Photo: The Straits Times/ Nivash Joyvin
Shaped like a disc, weighing a mere 150g and fitting into the palm of your hand, Popsical does not look like the average karaoke machine.
But plug it into any sound system and TV and you can be belting out your favourite songs to background music.
Popsical works with a mobile app that contains an ever-expanding music library of more than 30,000 ditties ranging from the classics to the latest hits in more than eight languages including English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Hindi and Thai.
You need an Internet connection to browse and choose from the library.
“It is the future of karaoke,” says Mr Faruq Marican, 30, Popsical’s co-founder and chief executive officer of Charaku, the home-grown start-up behind this invention.
Popsical is currently on global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with a $36,000 goal. So far, more than 85 backers have contributed more than $21,500 and the crowdfunding campaign ends on Feb 23.
Mr Marican says the funds from Kickstarter will go into manufacturing the device. The company hopes to ship the product to backers in April.
About $475,000 in investments has come from companies such as Quest Ventures, the venture capital firm that backed online marketplace app Carousell.
When it goes on the market, Popsical will cost $199. Customers can pay more to add on speakers and wireless microphones.
One of the advantages that Popsical has over conventional karaoke machines is that it is considerably smaller in size because it uses a cloud-based system to store songs.
This also enables the team to add new songs daily, including the recently released hits Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill by British musician Ed Sheeran. Users can ask for songs too.
Moreover, nobody needs to fight over adding songs in a Popsical party as it can support requests from more than one mobile app.
Besides creating song lists on the app, users can adjust the tempo and pitch of the music too.
Those who want to access official music videos and avoid advertisements can sign up for a premium account at $9.99 a month. Otherwise, users will mostly sing along to a simple screen flashing lyrics.
Bigger plans are in the works for Popsical. A store selling the device will be set up in the next few months, Mr Marican says, although the company has yet to confirm a location.
He adds that it hopes to expand to neighbouring markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Popsical is striking the right note with karaoke fans in Singapore.
One of its backers on Kickstarter, Dr Irene Lee, considers it one of the smallest and smartest karaoke systems around.
The entrepreneur, who is in her 40s, says: “It’s compact, portable and easy to use with the cloud-based system. I can now do away with the bulky and cumbersome karaoke machines that took up a lot of space in my living room.”
The original version of this story was published in The Straits Times on 3 Feb, 2017.
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