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Karaoke bars lose sway as life of the party

Karaoke bars lose sway as life of the party

Karaoke bars used to be all the rage in Shanghai. People like Cui Yihua, who love to sing, were frequent patrons. No longer. New entertainment trends have emerged as public tastes change.To get more news about Karaoke CBD Melbourne, you can visit starsktv.com.au official website.

Cui, a customer service manager, had been going to karaoke bars, called KTV in China, since her days in high school. Then about three years ago, the visits began tapering off without her really noticing the change in her habits.
It's a change, however, that has infected the whole industry. Data technology company Tianyancha found that China's mainland-registered karaoke bars have declined by two-thirds since 2015, to about 46,000 nowadays.

"That information shocked me at first," says Cui. "But then when I thought it over, I realized that my friends and I have stopped going to karaoke for some time."

The data on karaoke venues was released by the Communication University of China. It also noted that customer numbers in karaoke clubs decreased by 70-80 percent when coronavirus struck.

But is the pandemic the only factor to blame for the genre's decline? Probably not.

The digital age has ushered in karaoke apps where singers can perform anywhere, anytime. Moreover, entertainment tastes have changed. For example, many young people today are taken with the new fad of role-playing murder mysteries.

Karaoke originated in Japan in the 1970s. The word "karaoke" literally means "empty accompaniment," which refers to the instrumental music of a song, without vocals.

In the late 1980s, karaoke bars came to China. By 1989, former ballrooms in Beijing were being equipped with karaoke machines.

The bars appeared in Shanghai in 1995, when Taiwan-based Cashbox Partyworld entered the scene. Private rooms, complete with catering services, soon became popular venues for karaoke parties and family get-togethers.

More than 10 chains of karaoke bars mushroomed in Shanghai and across the country. But two decades later, most of them, including Cashbox, either have reduced numbers of outlets or disappeared completely.

Jacob Wang was once the manager of a chain-owned karaoke bar. He says the reasons for the industry's demise are rather complicated.

"The rents went up every year, while many songs were removed from available playbills because of copyright issues," he says. "But I think the most important reason is that the lifestyle of young people has changed. The first-generation karaoke bar customers are now at least in their 40s. And when we were young, we hardly embraced the entertainment choices of our parents, did we?"