We are #Happy to present one of our largest group songs to date. Sing! user LesterHarmony has created a mega group performance of the song #Happy by Pharrell that has 647 joins and counting. It sounds absolutely amazing, and we’d love to hear your voice on it too, so hop on over to Sing! Karaoke and join in on the fun! There’s a day left to join :)
April Showers bring May Flowers…and also Sing! Updates.
First things first - we have a snazzy new icon. The community voted and this one reigned victorious! Isn’t it purdy? We’ve also added a Recent Opens screen to make duet-browsing more fun and easy. Now you can check out what Open Calls have just been created and use them as digital muses while deciding your next performance.
The team’s been working under the hood, upgrading some boring engineery things and squashing pesky bugs to make your Sing! experience better in lots of little ways (like the app’s load time! We’re really proud of that one.)
The secret’s out. Smule’s one of the weirdest and hottest startups.
CNET interviewed Jeff Smith, our CEO, and called us out for being the weirdest, hottest startup. Awesome. Thanks, Joan! We think you are pretty weird, too :)
If you want to read more about what Joan and Jeff talked about, check out the full article at cnet.com
Introducing Smule’s new Community Manager: Zhen!
2014 is a big year for Smule. We’re growing, both as a company and as a community. There are more Smuleans in the world than ever before. Together, we’re listening, creating, and sharing music in creative and imaginative ways. But this is just the beginning: we’ve got a lot more in the works, and today we’re excited to celebrate a huge next step for us.
Today, we’re excited to introduce to you the next important step in the evolution of the Smule community. Zhen Liu has just joined the Smule team as our first ever official Community Manager! His mission is to create a community hub for all members of our rapidly growing Smule Nation: he’ll be beefing up our blog, posting cool stuff on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and, most importantly, talking with you guys. Without you, our community, Smule would not be what it is today: you are our heart and soul. You are what makes us tick! So we’ll not only be kicking up our communications with you, we’ll also be exploring more robust ways to give you outlets to talk with us and hear what’s going on behind the scenes.
So now, let’s talk a little bit more about Zhen. If you’re a member of the Sing! community, you might already know him as LSKEYof_Zen, and from now on, he will simply be known as Zen - in fact, his year anniversary in the Sing! app is coming up this month. Zhen’s not just a devoted Sing! member: he’s also the first person we’ve ever had submit a cover letter in song form! When he’s not singing, dancing, playing guitar or violin, he’s probably playing basketball, ping pong, or ultimate frisbee. (His favorite color is also blue.)
We’re very excited to welcome Zhen from the community into our ranks and for the important work he’s going to be taking on to make our community one of the best in the world. Stay tuned for more updates from him in the coming weeks! In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with questions, feedback, or just to say hi. You can find Zhen and the rest of the team with our brand new community email address: email@example.com.
AutoRap 2.0 - Rap Battle Challenge feat. An0maly
Up and coming rapper An0maly is challenging you to a Rap Battle using the new AutoRap 2.0. Will you accept? Check out the video above to get more details! An0maly and Smule will judge entries and handpick winners!
HOW TO ENTER
- On an iPhone/iPad/iPod, click here to accept An0maly’s Challenge.
- In AutoRap, accept the challenge and freestyle to your heart’s content!
- Share your performances on Facebook and Twitter to get more loves! The 21 raps with the most loves (♥) will win prizes!
- Grand prize → iPad Air + 1-year subscription to AutoRap
- 20 runner-up prizes → entries with the most loves (♥) receive a 1-month subscription to any Smule app and other Smule swag
The contest will run through 11:59 pm PDT on April 30, 2014.
Download AutoRap for iPhone/iPad!
AutoRap 2.0 - Major update and redesign!
Sup! Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work on AutoRap. Taking all your feedback and suggestions into consideration, we’re proud to show off the latest and greatest iteration. We worked hard…time for you to play hard. Check out the fresh, new AutoRap 2.0!
- Totally New Look: We’ve given AutoRap a major facelift! Give her a spin and tell us what you think.
- Challenge the World: Face off against rappers all around the world in our new Rap Battle feed.
- Record Scratch: Now you can scratch records like a real DJ to give your verses some extra style.
- Longer Raps: We’ve made the maximum recording time longer for more epic throwdowns!
