This is rather similar to what I offer for in-person karaoke parties, except everyone stays at home. I do public sessions on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. These are all 7pm to midnight Pacific Time, except Sunday, which is 5pm to 10pm. They are free, though tips are greatly appreciated. Please contact me if you'd like to do a private party instead.
You'll need to install, or at least use, Zoom conferencing. It's recommended that you install the program, but just clicking on the conference link I provide you (Each free show uses this one) will launch a meeting through your browser.
Before Zoom connects you to the meeting, it gives you an option to test your system sound and mic. I recommend you do so. This makes sure you have sound connected to the correct devices, and allows you to check volume levels. I also recommend you keep the mic levels at "Auto," which is the default.
There are then two different ways of participating once you join the meeting. The first, simple one works for phones and tablets, but is also fine if the other seems too complex. The downside is that for all other members of the party, your singing and the music will be off by a second or two.
The second method solves the sync problem by separatedly sending a stream containing the song to you, which you then need to play and share back with the rest of the group.
Once you've joined the party, I'll send you some info on the Zoom text chat - there's a pop-up bar at the bottom or top of your screen with a chat icon. Let me know that you're using this method.
You can look up any songs you want to sing in my database, and then use the chat to tell me what you'd like to sing, or just ask me if I've got a song, and I'll see if I can find it for you. I'll put you in the rotation.
When it comes your turn to sing, I'll share my screen with the group, which will send out the music and lyrics. As said above, the only thing is that your voice and the music will be a little out of sync for the rest of us. I'm working on some possible improvements, but they're not available yet.
So far, we've had good success with Windows, Linux, and OS X. You'll need a media player capable of reading networks streams - I've been mostly recommending VLC, which is free, works on almost all platforms, and is popular. I'm going to assume VLC for the rest of the instructions.
Once you have joined the meeting, I'll use the Zoom chat function to give you the URLs for the karaoke stream, which change every time. Go into VLC's "open network stream" (Under the "File" menu on Mac and the "Media" menu for everyone else), paste in the first URL, and hit "play." If there's a network error, use the second URL - it's a much slower, less reliable protocol, but it *will* work through all firewalls. Once the traffic cone display goes away, it's working - hit the square "stop" button on the bottom of the VLC screen.
Set the VLC volume (on the lower right) to 90% (it defaults to 125%). That gives a better vocal/background mix. At least on Windows, you can separately adjust the system volume for your own comfort without affecting what plays through to the other participants.
Browse through my song selection to find what you'd like to sing, and then tell me through Zoom's chat function (it's on a pop-up bar at the bottom or top of the Zoom screen) - or just chat with me about what you'd like. I'll put you in the rotation, and when your turn is coming up, I'll let you know.
When it's your turn to sing, I'll ask you to share your player through Zoom - there's a green rectangle on the same pop-up bar for the chat that says "share." Click that, select the VLC player window, make sure the option at the lower left that says "share computer sound" is selected and click OK. Then hit "play" on VLC, and your song should show up shortly - sing!
When your song is over, I'll be stopping and unsharing the player remotely, and we'll start over with the next singer.
Because of the number of connections, sometimes the karaoke video will be garbled. In that case, I'll stop and start over a few times to try and clear the problem.
I'll leave all mics on in the meeting, so if you're doing something loud while not being the main singer, please mute yourself.
If you're using headphones for better sound, Zoom has no way (yet) of mixing your mic output into them, so you can't necessarily hear yourself very well. I'm still looking into solutions for that short of using a local mixer board.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
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