The world of karaoke continues to evolve in China. Its influence has even spread to America. KTV bars and lounges are now popping up all over as its popularity grows. 

However, there are still a lot of differences between how Americans and Chinese people do karaoke.

  1. 1 The Location


    In America, karaoke nights are hosted weekly at local restaurants and bars. Whether on a lit stage or on top of a table, karaoke singers in America have a fun experience regardless. 

    However in China, location is everything. Since the popularization of Chinese karaoke, called卡拉OK (kǎlā OK) or KTV, karaoke bars and lounges have sprung up across cities in China. Inside these bars and lounges, private rooms are set up for groups or individuals to book for as long as they like. 

    The lounges’ interior design is over the top. They are decorated with neon lights, patterns and even pool tables. This certainly suits the environment of a karaoke performance! 

    Chinese KTV Lounges

  2. 2 The Booking

    In America, often all you need is a name list for who sings what song and when.

    In China, this is not the case. Booking rooms is key in the karaoke experience. Karaoke has become so popular in China that apps such as 大众点评 (Dàzhòng diǎnpíng) have been developed to help people book rooms and find lounges near them.

                                       Chinese Karaoke Room Booking App

    Apps like this help you see what type of room is available, how many people the room fits and what time it is available. Needless to say, if you ever go to China, getting this app is a must. 

    Western Karaoke Bar

  3. 3 The Audience

    In America, usually the bar is packed with people cheering you on. Though most of them are strangers, bringing your friends along for a night of singing is never a bad idea. 

    At KTV lounges however, the people you bring with you are your only audience. This makes the experience special and inclusive for all of your friends. It also might make it less embarrassing when your voice cracks!

    The Karaoke Experience: Sing Your Heart Out!

  4. 4 The Song

    Regardless of whether you are in America or China, you’ll likely see a wide selection of popular American and international songs. But when you go to perform karaoke in China, it may help to know some popular Chinese karaoke songs

    What’s your go-to karaoke song? Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever been to a KTV lounge!


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Collin Absher

Collin Absher is a Chinese Studies major at the College of William and Mary. Collin hopes to spread his love of Chinese Literature and poetry in fun ways!
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