When Monte Miersch from German-based Mikestar walked up the stage of the Next08 conference this morning and said he has started an online karaoke service, he got laughed at by the audience and called “pathetic” by the moderator. If Tokyo is the place where people devour karaoke, Hamburg is the other extreme. But let’s face it, almost everybody loves karaoke. And if you don’t, you will after a couple of beers. Moreover, it’s really 2.0 fashionable since Digg set up a Rock Band room at their Web 2.0 Expo party. I still have dreams about the Ok Go show I gave with iJustine.
So I’d like to take a stand for Miersch, and I’m glad I have the Next Web as a medium. Mikestar allows people to sing together by turning on their webcam and singing the lyrics. Sounds good for people who love a spontaneous karaoke session. I believe it has the potential to become really popular.
After working through some licensing deals, Mikestar launched an open beta version last January and closed one round of VC funding. Their business model makes sense, as they attract a young target group who are sensitive to branding, which Mikestar does in a cool way. For example, they’ve branded a bathroom producer by building a shower around the video screen. Obviously a hint to the secret shower performances of all those aspiring pop stars out there. Moreover, Mikestar sells dvd’s and music.
Miersch told the audience that they’re looking for strategic partnerships with companies that have an international background – meaning not just Germany. Well, I have two pieces of advice: Firstly, develop a Facebook app. It will be a monster hit. Secondly, try North East Asia. At least you won’t get laughed at there.