Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q. What is the primary mission of the South Bay Karaoke Group?

A. Our primary goal is to promote and support karaoke wherever and however it may be found. Period. We are a group of individuals from all walks of like with just one thing in common: We love karaoke! We have over 800 members and everyone is welcome.

Q. What is Karaoke?

A. According to, Karaoke is the "act of singing along to a music video, especially one from which the original vocals have been electronically eliminated." Most historical accounts trace karaoke as originating in Japan, though some claim it began in the Phillipines and later became wildly popular in Japan. The word "karaoke" means "empty orchestra." Karaoke music has lead vocals have been scrubbed with lyrics presented on a screen for the singer to use.

Q. How does it work?

A. It's very easy: You pick a song and sing the words on the screen. The music will play in the background without the lead vocals, so your voice will be the only one heard. Some variations of the songs have background vocals as well. Each person picks a song to sing. Most Karaoke DJ's (KJ's) will have a set rotation, meaning every person gets a chance to sing, one after the other, then the list repeats. Sometimes the rotation can get very long, depending on how many people want to sing. (More on that later) Some KJ's alternate old and new singers in order to give more people a chance to sing and to keep the rotation moving. And some KJ's have no rotation whatsoever. Each KJ determines how he or she wants the show to run. The South Bay Karaoke Group respects the KJ's and house rules at all times. We do not quarrel with the KJ's about rotation. We find ways to support KJ's and karaoke venues, and we work within the rules to give our group as much singing time as possible.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. There is no cost to join South Bay Karaoke Group and there are no membership dues. We schedule meetups primarily at venues that offer free karaoke to patrons, rather than at traditional karaoke bars which have private rooms at an hourly charge. Members are responsible for the cost of their own food and/or beverage choices at all karaoke events. We usually ask for separate checks in such cases, or people can pay as they go at the bar. Some establishments have a 2-drink minimum or a minimum food cost. If we know about a location's minimum order policy, we publish that information in advance so members are prepared. Also, we encourage attendees to tip KJ's who are underpaid and overworked.

Q. How often do you have karaoke events?

A. As often as our Members can handle it! We meet at least once a week, but average 2 or more karaoke events per week. Sometimes we have back-to-back karaoke events over several days, such as Pub Crawl week in March (7 straight days of karaoke) and Cinco De Mayo Mania in May (5 straight nights of karaoke). We are serious about karaoke, and we schedule karaoke events as much as we can. We have more than 100 meetup events per year.

Q. Where does the group go to karaoke events?

A. We attend karaoke venues all over the South Bay, specifically within the 408 area code. We schedule meetups regularly in the following cities: Alviso, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Milpitas, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. Occasionally, we may have a Meetup scheduled outside of these cities if there is sufficient interest, but only on a case-by-case basis. Most of our members live within the cities listed above and it is difficult to get attendance at events outside those cities. However, we are open to other area codes and locations provided there is sufficient interest. And we have't ruled out the occasional day trip or road trip in the future.

Q. Are there any karaoke places you won't go?

A. There are very few places within the 408 area code that our group will not visit for karaoke. It depends on the venue and the KJ. We've braved the lowest of the dive bars to the poshest of clubs in search of a great karaoke experience. We give every location and KJ a fair chance, and often multiple chances. Nearly all of our experiences have been fun. Unfortunately, some venues are not well suited for karaoke due to size, location or layout. Some have faulty equipment or little or no songs available. And, in a very few isolated instances, some bar owners and/or KJ's have been abusive to our members, so we choose not to return or patronize those establishments or KJ's. But these are the exception, not the rule. We go wherever we can find karaoke in the South Bay, and we are always looking for new places.

Q. Do I have to sing to be a member or attend an event?

A. Membership is open to singers and nonsingers alike. We strongly (and most supportively) encourage members to sing at events. This is a karaoke group after all. Most events are open to singers and non-singers alike. However, due to the size or popularity of certain venues, in some cases we do limit attendance to singers only. We also give priority to singers over non-singers when events are full and/or there is a waiting list. If you are a non-singer attending an event that has a waiting list, we ask you to consider giving up your spot to a singer on the waiting list.

Q. How do I find out about future events?

A. New meetup events are emailed to all members when they are scheduled. You will also receive reminders about the events a week before and the day before. From time to time, we send out a regular email updates to discuss upcoming events and other karaoke news in the South Bay. For more information about future events, check out the group's calendar at

Q. Do I really have to RSVP in order to attend an event?

A. YES YOU DO. Please, please RSVP. We need members to RSVP to make meetups work. Different locations have different size restrictions and layouts. Therefore, we need to rely on the RSVP's in order to get a proper headcount and, most importantly, to know how many seats to save. Karaoke events can get very crowded with enormous rotations. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can save seats, sign up early and SING MORE SONGS! RSVP's are critical to helping us know how many people will be there. They help us minimize the risk of being left without a seat or a song. So, please ALWAYS be sure so RSVP so we can make sure we have a proper head count and keep the odds in favor of our group at all times. Also, if your schedule changes and you can no longer attend a meetup event, please be sure to update your RSVP so we know about it, and you can free up a spot for someone else.

Q. I'm not sure I can attend an event. May I RSVP "maybe"?

A. Meetup disabled "maybe" option some time ago, and our group does not permit maybe as a response. If you are not sure you can attend, please RSVP "No" but add a comment explaining that you are not sure, but will try to attend. Then, if your schedule should change and you are sure you can make it, you are welcome to attend if there is still room available. Just change your RSVP to "Yes". Bottom line, we want people to come, so if your schedule changes at the last minute, send me an email at We make no guarantees, though, if you don't RSVP.

