Most everyone knows what karaoke is...perhaps many of you have tried it for yourselves. It's hugely popular these days and I learned that, globally, the karaoke market is estimated to be worth a cool $10 million! In China and Cambodia, the karaoke box is referred to as KTV. It can also be referred to as "ghost orchestra" meaning there is no vocal track, only recorded music.
From 1961 to 1966, the American TV network NBC, carried a karaoke-like series called Sing Along With Mitch. The show featured host Mitch Miller and a chorus, which superimposed the lyrics to the songs on the bottom of the TV screen so audiences at home could join in. Emerging technologies of the 1960s and 1970s, (stored audible materials or cassette tapes) began to dominate the music recording industry and revolutionized "the portability and ease of band and instrumental music by musicians and entertainers as the demand for entertainers increased globally." There are various disputes as to who invented the term karaoke. One claim is that Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue, of Kobe, Japan invented the karaoke-style machine in 1971. The audio company Clarion was the first commercial producer of the machine and they very well may have invented it, too. There is no existence of a patent on the machine.
In Japan, it has long been common to provide musical entertainment at a dinner party. Daisuke Inoue was frequently asked by guests in the Utagoe Kissa, where he performed, to provide recordings of his performances so they could sing along. Inoue realized the potential for this market and made a tape recorder-like machine that played songs for 100-yen coin each. Inoue leased them out so that stores did not have to buy new songs on their own. It was, at the time, considered an expensive fad, as a 100-yen coin was typically the cost of two lunches, but it caught on and and these sing-along boxes could soon be found in restaurants and hotel rooms. In 2004 Daisuke Inoue was awarded the tongue-in-check IG Nobel Peace prize for inventing karaoke, "thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other."
In the 1990s, karaoke spread to the rest of Asia and the rest of the world. And I do mean everywhere! At-home karaoke machines soon followed, but lacked success in American and Canadian markets. Karaoke, however, didn't fade away and is now considered big lounge and nightclub entertainment. Nearly every small community now offers a "karaoke night" at the local club, bar, of VFW hall.
I've been to to a karoke club before so I'm excited to go again with my friends. It's kind of fun to get up and see who can sing the most songs...in my case ,it's sing the worst songs. Singing is a fun way to exercise your heart and lungs. There's something wonderful about belting out your favorite song, whether it's in the shower or in a karaoke club in front of an audience of friends and family who are all cheering you on. Singing releases endorphins, the feel good hormones. And did you know that in addition to heart health, singing is an excellent stress reducer? It's a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. Everyone can "Sing along with Mitch" or Madonna, or Justin, or Katy.
Whatever you chose to do for fun this weekend, I hope you can do it with a song in your heart. See you all back here on Monday!
Now it time for me to warm up the ol' pipes. Me-me-me....