Defining an Era or Error: The Walkman

Defining an Era or Error: The Walkman

A look at the first portable music device

The Walkman was an essential item to have growing up in the 80’s and 90’s; it was today’s equivalent to the iPod. The Walkman allowed one to bring their music with them in a handy portable device, as the popular format of the day was the tape cassette. The tape cassette was, and still stands as a unique format that allows for easy recording and playback. Think about it, to record music to a CD, you got to start your computer, load CD Burning program, wait for it to write – for a tape cassette, just put it into the tape player, connect to an input source, and hit record. Voila, you have an instant portable piece of music. I think that the tape cassette will be around for a few more decades as it is still useful, and since car manufacturers have only stopped building tape decks from around 2005, they will still be relevant.

A bit of history for the Father of the ‘iPod’:

Walkman is Sony’s portable audio cassette player brand, now used to market its portable audio and video players. The original Walkman introduced a change in music listening habits, allowing people to carry music with them. The device was built in 1978 by audio division engineer Nobutoshi Kihara for Sony co-chairman Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent transpacific plane trips. The original Walkman was marketed in 1979 as the Walkman in Japan, the Soundabout in many other countries including the US, Freestyle in Sweden and the Stowaway in the UK.

Sony was the obvious pioneer for the portable digital music player, and I believe the brand name (Walkman) still lives on in Sony’s line of digital music players (competing with the iPod) and their partnership with Ericsson Mobility (bringing the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone). But Sony is far, far, far behind Apple’s iPod as they got on the digital music player bandwagon too late – if Sony had marketed their iconic Walkman brand as a digital music device a bit earlier, they could have maybe impacted the affect of the iPod, and garnered a greater share of the billion dollar digital music industry that Apple dominates.

I still have my Walkman, and it still works, but I mess with the iPod Touch … sorry Sony!  Another fail – as Sony is currently losing a market that they CREATED.

.:: LiBM ::.

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