The first-ever karaoke bars emerged in Japan in the 1970s. It would be more correct to call them “the bars with karaoke” back then. Karaoke system was kind of a jukebox, standing at the wall of a bar. Any guest could drop a coin and sing any song from a relatively short catalog, reading the lyrics from a paper leaflet.
Laser disks became a real booster for the karaoke bars. A player was directly connected to a TV-set or audio system. This novelty offered the guests a new level of both the sound and comfort of performance. In particular, the room now had a sound engineer. His chief task was to provide any reasonable assistance to the performers, including selecting repertoire and adjusting the song’s settings for a specific singer.
Karaoke’s going digital made it possible to use modulation and achieve fantastic results by changing the tone and tempo of a song. The guests of karaoke bars appreciated the possibility of adjusting a backtrack to the features of their voices.
Karaoke bars stepped out of Japan and spread swiftly across entire Asia: from the Philippines to China. It was the time when the so-called “Asian” model of karaoke clubs was shaped. Such places had a separate room instead of a shared space. There, the guest could sing without being disturbed or worrying about other people’s opinions.
In contrast to the Asian model, an American model implied a big hall with a luxurious stage, backing singers, fog machines, and expensive light and sound equipment. Walking up such a stage, the karaoke bar visitors felt like real stars.
The mixed type of karaoke clubs also became popular: common space with a professional karaoke system and several VIP-rooms that could accommodate the company of 2 to 30 people. The private rooms worked well not only for karaoke with friends, but also for business meetings, festive dinners, and parties.
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The modern karaoke bar comprises, first of all, a high level of service, competence, comfort, and quality of performance. Studio backtracks replaced the simple melodies, recorded on a synthesizer. What has also changed is the approach toward ordering a song. The sound engineer still plays a crucial role at any karaoke club, yet these days, any guest can download the app EvoClub to their smartphones or use a guest tablet, select a song to their liking, and order it.
By the number of the karaoke places, Asia wins hands down – China alone hosts over 100,000 clubs and bars, let alone karaoke boxes in the malls. But being fair, karaoke has become a part of the Western culture quite recently, so it’s all ahead for us. Karaoke clubs are already a staple at every city and occupy a prominent position in the entertainment industry. Their number is growing sustainably, and the level of their service is improving year in and year out.