- Create Your Crew: Smule friends with AutoRap are now automatically added to your invite list so you can rap with your crew anytime, anywhere.
- Improved Battle Invitations: Battle Invites are easier to use, so you get into your rap faster.
- Improved Top Rappers Screen: Now it’s even easier to check out the best raps!
Rap Battle Contest: Accept rapper An0maly's challenge for a chance to win an iPad Air and other cool Smule swag! Details.
Sing! Karaoke - March Update!
It’s spring time…warm weather at last! What better way to celebrate than with a Sing! update!
- New audio FX! The “Double You” is a doubler effect; it’s you x 2 for extra oomph and a fuller body sound.
- The pitch arrow on the singing screen is much more responsive to your singing. In other words, you’ll see higher scores than before, that’s a good thing, you’re just that good. :)
- The mic gain slider now shows the gain value to better help control the loudness or softness of your vocals. Keep in mind, however, the gain slider is all relative to how loud or soft your vocals are when you’re recording.
- We’ve heard you! You can now clear the cache from the “Settings” menu and not have to delete and reinstall the app to clear up the phone memory.
- Show the estimated download time to help detect slow networks.
- A few housecleaning fixes under the hood.
Changes to K-Pop Song Availability
Localizing content around the globe is an ongoing mission for us here at Smule. We pride ourselves on seeking and receiving permission to use all content in all territories of the world, which means respecting the wishes of all rights holders. As we expand our catalog, we will continue to bring a wide variety of music to everyone in the Smule family, but for the time being, the majority of our K-Pop content will be limited to users within Korea. These catalogs will grow, so keep an eye out for new content every day!
We have blogged before about the intricacies of the publishing world (see post here: all of these complexities extend to our regional content. We are continuing to work with all our licensors to bring K-Pop (and more!) to Smuleans everywhere, and we will post here with any updates or announcements, so please Follow us to get the latest news as soon as it happens.
Have any special requests? Visit our Facebook page to tell us what songs you would like to see in Smule apps! Rock on!
Magic Piano - Daily Global Challenges!
Introducing the new Daily Global Challenges feature in Magic Piano:
- Compete against Magic Piano players from around the world with Daily Global Challenge!
- The top ranking performers win the Challenge Song and an XP bonus for FREE!
The Largest Online Community of Sing!ers Turns One! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SINGTOPIA!
March 2014 marks a very important time in the history of the Smule Community. Smule’s largest online community of Sing!ers known as Singtopia! Singtopia was founded one year ago this month! They are a vibrant, world-wide community of people supporting each other in their creative endeavors and providing all sorts of fun new ways to interact, collaborate, and share the joy of making music. The story of this group is a classic tale of a few individuals banding together to create, develop, and sustain a vision that has strengthened over time to help make Sing! Karaoke what it is today!
The History of Singtopia
Maria Limperos (Maria66), Nikki Nemeyer (NikkiSongs), and Adrian Sings (AdrianSings) met while creating performances in Sing! Karaoke during the second half of 2012. After many months of singing together and discovering a ton of other Sing!-happy people, their absolute love for the app drove them to want to do something different and spectacular and give back to the Sing! community. This common interest led to the birth of Singtopia, which couldn’t be a more fitting name.
If you hop on over to Singtopia feel free to introduce yourself to them :)
What Makes Singtopia Special
It is impossible to sum up the Singtopia community (which now has over 1,300 members) in a single blog post. What started as a simple Facebook group has expanded beyond its single group origins and is now essentially a mini-empire of Sing!ers spread across the internet. But as far reaching as it is, this group manages to stay true to its roots and maintain its ability to act as an enhancement of the Sing! Karaoke app experience.
I connected with Maria (who is known as the face of Singtopia) to help me create this post and try to distill the group into a few of its parts.
“Our mission was simply to be all-inclusive and to provide a fun, interactive place for Sing! users to collaborate with each other, share performances, learn about the Sing! app features and updates, interact within the community and the app and overall just to have fun and enhance the Sing! experience” - Maria
Singtopia Programs and Affiliated Groups
Singtopia is home to a variety of programs that keep the group fresh and members feeling welcomed, engaged, and connected. One of the programs, my personal favorite, called Singtopia International, is a series of collaborations sung in many different languages including: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, German, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Korean, Arabic, Tagalog, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian. The International program really drives home the fact that music is a universal language, and reflects the core mission of Smule to connect people around the world through music. I HIGHLY recommend checking out some of the performances that SI has generated!
