Remote work is here to stay, and it has so far evoked mixed reactions. Getting used to online interactions is hard, particularly for employees who were used to conferring with their colleagues and managers in a collocated office. One way to make interaction something virtual workers can look forward to is to host a virtual team karaoke hour!
The team may not be able to sing at their favourite karaoke haunt in person, but with some prep, they can unleash their singing potential on a Zoom call!
Let’s see what can make virtual team karaoke fun.
1. What are Virtual Karaoke bars?
A virtual karaoke on Teams is an online session conducted on platforms with recording capabilities and enhanced audio and video clarity. Medical science has long since revealed that singing releases endorphins, making it a natural antidepressant.
If you’ve been feeling low when working from home, know that it’s not a coincidence. Remote workers have reported experiencing work-from-home blues stemming from isolation and confinement. In 2017, 41% of remote workers reported higher stress levels. Jamming online with the team gives you something to bond over while enjoying a few smiles and laughs along the way!
2. How to do Virtual Karaoke on ZOOM?
Zoom is a great platform to get the group together on video. Hosting virtual karaoke on zoom is not difficult. It’s easy to get used to over other software and lets you see up to 50 participants on the screen through its gallery view. Conducting a karaoke online party depends on who’s hosting it, where, and who all will be involved.
2.1 Plan it out ahead
The first thing is to plan the session well enough in advance so that everyone is informed and duly reminded to join in. It would be ideal if everyone is game, but it’s also ok if everyone can’t or won’t join in. The reason for their reluctance could be anything, which has to be respected. Planning ahead does give you one advantage though; to encourage them to change their mind.
If you’re the host, you’ll need to set up a meeting on Zoom after downloading it on your laptop/ desktop. The others will need a stable internet connection on their device for the best results. You can parallelly create a room on Watch2Gether which is an online meeting room. The team can watch synced content on it or catch song lyrics via Youtube or Vimeo. When you plan ahead you need to ask yourself how you’ll be conducting this. Will you
- Select the songs beforehand, ask the participants for suggestions or find them together during the session?
- Want to choose an order for the performers or playlist? If yes, you can appoint a KJ (karaoke DJ) to keep track of songs as they begin and end.
- Run a test to ensure that everyone can access the same platform?
- Be able to keep the energy high during the session or re-engage when the enthusiasm is ebbing?
- Have a backup plan in case no one volunteers to sing?
2.2 Select a list of songs
Include and involve the team as a whole in selecting songs. While you can also look up popular karaoke suggestions online, it’s possible that everyone would not have heard of the songs you find and would therefore not know how it goes. Or, they’d need the lyrics because they wouldn’t know all the words by heart. Whosoever’s suggestion makes it to the playlist also has the responsibility to find and post its lyrics and video, if there’s one. Creating the playlist together can curate tracks that everyone is aware of, and it encourages people to learn a new song for their colleague’s sake!
If you’re out of ideas, you can try luckyvoice. It is a platform for virtual karaoke party that features 9000+ songs in their library. You’ll need to launch the app or web player on your phone, depending on whether you’re an Android or IoS user. They’ve helpfully given instructions for how to use the platform which is as follows;
- Log in to the online player to chose your first song.
- Mute the phone and turn down the volume manually.
- Launch Zoom on the laptop and set up a meeting.
- Invite the others after you join in yourself.
- Make sure everyone is muted initially (including yourself).
- On the iPhone, you’ll be prompted to start broadcast on Zoom.
- Run a test by playing the first song on your phone. If it’s coming through clearly with no feedback, then you’re all set!
2.3 Obtain lyrics
Now that you have your songs list, the next step is to get its lyrics. They should be easily available as subtitles on a video or on a separate screen to read from during the sing-a-long. Depending on your group’s preferences, either have songs in a common language (such as English) or in people’s native languages provided the lyrics are easy to obtain. Here are some tips to help you make your selections;
- Select a song most participants know all or most of the lyrics to.
- Stick to an easy vocal range that doesn’t create a strain on the singers.
- Avoid melancholic or obscene songs.
- If it’s a duet or a song that uses different voices, make sure that everyone’s paying attention to the cues on-screen.
If you’re up for some suggestions, here’re some tracks that the team Sorry, I was On Mute, loves!
- Fascinating New Thing, Semisonic
- Shake it Off, Taylor Swift
- I Want it That Way, Backstreet Boys
- I’ll be there for you, the Rembrandts.
- They don’t care about us, Michael Jackson.
With the cast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S reconvening on air on May 27th after nearly 17 years, I couldn’t help humming the song and thought of including it here. It’s a plus that it’s easy to sing, too!
