or she cant believe that you actually have on karaoke. But a bigger library of unpopular or unsung songs does not make a show better that a well thought out catalog of 2000 or 3000 songs that maintain their popularity and entertainment appeal.

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