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Literally “empty orchestra” (Japanese: kara, “empty”, and kesutora, “orchestra”), is a form of entertainment where an amateur singer (hopefully well-enough inebriated to ignore personal embarrassment) performs with recorded music. Lyrics are usually also displayed, sometimes including color changes synchronized with the music, to help with the sing-along. Karaoke has been a popular form of entertainment in East Asia since at least the 1980s, and has since spread to other parts of the world.

While Karaoke tends to meet with derision from recording artists, producing Karaoke tracks is a particularly demanding and difficult profession. In many cases, one person has to wear all the hats, which involves learning all the parts note for note (by ear), performing and recording them, plus finding ways to imitate the production values of the song without necessarily having the same equipment and instruments at their disposal. While the original artist may take weeks or months to record a song, the Karaoke producer has a production schedule of 1-2 days per song. This becomes particularly challenging when reproducing a pop song recorded with anywhere from 48 to 128 tracks, or a full orchestral arrangement.

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