Karaoke startup PureSolo supercharges marketing with X Factor deal

[UK] PureSolo, a UK startup which has developed an online music store which lets people record and share their own versions of well-known tracks, will this week launch a special service with hit UK TV show The X Factor, the American Idol-like show. The branded version for the official website will let fans record themselves singing to all those cheesy tracks the show’s contestants are forced to sing for judges like Simon Cowell. There’s presumably little to stop PureSolo creating other versions for other shows in other markets.

PureSolo technically competes in the online karaoke space with others like MikeStar, an online-karaoke community for Europe. However PureSolo’s emphasis on actual music notation and recording sets it apart from the average karaoke games. The startup, headed by CEO David Kaplan, is bootstrapped and backed by private individuals.

This PureSolo version of the X Factor will focus on the tracks performed in previous seasons and from the series 6 auditions. Once the live shows start this Saturday, backing tracks of the songs used in the programme will be made available as the show is airing. The X Factor, produced by talkbackTHAMES, the UK production company owned by FremantleMedia, has peaked at a viewership of 14.1 million during the last series, so PureSolo is in for a large hit of marketing.

How does it work? PureSolo has a catalogue of thousands of backing tracks. Users download an 8.5MB browser add-on which lets you interact with the site and record a track. The service comes with lyrics, sheet music or guitar tabs and users access a professional backing track. They then record their own versions of the songs and can share the tracks. Each karaoke track costs £0.99 to download, with instrumentals at £1.99. These are effectively rights-free backing tracks you then turn into your own attempt to become a superstar – but if you plan on laying a claim to any rights, I’d maybe read the T&Cs. Users appear to “retain ownership of uploaded User Content” but they grant PureSolo a bunch of rights as well.

Users will be able to download their warbling to MP3 and upload to a dedicated karaoke community for fans of the programme. A ring-tone feature is also planned, which will make for interesting situations on public transport.

Here’s a video demoing the software: