Karaoke has been growing in popularity around the world over the last few decades, with some countries more keen to belt out the tunes than others.
Japan, in particular, has fully embraced karaoke as part of its culture, and there are now a whopping 8 thousand karaoke bars on the island.
It isn't surprising really, considering that the first karaoke machine prototype was actually produced by Japanese engineer Shigekazu Negishi, and included a microphone, a tape, and a lyric sheet in 1967. Karaoke is a Japanese word which basically is a combination of two words – “kara” or 空 which means empty and “oke” or “オケ” which means orchestra / オーケストラ- which makes empty orchestra, i.e. to sing along with recorded music.
The first karaoke machine prototype.
In 1970, a singing coach from the Kansai region of Japan began selling 8 track tapes as an accompaniment to the machine.
1971 saw the creation of the first 'real' karaoke machine, which was created by a musician from Kobe, Japan. Daisuke Inoue called this machine the "Juke 8", and his invention was never patented.
From 1972, karaoke became hugely popular in Japan, and many manufacturers started producing their own versions of the machine. Roberto Del Rosario, a Filipino entrepreneur, designed and patented a machine in 1975 which he named the "Sing-Along System". This machine featured a speaker, tape mechanisms, and a microphone mixer.
This machine was the inspiration for many karaoke machines around the world, and still bears resemblance to those manufactured today.
As of 1980, karaoke had crossed international borders and fully embedded itself in other countries, with karaoke rooms and boxes appearing all over the world.
In 1982, North America's first karaoke bar was opened in Los Angeles. Named "Dimples", it was a huge success with locals, as well as celebrities in Hollywood.
Dimples karaoke bar in LA, which was frequented by locals and Hollywood celebs alike.
Fast forward to the 21st Century, and karaoke's popularity is still going strong. Generations young and old are feeling the benefits of music-based activities, whether that is at a dedicated karaoke bar, a karaoke night, or with a few friends blasting out Taylor Swift in their front rooms.