Singtopia has also spawned a number of spin-off groups that address more specific musical interests, making sure that there really is something for everyone. One such group called Singtopia Vocal Skills Workshop is for people who want to learn and grow as vocalists. People in this group share tips on how to be a better singer, provide constructive criticism about each other’s performances, and there have even been free vocal lessons from some Sing!ers who are professional vocal coaches!
Sounds of Singtopia
Considering the group is centered around making music, I asked Maria to send me a couple performances that are representative of the group. Here’s a few songs that represent the various facets of Singtopia!
- Japanese Collaboration and first Singtopia! International Feature
- First Singtopia group song - celebrating the group reaching 150 members
- Dedication to one of Smule’s greatest emerging artists, Guy Lockard!!
- TrebleX (group formed out of Singtopia) singing in sympathy of a family of member
- Largest Singtopia International Collaboration
- Just plain awesome. Mashing up Bollywood with Justin Timberlake
Of course this is just a smattering of some of the cool things Singtopia has been up to over the past year. For me personally, watching Singtopia’s progress has been an absolute pleasure and I’ve been delighted and inspired on a daily basis by the awesome stuff coming form the group.
So happy birthday Singtopia! We look forward to all of the things you produce in year two!
Join The Community
If YOU would like to join in the fun of Singtopia, feel free to join the group on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Singtopia and check out some of their favorite performances by searching for the hashtag #SingtopiaTurns1 on Smule.com or in the app. Happy Singing!
We’re excited to announce a brand new web feature that is designed to bring even more of the community’s creativity into the Smule network, and into Sing! Karaoke.
We have always tried to empower our users to exercise expressivity — a quality which we believe is crucial for musical creation — and now we’re expanding on this belief. We’re opening up our network for users to showcase recordings created anywhere, and unlike any social music network out there, giving the community the ability to join in, collaborate, and create music together.
As you probably guessed from the title of this post, uploading open mics is exactly what it sounds like. If you are a Sing! VIP, you will now be able to upload any .mp3 or .m4a to smule.com, and you can turn this upload into a solo, duet, or group song. This means that anyone in the Sing! Karaoke app can join your open duet or group song, just as if you created it in the app. Just log into smule.com and click on the “Upload” button to get started.
Shae & the web team
ps - If you run into any issues or want more detailed info about specification and requirements, check out our FAQ.
We are excited to announce that J-Pop songs are now available in both Magic Piano and Sing! Karaoke in Japan! Our catalog of localized content will continue to expand, so please stay tuned – we will always let you know when new songs are added.
Why only Japan? Here’s the deal: As a result of the copyrights controlled by Japanese publishers, we do not have global distribution rights for all J-Pop content and so most of our J-Pop content can only be offered in Japan. While it is true that Magic Piano and Sing! are global apps, and we want people to enjoy playing and singing together, we take pride in honoring the licenses that we are granted. If you are located in Japan and are having difficulty viewing J-Pop content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have any special requests? Visit our Facebook page to tell us what songs you would like to see in Smule’s apps! Rock on!
Introducing embeddable Smule players!
As our community grows, more and more amazing content is created. We discover new artists and amazing recordings inside our apps and on our website everyday, and what it’s made us realize is that we need to share this talent with the world. We need to set our content free for everyone to enjoy, and what better way than giving you the total freedom to put your content where you want it? Your blog? Website? You name it.
Share your music with the world…with embeddable players like this one:
Recording by our very own Mo playing guitar, and beautiful vocals by community member @tineelam.
It’s super simple and straightforward. It’s just 3 steps to make this happen. First, find it! As shown in the picture below, the option to embed your recording is located within the “share icon” on all performance pages.
Second, when you see the modal appear (below), click the embed tab and copy the code provided for you.
And last, go to your website, blog, whatever, and paste it where you want it!
That’s it. We hope you enjoy sharing your music more easily, with more people, in more places.
p.s. - Support for wordpress.com coming soon!
