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HQ 966893

March 23, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966893 NSH


TARIFF NO.: 8519.99.00; 8524.99.40

Port Director

300 Ala Moana Boulevard
Room 2-267
Honolulu, HI 96850

RE: Protest 3201-03-100020; Karaoke Microphone

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3201-03-100020, filed by counsel on behalf of Jia K. Soto, against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of the Magic Singalong karaoke microphone. The entries under protest were liquidated on August 22, 2003 under subheading 8518.10.80, HTSUS, and this protest was timely filed on October 28, 2003.


The subject merchandise, identified as the Magic Singalong karaoke microphone, is comprised of a microphone, songbook, cable, adapter, song-chip and audio/video wires. The microphone component allows the user to amplify their voice and sing to the accompaniment of preprogrammed music. The music is preprogrammed into a song-chip (included with the purchase of the unit) that is placed in the microphone component by the user; without this song-chip, which provides a selection of approximately 700 songs, the device cannot function, even as a microphone (additional slots are open for up to four additional song-chips, purchased separately, each containing another 700 songs). The device is then connected to a television monitor through the audio/video wires, allowing for full karaoke functions such as background pictures, music and lyrics on a television monitor, utilizing both the television’s monitor and speakers; another feature allows for wireless connection to an adjacent radio receiver set to a specific frequency, providing only audio karaoke functions without the benefit of visual lyrics or background pictures on the television monitor.

The microcomputer chips allowing for the karaoke functions are embedded in the microphone component. Additional features include voice key selection, tempo, digital echo, volume/tone control, surround sound, and 128 musical instrument sounds.

Protestant claims classification under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS, or in the alternative under subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS.


What is the classification under the HTSUS of the Magic Singalong karaoke microphones?


Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The ENs, although neither dispositive or legally binding, facilitate classification by providing a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Microphones and stands therefor; loudspeakers, whether or not mounted in their enclosures; headphones and earphones, whether or not combined with a microphone, and sets consisting of a microphone and one or more loudspeakers; audio-frequency electric amplifiers; electric sound amplifier sets; parts thereof;

Microphones and stands therefor:


8519 Turntables, record players, cassette players and other sound producing apparatus, not incorporating a sound recording device:

Other sound reproducing apparatus:

8519.99.00 Other

Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof:

Other machines and apparatus:





The article at issue is the Magic Singalong karaoke microphone, which is capable of performing the functions of a karaoke machine. The microphone component, which contains a song-chip programmed with approximately 700 songs, can interface with a television monitor or radio, allowing the user to sing along with background music. If the user chooses to utilize a television monitor, the lyrics of the specified song will appear on the monitor, as well as a background picture. The electronics that enable the microphone to function as a karaoke machine are embedded in the microphone. At liquidation, the device was classified under subheading 8518.10.80, HTSUS. Protestant claims classification under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS, or in the alternative under subheading 8543.89.96, HTSUS. Because heading 8543, HTSUS, is only applicable if the article is not classifiable elsewhere, it is first necessary to examine heading 8519, HTSUS.

In NY C88162, dated June 9, 1998, Customs held that the Karaoke Magic MDV, which did not include a cassette recorder or CD player, monitor or built-in video camera, was classified under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS, as a karaoke machine. In that case, the unit was designed to be connected to a stereo system using an RCA cable that either reduced or eliminated the lead vocal track from any recorded stereo music, replacing it with the user’s own voice. By issuing this ruling, Customs has held that the additional audio and video features commonly associated with a karaoke machine are ancillary to its main purpose of allowing a person to sing along to music that has the vocal tracks either reduced or eliminated. See also NY I85748, dated September 5, 2002, wherein Customs held that the most import component of a karaoke machine with a live action camera was determined by the sound reproducing equipment and not the accessory feature of the live action camera, because the singing function was considered the primary function of a karaoke machine.

Customs has also repeatedly classified karaoke machines under heading 8519, HTSUS, when they did include audio and video components such as cassette players, CD players, monitors or video cameras. It should also be noted that in many cases the items in question included some but not all of these components. See NY J82864, dated April 3, 2003 (karaoke machine with a CD player), NY J84858, dated June 4, 2003 (karaoke machine with a CD and cassette player), NY I83939, dated July 11, 2002 (karaoke machine wherein the system, which contained its own song cartridges, video camera and audio capabilities, plugged directly into a television monitor that then displayed the song’s lyrics as the user sang along), NY J88831, dated September 22, 2003 (karaoke machine with a CD player and monitor for viewing lyrics).

In the instant case, the device is capable of performing all the functions of karaoke machines previously classified by Customs under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS. Although no audio or video components are included with the device, we note several determining factors that are specific to this karaoke machine.