Q. How do I let you know my schedule has changed?

A. Log on to the Meetup website and change your RSVP status to indicate you will attend. You can make changes up until the start of the event. If you can't access meetup or don't have time, send me an email at Please do not flake out by failing to notify us of a change in your schedule.

Q. Why do the KJ's have so many versions of the same song? What do the letters mean?

A. There are many different versions of karaoke songs published by different karaoke companies. Some KJ's have a separate entry for each different version of the karaoke song. The letters in the song books usually refer to the karaoke publisher, such as DK, Sound Choice (SC), Legends (LG), Popular Hits Monthly (PHM), Pocket Tunes (PT), Chartbusters (CB), etc. Some singers are very particular about which version they want to sing because of the quality of vocals or the differences in the lyrics.

Q. I have some comments about a meetup event. How do I share them?

A. Feel free to post your comments about the event. We welcome all candid and detailed feedback.

Q. I want to bring friends to attend an SBK event. May I do that?

A. Our default RSVP setting allows you to bring one guest to the event. Some events fill up fast, so we try to give members priority. If there is still space available and you want to bring more than one guest, please email me at We'll do our best, but we cannot guarantee spaces for large groups who are not members of the SBK. Encourage your friends to join SBK and RSVP for the event so they can RSVP for themselves and secure a spot.

Q. I really liked a certain karaoke place. When can we go back there?

A. We rotate meetups at various different locations throughout the South Bay. There are over 50 karaoke venues in the South Bay and we like to check them all out. Unlike some other karaoke groups, we do not stick to a set schedule or limit our appearances to certain venues. There are some places that are very popular with our group members, so we often return to them. But we believe in spreading the love to maximize the enjoyment of our karaoke experiences. We try to make it to most karaoke venues on our master list in order to support the KJ"s and keep karaoke alive in as many places as possible.

Q. WHY is it taking so long for me to sing?

A. Time flies when you are having fun. But not, unfortunately, when you are stuck on a long rotation. It's a matter of simple arithmetic: the more singers in the rotation, the longer you will have to wait for your turn. Your wait time will depend on the number of singers in the rotation, the average length of songs and how much downtime there is between singers. Each person's song will last an average of 3-5 minutes. For example, a 10 person rotation will take about 50 minutes if the KJ is moving things along with little or no downtime between singers. Some KJ's play lots of music between singers and/or make announcements. Others have long pauses or extended dance sequences between songs. Sadly, there can be a lot of wasted time in karaoke when KJ is not as efficient as he or she could be. It's even more painful when the total karaoke time is limited to 3 hours or less. Bottom line, you just have to be patient and wait your turn. Make the most of your song choices to enjoy the evening as much as you can.

Q. What can I do to make sure I get to sing more songs?

A. Follow our suggestions and guidelines. There's a method to the madness, my friend. Everything SBK does is designed to maximize your karaoke experience by increasing chances to sing and minimizing wasted time. For example, we schedule all meetups to begin 30 minutes before karaoke starts. Why? So we can cut down on time lost trying to find a seat, picking songs, turning in song selections, etc. The earlier you get there, the sooner you can turn in your song selection and start to sing. More importantly, if you show up on time and turn in your song choices early, you will have a higher place in the KJ's rotation (assuming a standard rotation is used.) This increases the number of times you will get to sing in a given night. You can save even more time by picking your songs in advance from the KJ's website or song list where available, or bringing your own list of standard songs to the meetup. That way you can just give your KJ a list of songs when you arrive and sing them in order. By contrast, if you show up 1-2 hours late, after karaoke is well underway with no idea what you want to sing, facing a huge rotation, you'll be hard-pressed to sing even one song that night. So, the moral of the story is: stick with SBK and we'll get you where you want to go.

Q. Where can I get ideas for songs? How do I practice?

A. Check out, listen to the radio, or talk to fellow members of the group. Sing in the showers, in your car, or at a Meetup event with a fellow member. Keep a list of songs you want to try out, then practice at home. Or, just wing it. No matter what, you'll be surrounded by a group of supportive friends who can't wait to hear your next song.

Q. I want to do a song that is a duet. How do I find a partner?

A. Post it on the event comments page or on the group's bulletin board.

Q. The group has no event planned for tonight, but I want to sing! Where can I go?

A. Check out our master list of karaoke venues at: http://files.meetup.c... It's very outdated, so please keep in mind that some of the locations on this list may no longer have karaoke. Call first and check to see if there is karaoke at the place where you want to go. We plan to update this list soon.

Q. I'm a KJ and I want to promote my shows. May I do that here?

A. Absolutely! Join our group feel free to post information about your shows on the bulletin board. Please also email me at

Q. Are you on Facebook??

A. Yes. There is a private group on Facebook for our members who are also on Facebook. It's a way for SBK members to connect on Facebook, post karaoke-related topics, learn about new karaoke shows and schedule informal karaoke gatherings. We also offer a FREE platform for KJ's who are members of SBK to post information about their shows. However, you must be a member of the SBK Meetup group to be part of this Facebook community. If you would like to join our Facebook group, come friend me on Facebook at

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) November 13, 2014 4:15 PM Ellie
Vitamin K Reports February 7, 2011 4:59 PM Ellie
About South Bay Karaoke Group March 16, 2010 1:17 PM Ellie

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