Karaoke: Made in the Philippines?

Who really invented the karaoke machine?

Filipinos do love singing, and they usually go to bars with karaoke machines or KTV bars to entertain themselves. Singing in karaoke machines also benefited some Filipinos bringing them to stardom, like Arnel Pineda of Journey.

Sadly, this way of entertainment of Filipinos irritated some of the sensitive-eared people, who just wanted a very quiet day. Even some of the foreigners were annoyed of this. Well, I can't blame Filipinos if they like to put a karaoke machine in every celebration they hold outside their houses, especially in the streets. They just wanted to show others that they were happy. I don't know if that's the reason.

Anyway, let's go to the main event.

If you ask someone about who invented this machine, some Filipinos would answer it was invented by a Filipino, but some would say its the Japanese. So I would like to put this confusion in clarity because it even led itself to an urban legend. What makes this an urban legend? Well, it's because many people ignored the truth about it.


The word karaoke came from Japanese words kara (which means empty) and oke (simplified word for okesutora or orchestra in English). It is a form of interactive entertainment or video game in which amateur singers sing along with recorded music (a music video) using a microphone and public address system.[a]

In a karaoke machine, the typical songs installed are pop songs such as that of Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra and etc. It also includes some of the local songs where the karaoke is used. However the songs on it doesn't have the voice of the original singer, only the sound and lyrics of the song.

Japanese Karaoke

The considered inventor of the first karaoke machine is the Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue. He invented what he called the Juke-8 in 1971.

Japanese drummer Daisuke Inoue was asked frequently by guests in the Utagoe Kissa, where he performed, to provide recordings of his performances so that they could sing along. Realizing the potential for the market, Inoue made a tape recorder-like machine that played songs for a 100-yen coin each. Instead of giving his karaoke machines away, Inoue leased them out so that stores did not have to buy new songs on their own.[a]

Philippine Karaoke

Here in the Philippines, the considered inventor was Roberto del Rosario, the president of the Trebel Music Corporation. He invented his Karaoke Sing Along System in 1975, which is 4 years after Daisuke Inoue invented his version.

Roberto del Rosario described his sing-along system as a handy multi-purpose compact machine which incorporates an amplifier speaker, one or two tape mechanisms, optional tuner or radio and microphone mixer with features to enhance one's voice, such as the echo or reverb to stimulate an opera hall or a studio sound, with the whole system enclosed in one cabinet casing.[b]

But because he patented his invention and put it in commercial purposes, he was considered the first inventor - the first patented producer.

Other Karaoke

Aside of the two persons above, there was actually another company who was also considered the first inventor - the Clarion company. They were actually the first producer, but there is no existence of the patent.

a. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaoke
b. http://inventors.about.com/od/filipinoscientists/p/Karaoke.htm