kSolo, acquired by Fox Interactive back in May, faces some new competition in the online karaoke space. SingShot is releasing their own variation of online karaoke tomorrow. The new service is essentially a copy of kSolo heavily influenced by the successful YouTube user interface.
All the basic functionality of the kSolo product is there. Performers can select from a library of songs that are at least about two to three years old, listen to a demo, and record their own version while following along with the lyrics on the screen. The hope is to repeat the success of other social content sites like YouTube by allowing users to share their songs to be voted and commented on by the public. The human filtering will hopefully pick out the Kelly Clarksons in a forest of William Hungs.
The big differences in these two services lie in the details. First of all, kSolo spurned Flash, the now-ubiquitous platform for online video, requires a plugin and runs only on Internet Explorer. SingShot runs completely on Flash and works in all browsers, making it a breeze to set up and start running. Users just have change their Flash settings to allow the program access to their mic. While both programs allow performances to be shared, SingShot follows the simple YouTube model and allows a simple cut and paste link or embed, whereas kSolo has a clunky share feature that allows you to email a link or, after a little hunting, embed your entire playlist on a page.
Both services still haven’t gotten navigation right, though. I found it hard to stumble upon new songs or find ones where I only remembered part of the title or lyrics. Instead, I found myself filtering through broad categories (rock, pop, or 80s) and having to repeatedly hit “next page”. The simple addition of page numbers along the bottom would really help skim through the categories. However, unlike SingShot, kSolo’s search engine fails to recognize “the Beatles” as the same as “Beatles, the”. kSolo does have one up on SingShot when it comes to finding new music, though. They have a feature that allows you to find music that is similar the song you just recorded.
For Today’s launch, SingShot sends a shot across the bow at Fox Interactive Media by launching an aggressive pricing model. SingShot gives two weeks of free use to kSolo’s one week and charges $4.95/month for an annual subscription, $7.95/month for a quarterly subscription $9.95/month for a monthly subscription. kSolo charges $7.95/month for an annual subscription, $8.95/month for a quarterly subscription, and $9.95/month for a monthly subscription.
kSolo is well funded and starts with a larger userbase and song library, but the coming months will see who wins as these two slug it out.
Readers should also check out our coverage of Bix, a contest service that seems ideal for a mashup with these two song sites.