The word ‘Walkman’ is now part of our language (although not one that would probably mean as much to the younger generation!). I remember when I was younger (considerably) buying my first Sony Walkman. It was purchased in Los Angeles during a family holiday. That was in the days of music cassettes (remember them) and having to listen to an album all the way through as there was no easy way to skip tracks like all kids do now (drives me crazy).
Well the Walkman is dead! After three decades and more than 220 million units, Sony has stopped selling its Walkman cassette player in Japan, admitting the gadget could not keep up in the digital age (frankly I am amazed it is still available).
The July 1, 1979 rollout of the portable cassette player helped transform Sony into a global electronics powerhouse. Interestingly the initial reaction to the Walkman was poor. Many retailers thought that a cassette player without a recording mechanism had little chance of success.
Despite this the Japanese giant sold 30,000 Walkman in the first two months after its launch, and 50 million within a decade – the rest as they say is history.
The Walkman revolutionised the way we listened to music, it was the first truly portable and private music source, but it has of course since been overtaken by another icon of the modern era – the iPod (does anyone not own one of these?).
The Walkman cassette players is still not totally dead as Chinese made versions will still be exported to ‘third world’ markets.
This is the end of an era – something that the kids of today probably can’t grasp fully – probably the closest for them would be iPod production being stopped.
A sad day!