Historie Podcasts

Den første Sony Walkman sælges

Den første Sony Walkman sælges

Transistorradioen var et teknologisk vidunder, der lagde musik bogstaveligt talt i forbrugernes hænder i midten af ​​1950'erne. Det var billigt, det var pålideligt og det var bærbart, men det kunne aldrig engang tilnærme lydkvaliteten af ​​en plade, der blev spillet på et hjemmestereo. Det var imidlertid den eneste teknologi, der var tilgængelig for musikelskere på farten, indtil Sony Corporation udløste en revolution inden for personlig elektronik med introduktionen af ​​den første personlige stereokassetteafspiller. En enhed, der var lige så forbløffende ved første møde, som mobiltelefonen eller digitalkameraet senere ville blive, Sony Walkman blev solgt for første gang den 1. juli 1979.

Sony Walkman repræsenterede ikke et gennembrud inden for teknologi så meget som et gennembrud i fantasien. Hvert element i Walkman var allerede i produktion eller test som en del af en anden enhed, da Sonys legendariske formand, Masaru Ibuka, fremsatte en særlig anmodning i begyndelsen af ​​1979. Ibuka var en musikelsker, der rejste ofte, og han havde allerede for vane at medbragte en af ​​hans virksomheds "bærbare" stereobåndoptagere med sig på internationale flyvninger. Men Sony TC-D5 var en tung enhed, der på ingen måde var bærbar efter moderne standarder, så Ibuka spurgte sin daværende stedfortræder Norio Ohga, om han kunne samle noget bedre sammen. Ved at arbejde med virksomhedens eksisterende Pressman-produkt-en bærbar, mono-båndoptager, der var populær blandt journalister-fik Ohga klargjort en afspilnings-kun stereoanordning i tide til Ibukas næste trans-Pacific-flyvning.

Selvom denne proto-Walkman krævede store øretelefonlignende hovedtelefoner og specialfremstillede batterier (som selvfølgelig løb tør for Ibuka midtvejs i hans flyvning), imponerede det Sony-formanden enormt med sin lydkvalitet og bærbarhed. Mange indvendinger blev rejst internt, da Ibuka begyndte sit skub for at skabe en salgbar version af enheden, hvoraf den største var konceptuel: Ville nogen faktisk købe en kassetteenhed, der ikke var til optagelse, men kun til afspilning? Ibukas enkle svar - ”Synes du ikke, at en stereokassette -afspiller, som du kan lytte til, mens du går rundt, er en god idé?” - viste sig at være en af ​​de store underdrivelser i virksomhedens historie.

Efter en hæsblæsende udviklingsfase på kun fire måneder havde Sony -ingeniører et pålideligt produkt klar til salg på 30.000 Yen (ca. 150 USD i 1979 dollar) og tilgængeligt inden sommerferiens start for japanske studerende - begge kritiske mål blev fastsat i starten af udvikling. Det første produktionsforløb på 30.000 enheder så ud til at være for ambitiøst efter en måneds mangelfuldt salg (kun 3.000 blev solgt i juli 1979). Men efter en innovativ forbrugermarketingkampagne, hvor Sony-repræsentanter simpelthen henvendte sig til fodgængere på Tokyos gader og gav dem en chance for at lytte til Walkman, tog produktet fart og solgte tilgængelige lagre inden slutningen af ​​august og signalerede begyndelsen på en af ​​Sonys største succeshistorier.


Registreret historie: Sony Walkman fylder 40 år

Journalisterne havde aldrig oplevet noget lignende, og det var ikke nødvendigvis en god ting. Pakket i busser på vej mod Yoyogi Park nær Sonys hovedkvarter i Tokyo, Japan, vidste de, at elektronikgiganten var begejstret for en produktlancering, der blev sat til 1. juli 1979. Men det, der var blevet givet dem efter ombordstigning, var forvirrende.

Det var en enhed med blå accent, hovedsagelig lavet af metal og cirka 6 tommer lang med 3,5 tommer bred. Inde var en standard lydkassette. Den kunne holdes i den ene hånd, klippes til et bælte eller - mere akavet - hænges om halsen. Et par kompakte, skumindkapslede hovedtelefoner, der blev trukket fra enheden til brugerens ører, hvor den udsendte en overraskende fyldig stereolyd.