Why Indonesia is home to Smule’s largest local community of Sing!ers known as The SmuleNesians
Earlier this month I travelled to Indonesia to meet the world’s largest local community of Sing!ers (aka super users of our app Sing! Karaoke) who call themselves The SmuleNesians. The plan was for me to attend a 2 day Grand Gathering, which they organized to celebrate the group’s 1st Anniversary. By attending the gathering, and meeting the SmuleNesians, I hoped to gain a better understanding of who the SmuleNesians are, and why they have been able to create such an amazingly successful community that started in our application Sing! Karaoke. It was a magical experience and I learned not only a lot about what it takes to create a community like this, but why Indonesian culture may have played a special factor in enabling such a community like this to be developed in the first place. Here are some of my thoughts.
THE DNA OF INDONESIAN CULTURE
First of all, Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world and also happens to be extremely rich in cultural and bio-diversity. Add to that the fact that it is an archipelago nation comprised of over 17,000 islands, and you can imagine the number of musical styles and influences that have developed. I believe one result of this densely populated yet diverse country is that many Indonesians have developed a unique acceptance of the cultural differences within their borders. In fact, the national motto translates more or less to “Unity in Diversity”.
MY GRACIOUS HOSTS
I must admit, I probably wouldn’t have actually gone to Indonesia if it hadn’t been for a few of the SmuleNesians insisting on me being present at the Grand Gathering, which was scheduled months in advance to take place on January 18th / 19th. One of the SmuleNesians even volunteered to be my tour guide and invited me to stay with her family for a week and a half prior to the big event. She lives in LA but planned on leaving a couple weeks early so she could visit family before the gathering. With this type of hospitality as my introduction to Indonesian ideals I had no excuse, so I took her up on the offer, we met on a layover in Taipei, and I flew with her and her father to Jakarta to begin the journey!
IN INDONESIA EVERYONE SINGS AND DANCES…ALL THE TIME
In the time leading up to the Grand Gathering, I got to experience Indonesian culture first hand. The people are extremely friendly, cook great food, and leave no leftovers! I never once felt like an outcast even though I am sure I looked out of place. Oh and one more thing…singing and dancing were almost daily activities.
A couple days into my stay, I tagged along to my host’s father’s high school reunion in a town called Bogor just a couple hours south of Jakarta. Someone brought along a Yamaha PSR-S910 keyboard with an arrangement mechanism that generates drums and bass to follow the performer’s chord selections through what seemed like some sort of magical interpretation. There was also a guitar, and of course wireless microphones and speakers to amplify them. The people created their own entertainment throughout the evening, everyone took turns singing or playing the instruments, and they all danced if they weren’t singing or playing. It was a lot of fun.
A day later at a family gathering there were DVD’s with karaoke tracks, a projector, and a couple wireless mics with another set of speakers to amplify everything. Karaoke started at around 8am and didn’t end until 2am. There were some breaks in between, but it was always an option. Also plenty of dancing. I learned to dance the Indonesian equivalent of “Gangnam Style”, called “Opplosan”. So much fun.
Even at the billiards hall we were given a private room with a single pool table and a karaoke machine that could pump out some serious volume. Everyone sings. Everywhere.
WORLD CLASS KARAOKE FACILITIES
And then there there were the actual karaoke venues, which made the US karaoke places seem like ancient relics.
A 20 inch touch screen controlled the song selection, playlist queue, level balance of microphones and music, and a ton of other things.
The place had 60,000 songs to choose from in various languages, and a music video accompanied each song. Not the cheesy music videos that you often find in the US, these were super high quality versions of the videos for the actual songs you were singing (this would probably cause issues for licensing in the US but still it was cool). There was a flat screen display for lyrics and videos on every visible wall of the room, and up to 6 microphones available. Plus you could add sound effects like applause and whistles etc. Great service too. And EVERYONE is encouraged to sing during pretty much every song. It’s an all inclusive karaoke experience.
Here’s a picture of the SmuleNesians in the Happy Puppy Karaoke room.
Basically my experience in Indonesia suggests that it is a country where the people are accepting of others, musical expression (especially in the form of karaoke) is encouraged on a daily basis, and they seem to have developed a propensity towards being collaborative and generally helping each other out. That is all to say it couldn’t be more Smulean in nature! How cool is that?
More on the SmuleNesians themselves in a later post…stay tuned!