Open Mic vs Karaoke: What’s the Difference?

Open Mic Vs Karaoke

Open mic and Karaoke are two types of musical expression that are entirely different in song tone, the purpose of participation, and organization. 

Same as singing, Karaoke is like a pastime to help participants feel comfortable. On the contrary, an open mic is like a small show. Plus, the music and the method of presenting songs of these two types are also very different.

 Let’s read on to discover more!

What is Open Mic?

Open mic is like a live performance with an audience and musicians. It’s like a show and has the versions in order. Open mic is utterly different from Karaoke, and it only happens for a certain amount of time.

One can organize open mic at clubs, cafes, bars, churches, or a particular pub. Open mic sessions may have a stage, or participants will perform in the corner of the room.

What is Open Mic

Open mic covers all different genres of music. However, depending on the category of the program, the songs may change by theme. It’s like the case of jazz tonight, and tomorrow will be a different genre.

The music in the open mic is often different from the original. Singers and musicians here rarely cover the original song. They will have their variations or original songs.

The open mic can happen regularly or periodically on a weekly or monthly basis. Whoever you are, if you have the talent to sing and are confident enough, you can register to join the open mic.

What Is Karaoke?

Karaoke is a top-rated music entertainment service today. Singing Karaoke is simple and requires no singing experience. The sound system will perform popular songs but without the lyrics. The karaoke singer will sing the lyrics.

When did Karaoke become popular

During karaoke sessions, there will be an interaction between participants and a screen projecting lyrics. Therefore, singers who do not need to remember the lyrics can also join Karaoke.

Karaoke takes place mainly for entertainment and to make participants more comfortable. It can happen anywhere at any time. If you don’t want to sing Karaoke at bars, clubs, or karaoke rooms, you can sing Karaoke at home.

Open Mic vs Karaoke Comparison

As mentioned above, open mic and Karaoke are different. It differs mainly in the following factors:

  • How organizations
  • Purpose of participation
  • Singing ability
  • The melody of the song

Although both belong to singing, they are only similar in that everyone has the opportunity to perform. Their other sides are completely different.

How Organizations

Karaoke is a pastime service that anyone can join and organize, then the open mic is different. You can sing Karaoke at any time, but the open mic will have to have an organized schedule and location.

Open mic is like a miniature gig. People usually organize it in the form of a program. There will be MCs, musicians, and the audience below.

If you want to sing in an open mic session, you must register in advance with the organizer. They will put the shows in order, and you have to wait for your turn. They also limit your performance time, usually a certain amount of time for 2 or 3 songs.

Open Mic vs Karaoke Comparison

When singing Karaoke, you can sing any music you like. But with an open mic, you will have to depend on the theme of that live performance.

If the topic of tonight’s open mic is country music, you can only participate in singing country tunes. In subsequent performances, the organizer will provide a theme, and you can join if you want.

Purpose of Participation

Both open mic and Karaoke are entertaining. But Karaoke is more of a pastime, and open mic is for those with ambition. People join Karaoke to sing, release negative energy and relieve stress. It tends to bring participants together through comfort and openness.

However, people coming to open mic are often people with singing talent or singers. They have a desire to show their voices and find a chance to become more famous. While singing, you also have to interact with the audience below.

Singing Ability

If Karaoke is for everyone, including amateur singers or those who don’t know how to sing, open mic requires more.

If you want to perform in the open mic, you must be able to sing. It doesn’t require you to sing like a diva, but you need to have a unique voice and music.

Singing Karaoke is also easier than open mic. When singing Karaoke, you do not need to remember the lyrics. The lyrics often appear on interactive screens. In contrast, an open mic requires higher performance, so you must learn by heart the lyrics.

When singing Karaoke, most of you will go with acquaintances, and they are like you, not sure if they are good singers. You can freely sing without worrying about any judgment.

But coming to open mic, there’s a lot of audience below watching you. Your voice will affect the atmosphere of the performance. It requires you to have better singing skills and know-how to interact with the audience.

The Melody of the Song

You won’t find new musicians or remixes of songs at Karaoke. Karaoke singers will mainly cover a famous song with the same melody and music as the original song.

Karaoke does not perform live with the band. Participants will play songs not using pre-recorded audio devices. And they just picked up the mic and sang back the lyrics on the screen with familiar tunes.

Open mic is the exact opposite. It will have bands or musicians performing live with the singer. The melody of the song will have a rhythm depending on the singer’s lyrics.

It means that when the singer sings slowly, the musician plays the song slower. And similarly, we have good coordination between the musician and the singer.

At the open mic, they don’t cover often. They often perform their original songs. If they cover, they will also change the song’s melody entirely and be more creative. The audience always looks forward to this novelty from the open mic.

Many singers come to open mic without a band, and they play their instruments for their songs. They can choose a guitar or a piano. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, here are some frequently asked questions about open mic vs karaoke mic.

1. What should I prepare for an open mic?

You should practice your vocals before performing. You need to get used to and adapt to a new tune to sing better. Another point is that you should memorize the song. Open mic other than Karaoke, and there will be no lyrics shown to you.

2. Can Karaoke improve my voice?

Karaoke can improve your voice. Just because it’s entertainment doesn’t mean it’s useless. When you sing Karaoke, you will improve your memory, your ability to catch the rhythm, and train your voice.

3. How many songs can I sing in an open mic?

The number of songs you can perform in the open mic depends on the host. They will base on the length of the show and how widespread the audience is with you.

Usually, each person will have an average of 10 to 15 minutes of performance. However, you should visit the organizer for more accurate data.


Both open mic and Karaoke are for music lovers. Although there are many dissimilarities between these two genres, they are both interesting.

Hopefully, after the information we share above, you will clearly distinguish these two types of musical performance. Thanks for reading!

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