to believe— but karaoke didn’t exist back in 1970! Sure sing-a-longs
and Pianolas have existed like-forever; with many a drunken ditty sang
at bars since there were bars!
28 year old Japanese gent, a drummer by trade named Daisuke Inoue
invented the trend quite by accident when he returned home to live with his parents because he
was basically flat broke! It all began when he started playing the keyboard in bars known as ‘snacks.’
business man with a not-so great singing voice requested that Daisuke
make some keyboard recordings for him to sing along with so as to enable him to
sound good. Using an open-reel tape recorder in keys that suited his
voice; the brilliant idea of a machine which played music people wanted
to sing along with was born. It needed a microphone, speaker and an
In 1969 with a friend that had an electronics shop; Daisuke produced eleven Juke 8 machines. Each had an amplifier, microphone, coin box and an 8-track car stereo.
The music machines were slow to hit the market in 1971 but soon took off with an Atari-like speed once people knew how to use them.
two Osaka club owners wanting to open clubs using the Juke 8; within
ONE year the music machine demand across Japan grew to a staggering
25,000 units! Osaka is the birthplace of the now famous karaoke boom. The craze then headed straight to Tokyo spreading throughout Japan, on to Asia and finally became a global sensation!
exactly what does the term mean? The original Japanese phrase
of ‘kara okesutura’ translates to ‘empty orchestra’ and was shortened to
the now popular word of KARAOKE! Why Empty Orchestra? The story goes
that when a group of musicians went on strike the singers resorted to a machine
to play the orchestral music instead! Hence— the music plays but the
orchestra pit is empty!
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