Men den havde ingen optagefunktion som Sonys Pressman, som mediemedlemmer havde brugt i årevis til at dokumentere samtaler. Og scenen i Yoyogi Park var underlig: Snesevis af Sony -medarbejdere kørte på tandemcykler, skateboardede og svajede, mens tilskuere kiggede forbløffede på. Ingen talte om, at produktmeddelelsen blev sendt til journalister via en optagelse på enheden. Sony kaldte det Walkman, og det insisterede på, at det ville revolutionere, hvordan verden indtog musik.

De samlede mediemedlemmer tog imod præsentationen, vendte tilbage til bussen og trak på skuldrene. Hvem skulle bære en miniaturiseret stereo, der kostede $ 200 USD?

Nok mennesker, viser det sig, at over 400 millioner Walkmans skal sælges i de kommende årtier nok til, at Sonys overskud vokser så væsentligt, at de havde råd til at købe et filmstudie, Columbia Pictures nok til, at byens embedsmænd ville erklære dem for generende, at kan medføre dødelige trafikulykker eller ørebeskadigelse.

Sony havde forudset et behov og tjente godt. Men selvom virksomheden blev synonym med Walkman, er der en stjerne i deres historie - de opfandt den faktisk ikke.

Bærbare lytteenheder var naturligvis ikke noget nyt. Transistorradioer blev populære i 1950'erne ved at krympe komponenter for at give lytteoplevelse i lommeformat. Ulempen var, at brugeren var begrænset til at hente udsendelsesstationer og den afspilningsliste, programmeringsdirektøren foretrak. De var også små, ørepropperne var latterligt svage ved siden af ​​ordentlige stereoanlæg. Ægte, tabte-in-the-music-øjeblikke var forbeholdt soveværelser udstyret med pladespillere og gulvbrædder, der kunne stå op til det ungdomshysteri, der blev opildnet af Elvis eller Beatles.

Masaru Ibukas teenageår var årtier i bakspejlet, men han identificerede sig med deres passion for musik. Ibuka, der var medstifter af Sony, var skuffet over, at han ikke kunne tage en kassetteafspiller med på lange transatlantiske flyruter. Hvorfor, spurgte han ingeniører, kunne de ikke udvikle en enhed, der var lille nok til at bære rundt, mens brugeren kunne lytte til, hvad han eller hun ville?

Akio Morita, Ibukas partner, var enig, og de to satte en deadline: De ville have et produkt klar til sommerferiens start den 1. juli, en marketingmulighed for folk, der dyrker motion eller slapper af udendørs. Under en tidsklemme tog Kozo Ohsone, Shizuo Takashino og andre udviklere deres Pressman - en omfangsrig optager beregnet til et nichemarked - og fjernede optagelsesmekanismen og tilføjede et par lette hovedtelefoner og en stereoforstærker. (At skabe noget helt fra bunden ville ikke kun tage mere tid, det ville være mere risiko: En prototype, der gik i stykker, ville ikke gå godt.)

Morita tog deres modificerede Pressman med hjem og lyttede til den. Det var præcis, hvad han og Ibuka ønskede, med en undtagelse: Hans kone var irriteret over apparatets isolerende karakter. Morita ønskede ikke, at Sony skulle markedsføre et "uhøfligt" produkt, så han fik sit team til at tilføje et andet hovedtelefonstik og en orange knap, der tillod to lyttere at tale med hinanden via en mikrofon.

Sonys Pressman udviklede sig til TPS-L2, en kassetteafspiller designet til at ligne antikke japanske lakerede kasser. "Walkman" blev taget fra både Pressman og Superman, en karakter, der for nylig blev introduceret igen for offentligheden på grund af spillefilmen fra 1978. "Walkman" antydede også bevægelse, tanken om at bryde fri fra stereoanlæg hjemmefra og gå, hvor du ville.

Morita og Ibuka troede, at de havde et hit, men pressen var uenig. Manglen på en optagelsesfunktion forvirrede dem, og deres apati lækkede ud på markedet. I juli 1979 var den første måned Walkmans til salg, kun 3000 enheder blev solgt. I en kontrolleret panik besluttede Sonys marketingafdeling, at Walkman -oplevelsen var så unik, at de skulle være aggressive. Japanske berømtheder blev rekrutteret til trykte annoncer Sony-medarbejdere kørte i tog og patruljerede travle fodgængerfyldte distrikter i weekenden og forlængede hovedtelefoner, så forbrugerne kunne lytte til sig selv. Ingen annonce eller slogan kunne virkelig beskrive den unikke oplevelse ved at klippe ledningen fra udførlige hjemmestereoer. Walkman skulle bæres for at blive værdsat.