2.4 Run a mic test before starting
The biggest barrier to an online karaoke party is faulty audio. If you’re hosting virtual team karaoke by yourself, be sure that everyone’s microphone and audio settings are correctly configured, up and running. If you’re going with Kabloom, their experts will get the sound and tech stuff sorted, leaving you free to do the actual singing. They’ll set up the Zoom links, create multi-room parties so you can run several karaoke rooms in parallel and engage with your team to help them loosen up.
2.5 Record the session
Recording the session helps you make great memories. You can return to it and replay the recording when you just want to see how much fun everyone had.
2.6 Use a tipping jar (for the best singers)
While optional, it’s nice to leave a token of appreciation (like a tip) for those singers who sang well. It can also encourage those who shied away from singing or only moved their lips soundlessly to actually sing!
3. How to do Virtual Karaoke on Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Other Platforms?
Besides Zoom, you can also set up virtual team karaoke on Teams by
- Having the participants send song suggestions to the host.
- Having the host share screens and signalling the start of the songs.
- Ensuring everyone gets a fair shot at the vocals.
If you’re using Watch2Gether, make sure everyone has access to the link. Once attendees enter a room, they should update the name next to their icon. The room keeps track as and when this is done.
4. Virtual Team Karaoke Etiquettes to Follow
Given how annoying background noises and feedback is, the karaoke experience will be more memorable if everyone follows the same rules, which are
- Have everyone do vocal warm-ups. This can either be a group exercise or individually depending on their choices.
- Remind everyone to be seated in a place where they’re unlikely to be disturbed or interrupted.
- Encourage everyone to hydrate and keep warm water nearby.
- Mute everyone or remind everyone who is not singing to mute themselves.
- Turn down your volume control before increasing it.
- Create a theme (such as everyone wearing the same colour, or dressing up as a specific singing sensation) to add the fun element to your karaoke!
- Keep your video on if your connection is stable enough to support both audio and video.
- Give encouragement to first-timers.
- Applaud at the end of a number.
- Leave time for a post-session discussion.
5. Benefits of hosting virtual team karaoke
1. Helps people overcome inhibitions
Singing as part of a group can be an extreme-anxiety inducing situation for some people, which is why you need to handle it with sensitivity. Constant encouragement goes a long way in helping even the shiest of your employees shed their inhibitions. Virtual team karaoke is about bringing people together so there’s no bar or score for your singing. As the host, it’s your responsibility to make group involvement the focus and to keep the energy going!
2. Relieves work stress
Who would have thought that singing the blues would actually beat the blues? Virtual karaoke on Teams can help remote employees de-stress and unwind. If you push it towards the end of the week, it can also be a great way for everyone to wrap up.
3. Safer for drunken singing
If you thought that you can get drunk only at a bar, think again! If you and everyone on the team are up for it, you can have a boozy version of virtual team karaoke by having everyone down a shot after a song ends. Although, you may want to stick to a safe limit for the number of songs you sing in a session. We don’t want anyone slurring their words or slumping into semiconsciousness by the time they get to the final song!
6. Karaoke Online Party Websites and Apps
Here are some websites and apps to move your virtual karaoke party online;
Singa is a website for participants and singers to sing anywhere, anytime. You’ll get access to tens of thousands of songs, from golden oldies to the latest hits. It’s currently available in the EU,and is slated to hit the Asia-pacific region soon.
TheVoice is a Yokee music app that’s available on both Google and Apple Playstores. Their extensive library of songs features genres such as Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, Rock, Ballads and Country. You can record your songs while adding in special voice and visual effects. Have fun sharing your singing missions with 100M+ singers who are also on TheVoice! It’s similar to Smule and features options to record a solo, or duet and sing along with celebrity musicians!
The Ultrastar Deluxe is a free and open source web alternative to Karaokeparty.com. Not many people know about it, but Ultrastar is in the same league as SingStar. The difference being, it lets users create their own songs on their desktops. The gameplay experience also lets you create contests and vote for your favorite singers! The Ultrastar Deluxe is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac Operating systems.
Karafun is one of the best websites to host a virtual karaoke party. The Karafun app can be downloaded from Playstore or Apple and features 43,000+ studio quality songs in their playlist. I like their offline sync feature which lets the virtual karaoke party carry on even if you’re at a place with bad Internet. Karafun offers a 2-day pass as well as a monthly subscription with unlimited access.
Houseparty is actually a social networking app (like Facebook) that limits the virtual room to 8 attendees. It has recently introduced the Karaoke feature which makes it easy to start an impromptu singing session with your friends and coworkers! All you need to do is download the Houseparty app. Next, click on the mike icon located in the top right corner of your screen. You’ll then see Karaoke as an option.
Houseparty can be downloaded or added to your browser as a Chrome extension.