In what year was the karaoke machine invented?

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The first karaoke machine was invented by Daisuke Inoue (family name first), a Japanese singer, in 1971.   Customers at a coffee shop in Kobe called Utagoe Kissa wanted instrumental versions of his songs, so they could sing along.  He realized there was a market for this sort of idea, and so at first he leased the machine.  The first machines were expensive to play, and considered an interesting toy.  Before long they became popular at hotels and bars, and are now popular throughout the world.

The term "karaoke" is made from two Japanese words, karappo, meaning "empty", and okesutura, meaning "orchestra".  Thus karaoke means "empty orchestra".  Of course there had been instrumental versions of songs on records since the 1950s, essentially meant to be sung along with.  The first record label to do this Music Minus One.

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