The name of karaoke originates from the Japanese words “emptiness” and “orchestra” . Depending on the context, karaoke may mean a type of an entertainment venue, singing to backtrack, and a device for reproducing the backtracks. No matter the context, we always picture a microphone, bright light of the screen with the subs, and a festive atmosphere. So, what is karaoke?
There is no specific answer to the question of when karaoke first emerged. If we speak about singing to the music having no lyrics, then as early as in the 1930s, there were the vinyl records with the backtracks, intended for home performances. If we speak about a karaoke player, it’s prototype was first designed in Japan in the early 1970s by a magic touch of the musician Daisuke Inoue, who used the backtracks during his performances to take a quick rest while maintaining the level of the audience’s rapture.
The Japanese grew so keen on singing to the backtracks that quite soon, the new industry of producing karaoke-machines for bars and clubs appeared. In the early 1980s, karaoke crossed the ocean and landed in the USA. First, it was given a cold shoulder, but after the invention of the home-based karaoke players, it became really popular. The article “Karaoke Evolution” will give you more information about the history of karaoke.
The singer’s voice traveled through a microphone to the mixing board, where it mixed and put on the backtrack. After that, it was transmitted together with the music to the external audio system. The performers were reading subs from the TV screen. In the background, an original music video or specifically produced footage with a neutral content was played.
Read: Hip-hop vs. Rock
This text was not written to trigger a holy war in the comments but to define the borders and speak about our perception of rock and hip-hop music. What we definitely not gonna do here is to try and find out which genre is “better”.
The home-based karaoke was a game-changer. Those who were too modest to go to a karaoke club and preferred signing only in a close family circle gained a unique opportunity to throw parties and music events right in their living room. It boosted karaoke’s further promotion as a type of entertainment.
The new karaoke formats began to emerge. For instance, a karaoke taxi or various karaoke shows on TV. Karaoke clubs were not trailing behind, too, offering their guests an unprecedented quality of sound and additional services. They now occupied a remarkable place on the entertainment map of any night city.
Modern karaoke is way more than just singing to the music that has no lyrics. Karaoke systems provide a new level of the service: the opportunity to record your performance with studio-quality and share it on social media, to customize the screen of performance. They also maintain 4k features and several microphones.
So, what is karaoke? A digital device, entertainment, or a format of the club? Everything mentioned and none of it at the same time. Karaoke is a lifestyle, spirit, emotions, born deep down in your soul – the ones you’re unable to harness. Karaoke is the best thing that can happen to you on a Saturday night.