Since the seventies, karaoke’s been spreading as quickly as wildfire and seducing singers far beyond the island of Japan where it was born. It’s become a real social phenomenon and claims the title of the most popular cultural practice in the world.
Karaoke fans that we are, we think we know a thing or two about our favorite past time, but, here are a few fun facts that you might have missed.
- Some Japanese businessmen have been known to hire vocal coaches specialised in karaoke to improve their performances and impress their clients.
- The most requested track in karaoke bars…. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
- The 4th week in April is officially “National Karaoke Week” in the US.
- There are karaoke machines in Japan that not only measure the singer’s performance but also the number of calories one burns while singing.
- Sound insulation in Japanese buildings not being the best, the karaoke box was born over uproar linked to the noise of karaoke practice. The first karaoke boxes were in fact refurbished train carriages.
- The global karaoke market represents more than 10 billion dollars! The sales of systems working with CDs and DVDs weigh heavily on this total.
- The record-breaking karaoke session that gathered the most participants in history took place in August of 2009 at the Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. It attracted just under 160,000 people who sang “Friends in Low Places” by popular country artist Garth Brooks.
- The invention of karaoke by Daisuke Inoue never made him famous nor rich being that he never applied for a patent. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for promoting tolerance between people. Technically, he actually won the lg-Nobel, a parody prize rewarding unusual but useful scientific research. Named one of the most influential Asian people of the century by Times Magazine, Inoue still went to the ceremony, belted out the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and received the longest standing ovation of any other nominee at the ceremony.
- Daisuke Inoue, however, cannot take credit for the name “karaoke” which means “empty orchestra.” The word comes from an event that took place in Kobé, Japan: a group of musicians were supposed to perform, but after going on strike, they were replaced by a band playing the orchestral accompaniment.
- Karaoke is extremely popular but, apparently, it also has its naysayers. A survey commissioned by the British government in 2009 over a sample of 2,500 adults ranked karaoke devices at the top of the most hated gadgets.