Sonys selvsikker plan fungerede. 27 tusind enheder blev solgt i august, hvilket udtømte virksomheden i sin første produktion på 30.000 enheder. Turister vendte tilbage til Frankrig, Storbritannien og USA med enhederne og såede virksomhedens ekspansionsplaner. I begyndelsen af ​​1980 var Walkman på vej mod Amerika.

Morita havde overvejet at kalde det Soundabout i USA, men "Walkman" var allerede på læberne hos tidlige brugere, der havde hørt om eller set den bærbare enhed. Med et stilfuldt læderbetræk blev det hurtigt et bymæssigt tilbehør, man skal have. Walkmans i New York blev lige så gennemgribende som huller, hvor brugerne anerkendte hinanden på gaden, som om de tilhørte det samme broderskab.

I deres første omtale af Walkman den 7. juli 1980 udgav New York Times erklærede det som et statussymbol:

Josh Lansing og den unge blonde kvinde havde aldrig engang mødt hinanden før, men da de passerede hinanden på Madison Avenue den anden eftermiddag, vinkede hun og smilede, og han vippede sine høretelefoner i salut. Hvad de to velklædte fremmede først lagde mærke til ved hinanden, var, at de begge var indehavere af det nyeste statussymbol rundt omkring i byen: Walkman ... ”Det er ligesom Mercedes-Benz-ejere, der tutter, når de passerer hinanden på vejen,” forklarede hr. Lansing, hvis kassette hang fra hans Gucci -bælte.

Andy Warhol fortalte Washington Post han foretrak lyden af ​​Pavarotti frem for bragende bilhornstrande, der havde forbudt radioer, tog ingen problemer med den ensomme karakter af bærbare. Livets soundtrack kunne ikke kun ændres, men dæmpes.

Det sidste træk bekymrede Woodbridge, N.J., der vedtog en bekendtgørelse i 1982, der forbød Walkman og dens knock-off fra alle, der kørte eller cyklede på en offentlig gade, og sluttede sig til ni andre stater med lignende forbud. At bære hovedtelefoner i længere perioder vedrørte også audiologer, der frygtede øreskader fra konstant musikalsk akkompagnement til lektier, træning eller isolerede job som vejafgift eller taxikørsel. Selv værksteder chimede ind og sagde, at delene var for små til at reparere og hængte skilte, der nægtede service til Sony -eliten.

Intet af dette bremsede Walkmans momentum. Virksomheden afsendte over 500.000 enheder verden over i 1980 og tredoblet den i 1981. I 1983 introducerede virksomheden WM-10, som kun var en tredjedel af originalens størrelse. Den havde en "skuffe", der trak sig tilbage, når kassettebakken var tom. Endnu vigtigere havde den ørepropper, der tillod omgivende støj at lække ind og lette sikkerhedsproblemerne. I 1988 frigav de WM-505, den første model med trådløse hovedtelefoner, over 12 år før det første Bluetooth -headset.

The Walkman spillede fremtrædende i Footloose Marty McFly brugte den til at terrorisere transistor-æra i 1950'erne i Tilbage til fremtiden "Walkmans" blev en daglig betegnelse for enhver bærbar enhed på den måde, Kleenex var blevet standarderklæring for et væv.

Da det kom ind i Oxford English Dictionary i 1986 havde Sony opfundet, invaderet og erobret et helt nyt forbrugerelektronikrum.

Det var i hvert fald det, de havde antaget. Samme år, som de lavede OED, tilbød virksomheden et forlig til Andreas Pavel, der i årevis havde taget fejl af "opfindelsen" -delen af ​​Sonys historie. Som en hengiven musikelsker indgav han patent i Milano, Italien i 1977 for noget, han uformelt omtalte som et stereobelt. Han forsøgte at fange producenter, men Philips og Yamaha var ikke interesserede. År senere noterede han Walkman. Et tilfælde af kommunal tankegang, Pavel var stadig peeved hans opdagelse havde fundet succes uden ham, selvom det var af økonomiske snarere end personlige årsager. "Jeg vil ikke reduceres til etiketten som at være opfinderen af ​​Walkman," fortalte han New York Times.

Efter to årtier med off-and-on domstole slog han til med Sony i 2003. Et vidnesbyrd om Walkmans enorme succes, virksomheden efter sigende skar ham en check på otte tal.

I slutningen af ​​1980'erne var Walkman vokset til at rumme cd'er (Discman) og fjernsyn (den omfangsrige Watchman). I 1990'erne tog MP3 -enheder meget af deres udviklingstid, men intet kunne forudse - eller konkurrere imod - skiftet forårsaget af Apples iPod i 2000'erne. I 2010 meddelte Sony, at det ville stoppe det kassettebaserede Walkman-mærke i de fleste områder. Ligesom Sony -brugere havde stemplet transistorer og bomkasser ud i 1980'erne for at blive et samfundsmæssigt kølemærke, ville iPodens hengivne nøjes med intet mindre end et Apple.

