News & Releases

Phoenix Introduces New Production Plan

Phoenix Entertainment Partners, LLC announced today that it will resume production of new karaoke tracks under the Sound Choice brand, in a new program known as Sound Choice ADVANCE.

The company will accept prepaid reservations from its existing licensees, who will receive a digital album of between 8 and 12 new, never-before-produced karaoke accompaniment tracks.

The number of tracks will be determined based on the number of paid reservations the company receives before September 30, with a guaranteed minimum of 8 tracks. After the reservations period closes, those who made reservations will cast votes to influence the selection of songs to be produced.

The company will deliver the tracks within 1-2 months after the reservations period closes, subject to licensing and production considerations.

"It's an exciting day for our company and for the karaoke industry as a whole," Kurt Slep, Phoenix's president, said in a prepared statement. "For years, KJs have approached us with the question, 'when are you going to make new tracks?' We've finally figured out a way to make this happen that makes good financial sense."

Slep said Phoenix expects to use some of the same engineers and musicians who made the trademark Sound Choice sound between 1985 and 2010. "We've got a reputation for quality, and we intend to keep it," he said.

Reservations cost $30. Each reservation will entitle the purchaser to one copy of the Digital Album at no additional cost when it's released. Even after release, the album will be available only to Sound Choice Certified KJs, HELP licensees, GEM series licensees, and verified original disc-based operators, and will be available only through Phoenix.

Phoenix Entertainment Partners is the owner of SOUND CHOICE®, the most popular brand of karaoke accompaniment tracks in the United States. More than 30,000 professional karaoke jockeys and commercial venues rely on the SOUND CHOICE brand each week for accompaniment music at bars, restaurants, social clubs, and private events across the nation. SOUND CHOICE is a registered trademark of Phoenix Entertainment Partners, LLC.

Litigation with EMI and Sony/ATV Resolved

Phoenix Entertainment Partners, LLC, together with its predecessor in interest, Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation, more commonly known as Sound Choice, today announced that three previously pending lawsuits brought against the companies and others by Sony/ATV Music Publishing and the EMI consortium of music publishers, have been finally and fully resolved.

All three lawsuits, including two in New York and one in Tennessee, have been dismissed voluntarily.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” James M. Harrington, Phoenix’s general counsel, said in a prepared statement. “All parties worked together to produce a mutually beneficial resolution to the litigation in a way that confirms not only that the SOUND CHOICE brand will continue to be available to the karaoke industry, but also that the music publishers will participate in the rewards of our innovative new programs.”

Phoenix has entered into a license agreement with Sony and EMI that covers Phoenix’s new Hassle-free Easy Licensing Program (“HELP”). Under that program, karaoke hosts and venues that sign a license agreement with Phoenix gain access to more than 16,500 “red logo” SOUND CHOICE karaoke accompaniment tracks under streamlined licensing terms and without disc audits. Licensees pay a monthly fee under the HELP program and, in exchange, won’t have to worry about lawsuits from Phoenix or from participating publishers.

Phoenix also confirms that the licensing of the SOUND CHOICE GEM series will continue on the same terms as Slep-Tone offered before. Rumors of a forced recall of the GEM series, which circulated at various points while the litigation was pending, turned out to be completely unfounded. “There was nothing whatsoever to those rumors,” Harrington said. “It was never a real possibility—just wishful thinking put out by some in the karaoke industry who planned to profit from our hoped-for demise.”

“With these lawsuits now ended, one of the major obstacles to the production of new karaoke tracks has been removed,” Harrington added. In the continuing battle against rampant piracy, however, new Sound Choice®-branded song files will only be available to HELP or GEM Series licensees and Certified KJs, Harrington said.

Phoenix Entertainment Partners is the owner of SOUND CHOICE®, the most popular brand of karaoke accompaniment tracks in the United States. More than 30,000 professional karaoke jockeys and commercial venues rely on the SOUND CHOICE brand each week for accompaniment music at bars, restaurants, social clubs, and private events across the nation. SOUND CHOICE is a registered trademark of Phoenix Entertainment Partners, LLC.

New Certification Program Now Available

Based on popular demand, we've brought back our certification program for karaoke operators who wish to use media-shifted karaoke tracks bearing the SOUND CHOICE® trademarks, service marks, and trade dress to produce commercial karaoke shows.

This program is similar to the certification program run by Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation, but the process has been streamlined. Certification applications are now taken online.

The major benefit of certification is that certified operators receive a "Covenant Not to Sue" document that constitutes our permission to use our trademarks, service marks, trade dress, and other intellectual property in connection with karaoke tracks stored on non-original media (such as hard drives). Certification helps us avoid suing karaoke operators who can show 1:1 correspondence between their original disc and their non-original media and focus our anti-piracy activities on those operators who have not bothered to maintain 1:1 correspondence.

More details and a link to the application system are available on our Certification page.

Phoenix Entertainment Partners Acquires Sound Choice Marks, Other Assets

Key points:
  • Sound Choice trademarks now owned and administered by PEP
  • Sound Choice Certified KJ program continues at least for a limited time
  • Hassle-free Easy Licensing Program (HELP) begins

On February 10, 2015, Phoenix Entertainment Partners, LLC (“PEP”) acquired certain assets belonging to Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation, including the SOUND CHOICE® trademarks, certain copyrights, and other assets.

PEP plans to continue Slep-Tone’s program of rights enforcement through litigation and is in the process of taking over Slep-Tone's litigation portfolio.

Since 2009, Slep-Tone has used a variety of certification programs combined with litigation to protect the Sound Choice brand. Most of that effort has been focused on making certain that every karaoke operator maintained 1:1 correspondence between discs owned and karaoke tracks on hard drives. That approach, while effective, is costly to implement in terms of both money and time, both for the karaoke operators and for Sound Choice.

While certification remains available for at least a limited time, PEP is announcing a new, simplified licensing program, HELP℠, for karaoke professionals and the venues that host karaoke entertainment using SOUND CHOICE® karaoke tracks. HELP, PEP’s Hassle-free Easy Licensing Program, focuses on the quality of the tracks the operator is using rather than requiring a detailed accounting of 1:1 correspondence. That means there are no disc audits required. As long as their physical tracks meet certain technical requirements for quality, operators who join the HELP program can use any of the more than 16,500 “red logo” tracks in Sound Choice’s historical catalog, regardless of where or how those tracks are stored, without being concerned about trademark infringement. HELP℠ is PEP's new Hassle-free Easy Licensing Program. Participating operators pay a simple monthly fee based on the number of karaoke rigs they operate. Venues can also join the HELP program.

This new program will make it easier for karaoke operators to rely on the quality of SOUND CHOICE® accompaniment tracks without worrying about costly compliance procedures centered on 1:1 correspondence. It will also make it easier for Sound Choice to focus on leveling the playing field for legitimate karaoke operators through litigation and, most importantly, to put resources toward new production.

HELP is available today. Operators and venues can learn more and sign up for the program at this link.

SOUND CHOICE®, America’s leading karaoke brand, is the top-rated and most-used brand of karaoke accompaniment tracks in most of the more than 40,000 bars, restaurants, and other venues in the United States that host at least one karaoke show per month. Sound Choice accompaniment tracks are consistently rated as being the most accurate and the closest to the sound of the original recording for more than 16,500 popular songs in all eras and genres.

SOUND CHOICE and the SOUND CHOICE Logo are registered trademarks and registered service marks and HELP℠ is a service mark of Phoenix Entertainment Partners, LLC.

The HELP program is not yet available for operators who reside or do business in New York or Tennessee.
The HELP program is now available in all 50 states.