Japan being the inventor of the concept of singing to a midi-driven rough approximation of popular music, the act of which is called Karaoke. Needless to say that it is here where new concepts in karaoke are actively researched and developed. You’d be rightly surprised by just how sharp that development curve can truly be in the world of Karaoke R&D. In an attempt to cover new ground with the good ol’ sing-along activity enjoyed by millions of Japanese and others around the world, the very company that was the first to commercialize karaoke is breaking new ground.
"What music do you listen to?" Ask any teen through young adult person roaming the streets around Shibuya station (that same area famous for the scramble crossing) that question, and you'll get all kinds of answers -- Anything ranging from J-pop, K-pop, to American hip-hop and R&B. But one thing is for certain, when the sun goes down and it's time to get your party on, most of the lounges, bars, clubs, and even the streets and sidewalks outside will be blasting EDM, Electronic Dance Music.
EDM is a catch-all moniker that actually covers a whole lot of different styles of music in unto itself; breaks, bass, electronic house, dubstep, and more can be classified as EDM to lots of people. EDM is really all about producers, beat makers, track masters, and even that hipster-ish guy down the street being able to make good music with the aid of computers, beat machines, synthesizers, and CDJ boxes. However mostly perceived as the perfect background music to an all-night rave-fest in a nightclub setting, it's rare to think that one would select and sing over EDM tracks in a karaoke box setting.
The Daiichi Kosho Group wants to change all that. You may not know of the company name, but if you've ever spent any amount of time in one of thousands of karaoke buildings here, you'll recognize their brands: Big Echo and LIVE-DAM, the former being a large national chain of karaoke clubs, and the latter being a major brand of karaoke industry specific audio/visual equipment that you're likely to find in many of them.
Clearly we've recognized EDM as a genre of music that is popular with the younger demographic these days and we wanted to find a new way for these customers to enjoy EDM music in an authentic setting," states Keito Matsushima, a PR representative from Daichi Kosho. "We decided the best place to test our idea was the Shibuya area because there are young people who enjoy this kind of music coming to clubs in the area where they can enjoy it." Makes total sense to me; go to where the people are and whatnot. Certainly in the main alley in Shibuya called "Center-gai" on any given night, you'll be barraged with hawkers offering deals for drinks in the many bars and restaurants that dot the area; and of course karaoke time deals as well. "We think our Sing EDM concept will go over well because we can get the 'club-hoppers' and 'pub-crawlers' as they decide on their next venue. We can say "take a short break and come to karaoke" but they can still feel as if they're in their own private club and keep that same feeling."