Last night I was awakened again at 2AM by the sounds of revelers from the newly-wildly-popular neighborhood bar spilling out onto the street. The noises featured people talking, yelling at one another, and singing, and then also this car that drove by with the bass on its stereo cranked up so high that my bed and nightstand shook. And, all kinds of ritualistic horn-honking.
The mayhem lasted sufficiently long that by the time it was over there was no way I was going to easily get back to sleep, so I started reading one of the dozen or so books on my nightstand, Karaoke Nation, by Steve Fishman. The book is about how Fishman, a magazine writer, decides to give himself a year to try to make a million dollars, where the Million Dollar Idea he ends up fixing upon is an online karaoke site. The book hooked me and I spent a good chunk of last night and today finishing it, where I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. Which means that the sudden upswing of the bar on the corner (and my persistence in living here) ended up costing me like another 6-7 hours of my life. That said, KN was a pretty entertaining read.
Just checked and Fishman's brainchild (taken over by others and renamed Karaoke Station) indeed does exist. The idea with the site is that people would really love recording karaoke songs online and sending the recordings to friends (so much that they'd be willing to pay for the service). I'll admit to being glad that this didn't catch on, so I don't have to deal with the guilt of sending "Bravo!" e-mails to friends about renditions of "The Greatest Love of All" and "The Tide is High" that I hadn't actually bothered to listen to. For that matter, I can imagine my mother, with her mad forwarding skillz, sending me country songs sung by second cousins and other relatives that I've met twice and scarcely remember.
The Karaoke Station website has a small library, although I was pleased to see that Matchbox 20's 3AM was one of their selections, since this was the time at night that I had started reading the book.
BTW: While I liked Karaoke Nation, if you want to read a really entertaining book about the Internet boom and crash, check out Leaving Reality Behind, by Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler. It's the story of the battle over naming rights between this German performance art group, etoy, and about this ambitious Internet toy-store start-up, E-Toys.