Ever since Frozen hit theaters in November 2013 – at the beginning of what turned out to be a historically long winter – the buzz over Disney’s remake of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen hasn’t stopped. Families flocked to theaters to make it the highest-grossing animated film in history, with well over $1 Billion in box office revenue, and fans of all ages have been singing along with its soundtrack at home, on YouTube, and elsewhere. Today’s release of Disney Karaoke: Frozen ($8) is the company’s attempt to capture some of that interest and monetize it.
For the asking price, iPad users — not iPhone or iPod users — get an app with nine Frozen songs: Frozen Heart, Do You Want To Build A Snowman?, two versions of For the First Time In Forever, Love Is An Open Door, Let It Go, Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People, In Summer, and Fixer Upper. Each song is effectively a music video taken directly from movie footage, albeit with the music segmented into an ever-playing instrumental portion and an optional vocal track.
Although this may initially seem somewhat unimpressive for an $8 app — you can, of course, pay full price for the Frozen movie on iTunes and just skip to the songs you like – anyone with Frozen-loving kids knows that it’s a lot easier to just hunt for these segments on YouTube and skip through them at will. Disney Karaoke: Frozen eliminates the need to do that, and enables kids to access the videos even without an Internet connection. On first launch, the 94-Megabyte app makes a one-time download of Frozen video content, transforming into a 344-Megabyte file that contains all of the songs. Skipping to any of them is as simple as tapping one of nine pictures on the app’s main menu, a real convenience.
While the Disney Karaoke app works very well to play videos and record your own audio, serious Frozen fans may split on the lack of other frills. Video controls are limited strictly to a play/pause button and a button that returns to the beginning of a song; videos are always overlaid with follow-the-bouncing-snowflake lyrics, which perhaps not surprisingly can’t be turned off. On the rare occasions where there are two performers at the same time, separate lyrics and snowflakes appear on screen simultaneously where the parts diverge. Unfortunately, there’s no scrubber to skip to or re-practice a part of the original video, nor are there ways to record or share videos of yourself singing along to the song, a popular trend in recent months.
Similarly, the audio controls consist solely of a record/stop recording button and buttons to activate or deactivate the vocal track and microphone. Once you’re done, you can save or delete the audio recording before moving on to a different track, but that’s pretty much it. Recordings can be previewed with an in-app browser, but not shared through any means except an export to iTunes.
If your goal is to sing along with Frozen’s popular songs, Disney Karaoke: Frozen is a fine and fun way to do it, as well as to create recordings to enjoy later. It’s more convenient than hunting for Frozen clips on YouTube, with the benefit of accurate on-screen lyrics to inspire better singing. However, fans looking for additional frills such as video recording, social network sharing, or the like may want to hold off for future updates.
iLounge Rating: B