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Like Karaoke? Here’s Some History About It!

Karaoke machines are a fun past-time. They’re a good way to pass time with friends. And they make for an excellent night out activity…


You should learn more about this past-time. Learning more about any activity makes it more appealing. We’ll do this today, by giving you a brief history of karaoke!

The Beginnings.

Some people assume that karaoke extends back a long time. This isn’t the case. It’s a recent trend. And it has only been around for a few decades!

 history of karaoke


Karaoke has its origins in Japan.

The word itself is Japanese. In fact, it’s a two-word compound phrase.

·              The first is “kara,” which means “empty.”

·              The second is “oke,” which means “orchestra.”

So it roughly translates to “empty orchestra.” And that’s an accurate description of what it is...


The Beginnings.

You can trace its beginnings back to the 1960s-70s. That’s when audio recording first started to develop. Before that time, sound recording was through tape. Magnetic tape was how people listened to music… And occasionally, you had the home phonograph.


Audio Recording and Karaoke.

Audio recording allowed for the existence of tape music. And this meant that music was safely portable. You could carry your tracks anywhere without worry. Also, it meant that there was a variety of music you could listen to. Obviously, not as much as today’s… But compared to the “era before,” you had way more options.


Sing-Alongs in the 60s and 70s.

Karaoke is basically a “sing-along” mechanism. With the existence of tape, sing-alongs were more popular in the 60s-70s. More shows did sing-alongs. And it was common to see some shows use them as a way of engaging viewers. However, this required you to watch TV. So you didn’t have as much as control as you’d like. Those problems were solved by the introduction of the karaoke machine in the 1970s.


The Founder.

You can thank Daisuke Inoue, who invented it in 1971 (the first machine was called the Juke-8). Throughout his life, he was involved in music. He worked as a musician in his younger years, before inventing the machine. But also, he did work helping businessmen who wanted to sing in bars. His invention focused on solving common problems with this trend. This being the backing of live musicians… After all, singing back then required someone to play instruments. And this was troublesome and exhausting, if you had many clients that wanted to sing.


More on the Juke-8.

Being the first karaoke machine ever, it was quite simplistic. The machine was basically an 8-track car stereo, with a microphone and amplifier. However, it spread like wildfire across Japan. It was so successful within its first year, where it grew into a multi-billion dollar industry.


Wait – How Big is the Karaoke Industry?

At least in Japan, it’s larger than the film industry. In 2010, Japan’s karaoke turnover was 8 billion euros. And that’s about 4x times the Japanese film industry revenue (source).



It’s a common past-time in modern Japanese culture. More importantly, it’s marketable to all age groups. Teens, seniors, and middle-aged folk are welcome to enjoy it.



Do note that karaoke machines aren’t exactly “home owner” items. They’re the types of machines you’d find at a bar or club. You’ll see that in how they’re received outside of Japan. While karaoke is a past-time, it isn’t a common option. In fact, there are now smartphone apps that provide that function – at a fraction of the cost.


Such As?

Karaokini and Karaoke Callout. Owning those apps is much more convenient than having a bulky juke box at home. And it’s less noisy for your neighbors too. It’s also cheaper. You pay less to enjoy the same hobby of singing along. And you get a wider music collection too!


The Takeaway.

Karaoke has a short, but very interesting history. It’s not a traditional past-time, only being a few decades old. However, it has spread around the world to become a popular entertainment form. It’s something you can enjoy with friends and co-workers. It’s something you can enjoy with family. And as technology advances, enjoying karaoke sing-alongs will become easier and more convenient!


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