BELT IT – private karaoke in your pocket

by Anni Karjala –

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by Elena Sulin

Karaoke is BIG business!

Karaoke, or “empty orchestra” in Japanese, has created a global market worth over $10 billion (2015). From Sing along with Mitch to James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, this pastime favourite has truly made its way into people’s hearts. Corden’s genius late night show segment with singer Adele has received over 180,000,000 views on YouTube.

An ever-growing trend in Asia, Japanese karaoke booths typically feature cutting-edge technology while novel ways allow people to play along with real instruments or meet strangers in gruesome karaoke face-offs. In China, mini karaoke booths are popping into subway stations, shopping malls and cinemas. Around 20,000 mini karaoke booths are now operating and the value of the mainland market hit $470 million in 2017 according to the South China Morning Post.  

The Middle East has never been slow to catch on and karaoke makes no exception. Karaoke is the new obsession of Dubai, involving big screens in small, highly secluded rooms. Some even come with one-way mirrors that let you stare out into the horizon – without others being able to see you get your Mariah on.

Enter Finland – this is the stuff of the Finns and local startup Singa has been quick on the money. The Helsinki-based company recently scored over $2 million in seed funding. Claiming to be the Spotify of karaoke, this singing app currently comes in two versions. Consumers are granted easy access to over 25,000 fully licensed karaoke songs while bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are offered a digital, commercial pro-version.

Risto Mäkeläinen, Head of Business Development, what is Singa about?

Singa is purely about singing. Sure, we identify ourselves as a karaoke tech startup but the act of singing is the very core of Singa. People love to belt out their favourite songs, but are not always free to express themselves, held back by previous negative experiences, bad self-esteem or insecurities. Everyone can sing and Singa wants to make sure everyone gets a chance. Whether you are a pro or not, singing is fun! And that's what Singa is all about.

What is the company vision?

In a humoristic way – we are creating a future where singing is as common as speaking.

Do you sing together?

Of course! Last Friday we had a party at the office and ended up singing together for six hours. We are all super into music!

What do you love to belt out when time calls?

We have over 25,000 songs in the catalogue; I’ll just mix them however I please. I like them all.

Karaoke hey? You love it! Stop pretending as if you don’t. 

Here’s three of the best in Helsinki:

Karaoke Bar Restroom
The name says it all.
A tiny toilet full of tunes located on the posh streets of Eira.
Tehtaankatu 23, 00150 Helsinki.

Happy End-karaoke on the sixth floor in Kamppi.
Urho Kekkosen katu 1,00100 Helsinki

Go on. We dare you. It’s open 24/7.  
Aleksis Kiven katu 22, 00500 Helsinki

Or better yet, what’s your favourite song? Let’s pop it on.

CTA: Sick of the old song? Looking for a more creative and inspiring workspace? Look no further: