Welcome to M-Bar, the future of WeChat empowered Karaoke!
M-Bar (www.ucmbar.com) is a Chinese startup from Xiamen city in Fujian province that runs a line of staff-less Karaoke booths empowered completely through WeChat. Want to learn how it works? Check out the video below from our friend Manya Koetse at the very excellent WhatsOnWeibo:
Video length: 1:36 mins
How does WeChat Karaoke Work?
Today I hopped on a Mobike to check the nearest M-Bar karaoke booth 7 minutes away for myself. It really does work entirely through WeChat. Although there are screens, it’s actually easier and more intuitive to use your phone to select the songs. The booths each have 2 seats and 2 mics each, perfect for dating couples to share a special memory.
Above: Scan QR to begin
Prices ranged from 36 yuan ($5.2) for 28 minutes up to 55 yuan ($8) for 58 minutes of uninterrupted private singing pleasure. I was surprised when I could select, pause, skip and repeat songs from my phone with virtually no time lag (see below).
A key value add from using WeChat comes from the online social aspect. Each song once sung is recorded and uploaded to your account on their cloud server. From the YouChang WeChat account you can then easily share this recording on your moments newsfeed and in groups.
Above: What it looks like to share your song on moments newsfeed
You can also listen to other people’s recording, check out which are the most popular songs or challenge friends to beat your singing score. Search within WeChat for 友唱Bar to check out their WeChat account (see below).
By selecting M-bar and then 预定友唱 (Reserve) from the account menu you will be able to find the nearest karaoke booth based on your location. You can book and pay for a time slot in advance through WeChat to avoid disappointment on arrival.
Above: Reservation system
Analysis of WeChat Karaoke
YouChang really harnesses the power of WeChat’s mix of social, content and payments to add a LOT to the normal karaoke experience. Some of the key advantages of using WeChat:
Payments: WeChat reduces the friction for consumers to pay. We no longer need to make sure we have the correct change in our pocket or become frustrated as the machine rejects our crumpled bank note. The company will also have reduced staffing costs as they no longer need to collect cash from the machines. As the transaction is instantaneous they receive payment faster.
Social sharing: Customers can store and share their songs with their friends. Something not usually possible with normal Karoke. They can also share discount coupons and/or social ranking competition information seamlessly.
More and better data: YouChang can collect far more data on their customers than they would be able to otherwise. They can identify repeat customers easily. They also can identify the social influencers promoting their service online to their friends and incentivize them further.
Easier marketing: Through their WeChat service account YouChang can continue to market to their customers after they have finished singing with weekly promotion pushes on their WeChat account.
And there’s more…
YouChang is just one example of the increasing number of WeChat empowered entertainment options popping up over China. Below is a WeChat claw crane arcade game spotted in Beijing.
Photo credit: Mikey Chee
Below a WeChat free photo printing machine spotted in Guangzhou:
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