The rankings and the way in which they are generated have always been one of the most debated issues on Red Karaoke, and any other site that offers the chance to sing or upload music and receive votes. No matter how clear and well planned the system, the popular votes always end in creating problems, because preferences vary from one person to the next, and because many times the system is abused by voting for buddies, voting in return or retaliation, or sometimes by intents to manipulate the ratings and rankings.
In Red Karaoke, we have spent nearly three years working through this problem. Even after creating multiple changes and improvements constantly, the ranking always creates huge debates, protests and complaints, due almost solely to the abuse of the popular voting. The problem is largely based in the confusion that the rankings based on popular votes will show the best singers, when in reality, it almost never does: to be popular in a community of singers has nothing to do with singing well or badly. It´s possibly to be an exceptional singer and never receive any votes because you have no friends in the community, or even because a great singer doesn´t get along well with everyone, or creates jealousy. So, often there are great singers missing from the rankings, which makes them angry, which creates arguments and debate, etc…
The Red Karaoke team has been circling this problem for more than a year, searching for a solution that can make both sides happy: for those who have great vocal technique, and for those that are popular for their personality, have many friends, or have more free time to meet people within the community.
Our solution is RKBot.
RKBot is software, a robot, a machine that analyzes and calculates, completely automatically, the technical quality of any recording. RKBot analyizes the following elements of each recording:
Notes: This relates to how the notes of the melody line are interpreted. Each note is defined by the start, duration, quality of intonation, intensity and the color (how well the note was sung). The color is derived from the results of the analysis of intonation and expression.
Intonation: This relates to to the relative intonation of the voice and the melody over time. In order to judge the melody, RKBot also compares the relativity of the notes with the pattern of intonation.
Expression: This relates to the expressive and ornamental style choices of the singer (vibrato, scoops, portamentos, etc.) The primordial difference between a professional singer and an enthuisast is precicely in the musical expression.
Based on these criteria, RKBot assigns a series of scores and presents a final average for each recording, between 1 and 10. The higher the score given by RKBot, in theory will mean the song analyzed is of a better technical quality. Although it is important to remember one thing: RKBot is not perfect. It is possible that errors may occur, and it is possible that a recording which seems mediocre may get good scores. It is also possible that a recording of bad quality may get a lower score, though the actual vocal techinique is good.
For this reason it´s important to take RKBot´s score with a grain of salt, but in general we believe that he will do a great job of scoring recordings, and will serve as a good judge of the singers with the best technical skills and those lacking something.
But remember, to have a good vocal technique does not always mean a good singer. There are singers whose vocal technique is appalling, and still are very succesfull selling disk by the millions. In music, not everything is black and white, and there are often many influential factors. Without a doubt many professional and succesful singers would receive low scored from RKBot.
Don´t be afraid or worried if their RKBot score are low: it doesn´t mean you still can triumph as a singer and gain many fans.
A very important different between RKBot and other automatic scoring systems like those of Singstar or Lips, is that our RKBot does not compare the recording with the original song. So be sure not to copy about the original, it´s not taken into account. As different as your version could be from the original, what is being rated is a good vocal techinque. This is a big plus of RKBot in comparison with the games mentioned, and permist much more variety and freedom while singing.
TWO TOTALLY NEW RANKINGS
And precisely for this reason, because the machine isn´t everything, and in order to cover every aspect of the site, from now on in Red Karaoke we will have two rankings. Or better said, two groups of rankings: there will be a ranking of users and recordings generated directly from the results of RKBot, and another ranking that we have called “popular” because it deals precisely with the popularity of members based on the votes they receive and the participation on the site. This ranking will also be influenced in part by the RKBot scores, so that working to improve your scores will be important for everyone.
This way, we will have rankings of singers and recording with good vocal technique and rankings of singers and recording that are most popular. The best of both worlds, and both at the same level, with the same space in the main page, and with a spot in each users records and the ranking pages.
Obviously, there remains the option to not receive votes as there has been, for those who don´t want to enter the game of the rankings. Thos who do not want to receive votes will not receive scores from RKBot either. And those who wish to receive votes will be analyzed by RKBot whether they like it or not. That is to say, those who decide to play, will have to play in both ranking, RKBot and Popular. You cannot be in one or the other: it has to be both, which will make the game that much more fun.
60 DAYS AND MINIMUM VOTES
Another important improvement is that, from now, every one of the rankings will only take into account the recordings made in the last 60 days. The older recordings will keep there votes and scores, but will no longer count in the rankings. This new rule will help to be sure the users and recordings that are most prominent are active members of the community, and make the rankings much more dynamic. From what we understand, a person who has not recorded anything in the last 60 days is not very interested in being in the rankings, and so won´t be taken into account.
An important detail: RKBot has only been working a dew days, so it still hasn´t been able to process the scores of recording older than 60 days. This process will continue over the next 3 months, whch means the older recordings, for the moment, will not show the RKBot score, but will soon in the near future.
Another change is that now, in order to receive an average popular rating of a recording, you must have a minimum of 3 votes. Until a recording receives 3 votes, it will not show its average rating. In this way it will be more difficult to know whom and how someone has voted on a song and will avoid some problems. Of course, votes will continue to be anonymous in order to avoid retaliations and fights. In any case, for those who want to know all about how the rankings and voting work (as much as we can tell), we recommend you visit this page.
RED KARAOKE, AS A VIDEOGAME
Essentially, all of this is no more than a game. The rankings simply add a bit of spice to this community. Red karaoke, with RKBot, will seems much more like a videogame like Singstar or Lips, which also give a score to each song. However, in Red Karaoke, we also have the popular vote which makes it much more complete than a traditional videogame. And given that RKBot does not compare the recordings with the original songs when scoring, this gives much more freedom to sing uniquely.
Having RKBot allows us to launch new games and new contests in the future, which we hope will make participation much more fun. We are sure many users will use RKBot to organize parties and games at home, or generate parallel competitions between daring members now that we have an impartial judge.
RKBOT, YOUR SINGING COACH
But RKBot isn´t just the independent judge that so many users have demanded. He is also a teacher, your own singing coach: you will be able to compete with yourself in order to get the best scores, which will help you improve your technique little by little. We are convinced that with RKBot the recordings of our site will improve, and it will be much more interesting for everyone.