Why Is Karaoke So Popular in Asia?

by Bryan Singer | Last Updated: December 31, 2017 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Reasons Why Karaoke is so Popular in Asia

Karaoke: the word either makes you smile from fond memories or it terrifies you. While karaoke is popular in the United States, it is ten times more popular in Asian countries. In particular, Japan and the Philippines are two huge karaoke hotspots.

This leads people to wonder why karaoke isn’t as popular in the United States as it is in these countries. For starters, there are several key differences in how karaoke is done in Asia in comparison to the USA, and these key differences may help to answer this question.

Cultural Differences

If you live in the United States, you probably didn’t grow up with a karaoke machine in your home. However, in the Philippines, that is commonplace. Singing in the Philippines and Korea is a large part of their culture, and it isn’t unusual for them to grow up with a karaoke machine in their living rooms.

Parents encourage their kids to use their karaoke machine when they’re young, and this translates over to when they’re older. In the United States, having a karaoke machine in the house is less common, and if you do it may only be used for gatherings or parties.

Additionally, in many Asian countries, it is expected that you go out with your coworkers after the office closes, and karaoke is a popular choice as it is seen as a sort of team building exercise. In the United States, it is less common for people to go out with their coworkers, and if they do, a trip to a karaoke bar is further down on the list than just grabbing a quick drink and heading home.


To take a few friends and go out in the United States to sing karaoke can get expensive, especially if you factor in how much you’ll drink throughout the night. The bar may also have a cover charge to get in the door as well.

In certain Asian countries, it is very inexpensive to go out and enjoy as many adult beverages as you want while you sing karaoke. For roughly $10 per person per hour, you can get a private karaoke room with all of the beer or liquor you can drink and food you can eat. This is unheard of in the United States, and it could be a reason some people don’t go out and sing karaoke on a regular basis.


When many people in the United States think of karaoke, they immediately think of a large crowd and maybe a bar or a club. This can be a terrifying thought for many people, and it discourages them from trying karaoke.

However, Japan has karaoke boxes that are soundproof and relatively small. You typically take three to five friends and rent out this small room for a few hours. The participants feel more comfortable, and they’re more likely to try singing karaoke if they’re with a few friends in a more private setting. The United States doesn’t have these karaoke booths yet, and most karaoke bars are very public events.

Song Choices

Depending on which karaoke bar you go to in the United States, you may be quite limited in song choices. A typical karaoke bar will have a few hundred to a thousand songs to choose from.

However, many Asian countries have well over 30,000 songs, and even if only a third of them are in English, that is still 10,000 songs to choose from. This makes it more fun for everyone when they sing karaoke because you want to sing a song you know.

Bottom Line

Karaoke was developed in Japan in the 1970s, and it still remains wildly popular to this day. Many Asian countries have karaoke ingrained into their culture from the time they’re young, and this trend continues as they get older. It isn’t as popular in the United States, but you can find karaoke bars in almost every city.