Customs, as previously mentioned, has recognized devices as karaoke machines, despite the absence of a CD or cassette player, monitor or built in video camera. The determining factor, rather, is whether the machine is capable of integrating the user’s singing with recorded songs, often but not always allowing for the reading of lyrics from a television or other monitor. Even accepting that a device without audio or video hardware can be recognized as a karaoke machine, the microphone component at issue herein clearly incorporates the electronics to distinguish it from a microphone of heading 8518, HTSUS, because it can in fact interface with a television or radio to provide the audio or video functions of other devices recognized by Customs as karaoke machines. Additionally, although the device does not include a CD or cassette player for playing music wherein the original vocal tracks have been reduced or eliminated, this is because its inclusive song-chip and audio/video wires eliminate the need for such a player in order to listen to recorded music. And lastly, although it is true that the user’s voice can be transmitted via the microphone component to a receiver, such as a microphone of heading 8518, HTSUS, the microphone component is completely inoperable unless the song-chip is first installed, thus differentiating it from standard microphones. As such, the device will realistically be used primarily for its karaoke ability.

Customs does not believe that the lack of audio or video hardware necessitates a different classification when the functions of the device are substantially similar to recognized karaoke machines. Rather, the device’s specifications make it an inclusive model of karaoke machine, allowing for the user to sing along with recorded songs while reading lyrics off of a television monitor, without incorporating those audio and video components with the system. The fact that all these specifications are contained in a single component that on its face resembles a basic microphone due to size and shape is not the determining factor for classification purposes. In view of the foregoing, the microphone component is in fact considered a karaoke machine and classified under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS.

The component parts of the Magic Singalong karaoke microphone qualify as a GRI 3(b) set wherein the microphone component imparts the essential character. With respect to classifying proposed sets, GRI 3(b) provides, in pertinent part, that goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the material component which gives them their essential character. EN Rule 3(b) (X) states that, for purposes of this Rule, the term “goods put up in sets for retail sale” shall be taken to mean goods which:
consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings; consist of products or articles put together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g. in boxes or cases or on boards).

The Magic Singalong karaoke microphone consists of at least two components which, if imported separately, are classifiable under different headings. The three primary components are the microphone, song-chip and the song book; the microphone component is classified under heading 8519, HTSUS; the song-chip is classified under heading 8524, HTSUS; the song book is classified under heading 4901, HTSUS. All three components are put up together to carry out the specific activities of a karaoke machine, i.e. integrating the user’s singing with recorded songs wherein the original vocal tracks of the recorded song have either been reduced or eliminated. Lastly, as imported, the Magic Singalong karaoke microphones are packaged in a manner suitable for retail sale to the ultimate purchaser, without the need for repacking. As such, pursuant to GRI 3(b), the Magic Singalong karaoke microphones are sets and are classified according to their essential character.

In this instance, the set derives its essential character from the microphone component. This is because the microphone component incorporates the electronics that enable it to interface with the appropriate audio and video apparatus, as well as providing access to the song-chip by use of a touch pad to select a specific song. Furthermore, the microphone component is held by the user and used as a microphone for singing the selected songs. As such, all the functions of a karaoke machine are incorporated into this single component. Therefore, the set will be classified under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS.

We note, however, that Legal Note 6 to chapter 85 is applicable to the classification of the song-chip component and states as follows:

6. Records, tapes and other media of heading 8523 and 8524 remain classified in those headings when entered with the apparatus for which they are intended.

This Note does not apply to such media when they are entered with articles other than the apparatus for which they are intended.

For the purposes of this note, the term “apparatus for which they are intended” refers to apparatus which reads or plays the media or which records or writes on the media.

In this case, the song-chip, which is imported with the microphone component into which it is inserted, is subject to this exception. The song-chip is therefore classified under its respective subheading, 8524.99.40, HTSUS, notwithstanding its inclusion in the set, which is classified under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS. See NY H87532, dated January 25, 2002.


At GRI 3(b), the Magic Singalong karaoke microphone set is classified under subheading 8519.99.00, HTSUS, as “Turntables, record players, cassette players and other sound producing apparatus, not incorporating a sound recording device: Other sound reproducing apparatus: Other.” The song-chip, although part of the set, is classified under subheading 8524.99.40, HTSUS, as “Records, tapes and other recorded media for sound or other similarly recorded phenomena, including matrices and masters for the production of records, but excluding products of chapter 37: Other: Other: Other.” The applicable rate of duty is ????

You are instructed to ALLOW the protest.

In accordance with the Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (CIS HB, January 2002, pp. 18 and 21), you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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