The founders of “Guitar Hero” are back in the spotlight with a new start-up. Their goal this time: make everyone sing like a rock star.
John Devecka and business partner, Eric Berkowitz, are the co-founders of “Singtrix,” a product they say is reinventing karaoke.
“Now I can pull off ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on national TV along with anyone else,” Devecka said.
CNBC gave the duo just 60 seconds to take the stage and pitch to a panel of some big acts in the music industry: DJ Skee, Skeematic Inc. CEO and entertainer; Ryan Schinman, Platinum Rye Entertainment CEO and CNBC host and karaoke aficionado Mandy Drury.
Will the founders hit the perfect pitch or go off-key? Watch the video above to find out.
Taking the stage
Devecka and Berkowitz have been inventing and designing games for music lovers for almost two decades. Their biggest hit to date, “Guitar Hero,” sold more than 35 million games. In the U.S. “Guitar Hero” sales reached $2.47 billion at the end of 2010, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm that tracks video game sales.
However, “Guitar Hero” only utilizes instruments. With Singtrix, singing will take the stage.
“I was trying to sing backup vocals in a band and everyone told me to stop singing,” said Devecka.
Both founders searched for the best singing technology to turn the average Joe into a singing pro. After two years of stealth development, they launched Singtrix in November 2013.
Behind the music
The Singtrix system is equipped with a microphone, stereo speaker and stand that holds your smartphone or tablet. To pick songs, Singtrix offers an app with access to more than 10,000 karaoke songs. Users can subscribe to the app for $11.99 per month or purchase individual songs, but users are not required to use the app.
“Singtrix works with any music source and any music. If you play a regular song from your music library you can use our ‘song voice’ button to instantly lower the vocals in regular songs,” Devecka told CNBC.
But Singtrix’s biggest selling point is its vocal effects. The console offers a range of more than 300 voices, including Barry White and Mick Jagger. Users can even choose to sound like robots or like the opposite sex. Singtrix also features vocal harmonies.
“You can sound like an instant choir with just one person’s voice,” said Devecka.
The unit retails for $345, for sale only on Singtrix.com.
Why can't we all just sing along?
During the Power Pitch, CNBC’s Mandy Drury asked if Singtrix is targeting karaoke bars or individual consumers.
“It’s average people who are interested in karaoke and sounding great and having a good time,” Berkowitz responded.
“But just like ‘Guitar Hero,’ there was no market for plastic guitars and people jumping around. So when you give people a new experience with a new technology, that excites people, that gets people singing who never sang before,” Devecka added.
Since shipping their first product in November 2013, the Singtrix founders said they have sold thousands of units in the U.S. They are expanding globally and have thousands of international orders already. The founders also plan to have systems in big box stores for the 2014 holiday season.
Devecka and Berkowitz project sales of up to $10 million for their first year and expect to be profitable.
Singtrix is completely self-funded with more $1.5 million in personal investments and is wholly owned by Devecka, Berkowitz and business partners, Charles Huang and Kai Huang.
See Singtrix co-founders Power Pitch panelists DJ Skee, Skeematic Inc. CEO and entertainer, Ryan Schinman, Platinum Rye Entertainment CEO and CNBC host Mandy Drury.
--Additional Reporting by Erin Barry and Kelly Lin
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