Saturday, January 3, 2009

Origins of Karaoke

First the pronunciation... I've seen many interesting ways some people try to pronounce it, especially in the Western world (American Idol). :) You pronounce Karaoke as car-ra-okay.

Karaoke is actually a Japanese word and yes, this popular form of entertainment is actually invented by a Japanese in the 70s. Karaoke literally translate to Empty Orchestra. From what I understand, it's actually a term used by Japanese for the tapes used by singers who perform without a band.

Karaoke is a very popular form of entertainment at least in Asia. People can just stay hours singing/screaming in a room. It's also a popular form of socialising in Asia.

Karaoke, unlike the Western way of doing things, is not patented. That is why you can see that the technology in Karaoke has been improving tremendously since the 70s. Innovation is practiced to the extreme. Now, there's even technology in Karaoke where you can sing duets with somewhere that might be halfway across Japan. This has also influenced some Japanese musicians to play duets where they are physically not in the same place, like this Canon rock guitar post here.

This is one very good example where the world should not have patents. Whenever you put money in the equation, it usually spoils the end product due to the comercialisation, which will deviate from your vision of a good product. You'll be influenced by others to create something that sells, instead of creating something that is useful.

Innovation... Something that is sorely lacking in Singapore. Oh well...

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