Death of the Walkman
the day the iPod was launched, is the better date of expiration.
But none of the success of Apple’s portable music players would have ever happened without the cassette Walkman. Some 220 million have been sold since the first model, the TPS-L2, made its debut in July 1979. (it retailed for US$200.) At the time, transistor radios were portable, but there was nothing widely available like the Walkman.
it was developed under the stewardship of Sony founders Akio Morita and Masaru ibuka. Morita insisted the device not be focused on recording but playback, a relatively odd notion at the time.
originally called the “Soundabout” in the United States, the Walkman was an immediate sensation and a revolution in music listening.
Foremost, it was portable. Music no longer needed to be something that one experi- enced sitting in a room, but could be blasted on the bus, pumped while jogging on a beach or played softly while studying.
By turning the volume up, anyone could be tuned out.
The detached teenager with foam earphones slouched in the back seat or bobbing his head in the elevator became an indelible image of the 80s. (The first Walkman did have an orange “hot line” button to lower the music and increase the microphone so you could hear someone talking to you.)
Music, previously listened to in a room with shag carpeting and a stereo, was cast into the world, made a part of daily life. Pink Floyd could join a walk in the park, Public Enemy could soundtrack a commute.
More than portability, it fostered a personalisation to music, a theme the iPod would also highlight in those early dancing silhouette ads. A big reason there’s so much