Karaoke is a source of entertainment that is huge in many places of the world because it's a way for everyone to enjoy the music they love and let's face it, it's a way to make fun (in a healthy way) of our friends.
Even though going to karaoke boxes or bars it's quite popular, there are very few people who keep track of its history. Throughout all the advancements in technology that the music industry has seen (radio, cassette players, disc, iPod, etc), karaoke machines are also - a forgotten - part of that history.
We know that many of you enjoy becoming singers for the night, but in this article, you will learn about a basic and small part of how karaoke was created. for you to share some fun facts with friends the next time you're at a karaoke box.
If you are the kind of person that doesn't really understand why people enjoy karaoke, you might want to reconsider and continue reading about the origins, places it's popular and the benefits karaoke can have to your health.
How did Karaoke Originate?
Karaoke machines were invented around the same time as the development of audio-visual technology. The concept first was introduced in a popular series called Sing Along with Mitch in the decade of the 60s. The show started off with a characteristic song and its lyrics displayed on the bottom part of the TV screen.
This created interaction between the audience and the host Mitch Miller as everyone could sing along to the popular theme song. This karaoke-like TV show introduced the idea of having an audience singing along to songs by displaying song lyrics on a video and a screen.
Later, during the decade of the 70s, a Japanese musician called Daisuke Inoue essentially invented the karaoke machine. He realized that many people wanted to sing along to his songs at home, during social gatherings, or on work trips.
He came up with a business idea and he started to tape his music and rent out the machines to people who wished to play his music and sing along to his songs.
In 2004, Daisuke Inoue was awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize for inventing karaoke under the idea that it created "a new way for people to learn to tolerate each other".
For more information read about the Origins of Karaoke.
Where is Karaoke From?
As we mentioned above, karaoke is originally from Japan. The word karaoke comes from Japanese; kara means empty and ōke is short for ōkesutora which means orchestra.
Inoue's business idea didn't sit well with the Japanese culture at first. People saw the machines as too expensive and thought they could use the money for other things rather than waste it on what seemed to be a game.
But with time, Inoue adapted his idea and expanded his targeted market by appealing to restaurants, bars, and hotel rooms, and with this new market, the karaoke boxes emerged.
There was another machine, similar to the one invented by the Japanese musician, created by Roberto del Rosario, an inventor from the Philippines.
This new invention was called "Minus-One" and it was a sing-along system that del Rosario created in 1975 and patented in the 1980s. He was quick to realize that his invention had a huge potential so he didn't waste time and got his patent right away, something that Inoue didn't bother to do.
Keep reading about this subject in our article titled Where is Karaoke From?
Where is Karaoke Popular?
Although karaoke is known worldwide, there are some countries where this activity appeals to people more than others. In Asian countries, especially Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea, karaoke is widely popular which is understandable since these are the countries where karaoke was created.
Asian households typically have karaoke machines at home, and each kid there probably grew up with one in their living room.
In Asia, especially in Japan and the Philipinnes, singing is a big part of the culture and this is why it was so normal for everyone to enjoy picking up a microphone and sing to a pop or rock song in front of an audience at a bar.
Karaoke is so popular in Asia that it is usually a common after-work activity. People there like to go directly to a karaoke bar after work and have a drink, sing a top song with famous lyrics, and enjoy with coworkers before going back home. Going out to a karaoke bar with your colleagues is also seen as a team-building exercise and therefore it is often encouraged by companies.
On the other hand, if you come from a Western country, specifically, if you grew up in the United States, it's possible that karaoke was not something people enjoy doing, either going to a bar or having a machine at home.
If there are families in the US that have a karaoke machine in their house they probably hardly use it, contrary to the Japanese. An American family that has one of these machines probably only got it for parties or social gatherings.
Contrary to Asian culture, after-work activities with coworkers aren't very popular in the United States, and even if it were to happen, karaoke is probably the last thing in anyone's mind as an activity to do with your colleagues.
You can find more information about the places Karaoke is Popular.
Benefits of Karaoke
Singing can be very beneficial both for your mental and physical health, which is why karaoke is an activity that can help you out in many aspects of your life.
Singing can help your physical health because it can work as a stress reliever, it helps lower high blood pressure and it can boost your endorphin levels.
If you're a person with high-stress levels and you're afraid this will get you sick, then you might consider trying to sing every now and then and not only karaoke but a karaoke night might be helpful.
On the other hand, singing can also help you in some mental and social areas. There have been some studies that show that singing in front of an audience can help the person boost their self-esteem and confidence levels. This means that if you have the guts to get up and grab the microphone, you might end up being a more confident person.
You can learn more in our article about the Benefits of Karaoke.