Some people love the sing-along concept, and others hate it! But after three decades of steady growth into a multi-billion dollar market world-wide, it looks this type of entertainment is here to stay. There has been a controversy brewing for many years pertaining to who actually invented karaoke?
AudioSynTrac (AST) Corporation and CEO Scott Ebright conceived and implemented the concept of letting singers perform live with music background tapes and electronic amplification equipment. Scott’s advertising slogan was: “A Revolutionary New Dimension In Live Entertainment”. He faced a hailstorm of resistance from musicians and singers, many of whom made fun of the concept and called it “canned music”.
Wikipedia covers up the truth about Karaoke Inventor
But the name of AudioSynTrac has been lost through the hundreds of millions of dollars of aggressive promotions paid for by Asian electronics companies that conspired to use the Japanese word “karaoke” to describe the process. Never mind the American roots of AST: after all, anyone who contributes to Wikipedia articles are experts, right? WRONG! Wikipedia has continuously censored all written entries and correcting facts giving proper credit to AudioSynTrac Corporation being the first with the sing-along concept and equipment. Instead, Wikipedia wears blinders on their eyes and their staff erroneously makes the claim that the inventor of karaoke was a Japanese inventor. But even THAT is full of inconsistencies. They tell a story about a either a Japanese, Filipino, or Korean man building a coin vending machine that was connected to a tape player. Isn’t this a jukebox? But Wikipedia’s editors have been heavily influenced by Asian Electronics companies and their PR staffs and legal departments to maintain a vigilant defiance by not attributing any portion of the sing-along market to Scott Ebright’s creation of AudioSynTrac.
But the internet world is well aware that Wikipedia is not the world’s leading ministers of TRUTH or HISTORY. Their watchdog editors constantly struggle for relevance through a subjective policy of allowing any contributors to write and edit their own perceptions of historical facts. And when Wikipeida’s persistent, pompous demeanor shines through all their sub-text articles and rebuttal forums, then their editors’ flawed reality reveals that they are an unreliable source as historians when it comes to karaoke or AudioSynTrac. Furthermore, there have been claims that Wikipedia can, on occasion, be swayed over to the whims and pressure of wealthy groups or corporations that all stand to gain from any favoritism for a specific service or product. (See an opposite counter claim by clicking on the thumbnail photo of internet article at bottom of this page that credits Scott Ebright as the inventor).
A Concept Born out of Need
In the early 1960’s, Scott Ebright was a drummer and singer in rock and roll bands. By 1971, he wanted to branch out from being just a band member, so he sought a new way to make a living while still entertaining audiences with music. But, unlike piano players or guitar players sitting on a stool, drummers are not considered a soloist that can entertain an audience for a full evening’s worth of music. Imagine audiences trying to listen to four sets a night of nothing but drum solos! So, Scott used his nightclub entertainment experience to spawn his Disc Jockey career – and at the same time, this enabled him to sing live with AudioSynTrac music which sounded like a full band or orchestra, minus the lead vocals which he added live.
By the late 1970’s, he devoted full time towards producing stage shows which put singers on a stage with wireless microphones, then added choreography and the singers sang live while the studio tapes were played back through a PA system. This show format became affordable for many more venues than before, and the problem of replacing and training new musicians was suddenly solved (although Musician’s Unions objected fiercely). Also, Scott used some of these tapes to sing his own songs while performing occasionally as “The Singing DJ”. AudioSynTrac was was defined through advertising as “A Revolutionary New Dimension in Live Entertainment”.
Based upon the enthusiastic reception of audiences responding to this new production format, Scott continued to promote AudioSynTrac in an effort to make his music tapes available to the general public and professional singers alike. That initiated a production deal with an electronics company that could produce his hardware to play the tapes on..
Numark Electronics Pacts Deal with AST Sing-Along Venture
Numark Electronics Corporation believed in the future of Scott Ebright’s concept of AudioSynTrac (AST) in the 1970’s. President Harry Kotovsky agreed to adapt Ebright’s designs and build the $220,000 prototype AudioSynTrac music machine for mass production and world-wide distribution.
As CEO and President of the venture-capital company AudioSynTrac, Ebright went into production recording all the music software for use in AST machines. A major marketing plan was next conceived and implemented to distribute AST products to a world-wide market.
The first phase of the AST singing machine actually consisted of three proprietary inventions. (1) the speed of the standard Nakamichi cassette tape transports was sped up to 5 ips (inches per second) from the standard 3.25 ips, (2) the key of songs had to be a variable button without changing the speed of the song, and (3) a digital vocal processor needed to be invented that would encompass all desired effects that singers wanted in a a small package (echo, repeat, chorus doubling, and flanging).
After demonstrating this prototype equipment with live cabaret singers in Las Vegas and Chicago CES trade shows, Japanese electronics companies sent representatives to photograph and study the AudioSynTrac concept. Mr. Ebright even recalls the times when Harry Kotovsky from Numark dove dramatically in front of the AST equipment being displayed on the aisle of the CES show in Las Vegas. He bent over and used his opened hands to cover his brand-new prototype and scolded the Japanese “industrial spies” by telling them, “If you want to copy this equipment, then buy a machine and take it back to Japan to copy it.”
The beginning of the end: Within months, Japanese companies came up with 8-track versions of this concept – calling it “Karaoke”. Heavyweight companies like Pioneer and Matsushita Corporation had marketing war chests of over $10 million dollars to launch their karaoke products. This action forced AudioSynTrac Corporation and Numark Corporation to “abandon ship” on their project. AudioSynTrac Corporation officially closed down by 1984, and over 3 million shares of Scott Ebright’s preferred stock became worthless overnight (see photo of stock certificate below). Numark was able to recoup their R&D costs by selling separate components of the newly patented proprietary electronics.
Click here to read link verifying inventor of Karaoke:
IT Business News
AST Invented the VERY FIRST electronic REVERB and KEY CHANGER!
Certain electronic functions were requested by Scott Ebright to be part of the original AST machine design. Ebright demanded that a computer chip be invented that would serve the functions of reverb and changing the key of any song by precisely half-step intervals (sharps and flats). These inventions literally took six months of development by Numark’s top electronics whiz kid: “Ikezawa” from Japan). These functions were proprietary, thus NUMARK’s engineering team created the first EVER digital reverb and a digital harmonic key changer that maintained the speed of a song while raising or lowering the key. Numark’s success increased with the growing Disc Jockey market as well as all professional entertainers in general. In this way, Harry Kovtosky was a winner and sold his electronic inventions to manufacturers throughout the electronics world. And as AudioSynTrac fell victim to the unfair ‘karaoke sweepstakes’ game, Ebright chalked up the whole experience as just another life lesson learned….the hard way…
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