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Who invented Karaoke?

For people interested in a good time, karaoke is right up there with other popular pastimes such as bowling, playing pool, tossing darts, and dancing. Karaoke nights are popular events in bars, pubs and clubs all over the world and some people even like having karaoke parties at their home.

While karaoke is popular, there seems to be little information about who invented karaoke, the karaoke machine and karaoke culture. Keep reading for more information about the invention and evolution of karaoke.

What is Karaoke?

Although most people know what karaoke is, they might not know what the word ‘karaoke’ means. Karaoke is an abbreviated Japanese compound word. Kara, short for karappo, means empty and oke, short for okestrua, means orchestra.

So, karaoke means ‘empty orchestra’ or music without a lead singer.
Karaoke is a form of interactive entertainment developed in Japan in which an amateur singer sings (with greater or lesser talent) along with recorded music. The music is usually an instrumental version of a popular song. Lyrics are typically displayed on a video screen along with a moving symbol, to guide the singer.

The Invention of The Karaoke Machine

The Karaoke machine, which has energized the karaoke culture into what it is today, was developed by Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician. Inoue was a struggling keyboard artist at a club in Kobe, Japan. He used to play drums and piano to accompany patrons when they wanted to sing.

Inoue first thought to make the machine when a local businessman asked him to record some instrumental songs on an open-reel tape recorder in keys that made it easier for him to sing along.

The businessman had invited Inoue along on a trip to accompany him live but Inoue had his job at the club and couldn’t go with him. According to Inoue, his original Karaoke machine was just a vehicle stereo, a coin machine (like the ones utilized by arcade amusement machines), and an intensifier.

Inoue carried karaoke into the bar scene by renting machines to nearby bars, which would enable any patron to attempt their hand at singing a melody for a mere 100 yen.

His company produced 25,000 machines before ending operations when his tape-based machines could not compete with the new laser disk based machines his competitors were producing.

Inoue never patented his Karaoke machine, originally called the Juke 8, so numerous Japanese hardware companies exploited the Karaoke market and outfitted their own machines for business and individual uses. When asked about it later, Inoue claimed to not be upset about the fortune he missed out on since he thought that not patenting the machine allowed karaoke’s popularity to spread faster.

However, Inoue did receive an Ig Nobel Prize, which rewards weird but thought-provoking inventions, in 2004 for his achievement. Also, in 1999, TIME magazine named him one of the most significant Asians of the century. Not a bad legacy for a man who freely admits he was too lazy to read sheet music.

Karaoke in Asia

By the 1980’s, karaoke had gotten renowned across Asia. The success of karaoke in Asia amid this time was helped by the way that tunes did not need to be converted from one Asian dialect into another before they could be used for singing.

The innovation of the karaoke machine likewise enhanced amid this time, as organizations began to supplant the tape with the laser disk. With the prevalence of MTV and music videos, a special type of laser disk (the video laser disk) was made to enable music videos to be played alongside the Karaoke singer.

Karaoke Reaches the United States

At the point when the 90’s arrived, the karaoke machine made it into the United States. While karaoke was not incredibly popular in the United States at first, it gradually caught on as more individuals put in home theater systems which included karaoke machines.

Moreover, the 90’s karaoke user acquired the machines that could download every karaoke tune that somebody wanted or needed to sing. These machines would connect to the web and download the ideal tune using an internet connection.

Presently, in the 21st century, karaoke has turned into a standard piece of popular culture. Karaoke bars are currently the normal scene to sing at and include a great exhibit of innovation that makes the original karaoke machines seem strange.

Karaoke libraries are never again restricted to a set number of melodies with the expansion of the DVD and the enhancement of web connections. Moreover, new hardware can change the karaoke melody to fit the vocal range of the singer.

Currently, karaoke is available in many forms other than traditional machines. There are karaoke video games for game consoles as well as computers. There are karaoke apps for smart phones. Considering the advances of karaoke since it was created in the early 1970’s, it must be accepted that the innovation behind it will keep on enhancing entertainment in businesses and homes for years to come.


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