Cool er selvfølgelig relativt. 2014’erne Guardians of the Galaxy genoplivede både enheden og konceptet med et mixbånd, hvor Chris Pratt's Peter Quill brugte TPS-L2 som en følelsesmæssig livline til sin barndom på Jorden. Modellen handlede tidligere for omkring $ 100 blandt samlere, og modellen skød op til næsten $ 1000, efter at filmen blev udgivet en sjælden "Guys & amp Dolls" -version, der mærket hovedtelefonstikkene efter køn, kan sælge for næsten $ 3000. Takket være Pratt var Walkman kommet i fuld cirkel.

Ibuka fik i øvrigt aldrig helt sit ønske. Efter at hans hold var ude af stand til at ændre en Pressman i tide til sin næste internationale flyvning, slog han sig ned på sit sæde og slog play. Intet skete. I deres jagt på at finde noget klassisk musik til Ibuka at lytte til, greb ingeniørerne ved et uheld en flok tomme kassetter.


"Hvorfor ingen postfunktion?"

Uden egentlige tekniske problemer at bekymre sig om koncentrerede teamet sig om måder at fremme musikbegrebet på farten for at sikre, at produktet ville blive et hit. Først fik en gruppe unge medlemmer ledet af Toru Kohno fra Publicity Division deres hjerner til at finde på et passende navn til produktet. Efter meget tid og kræfter og afvisningen af ​​mange alternativer, blev navnet "Walkman" endelig valgt. Faktorer, der påvirker beslutningen, omfattede Supermans popularitet på det tidspunkt og det faktum, at det nye produkt var baseret på Pressman. Navnet "Walkman" bidrog til konceptets dynamiske, sjove billede.

På trods af protester om, at navnet var en mærkelig blanding af japansk og engelsk, roste Morita det. De fleste købere ville være unge mennesker, og Morita mente, at de unge medarbejdere, der havde fundet på navnet, var i overensstemmelse med deres egen generation. Han støttede den entusiasme og frimodighed, der var gået i oprettelsen af ​​navnet. Derudover var emballager og plakater med navnet "Walkman" allerede blevet trykt, og der var ikke tid til at ændre dem.

Morita tog en af ​​testmodellerne med hjem for at prøve. Hans første idé var at tilføje et ekstra jack, så to mennesker kunne lytte til musik på samme tid. Hans anden idé var at designe en talknap, så folk kunne fortsætte en samtale, mens de havde hovedtelefonerne på. Yasuo Kuroki fra Product Planning Center arbejdede sammen med produktingeniørerne for at inkorporere disse funktioner og skabe et enkelt, funktionelt, men alligevel attraktivt design.

Ikke desto mindre modtog den første Walkman megen kritik, selv før den blev lanceret. Folk sagde, at en båndafspiller, som ikke kunne optage, aldrig ville fange. Morita nægtede imidlertid at blive påvirket og satte sit eget ry på Walkmanens succes. Selvom han ikke bestemt kunne sige, at det ville være et hit, stolede Morita på hans dømmekraft. Han vidste, at det første, hans egne børn gjorde, da de kom hjem, var at tænde for stereoanlægget, og han troede fast på, at Walkman ville yderligere uddybe forbindelsen mellem unge mennesker og musik.

Ideen til Walkman var kommet fra Ibuka, der var over 70 år, og Morita, der selv nærmede sig 60 entusiastisk støttede den. Ikke tilfreds med at hvile på laurbærrene, begge blev ved med at lede efter nye ideer og forsøgte at forstå, hvilke slags produkter der ville opfylde de unges livsstilsbehov.

Da Sony -sælgere forsøgte at forklare konceptet med Walkman for detailhandlere, mødte de stor skepsis. Forhandlere var ikke overbeviste om, at de kunne sælge en båndafspiller, der ikke optog. Det, der holdt Sony -sælgere og produktingeniører motiveret over for en sådan usikkerhed, var Ibuka og Moritas entusiasme samt det faktum, at de unge kvinder, der arbejdede på Walkman -produktionslinjen, ville eje det, de producerede.

Morita beordrede en indledende produktionskørsel på 30.000 Walkman -enheder. I betragtning af at det månedlige salg af den bedst sælgende båndoptager i gennemsnit var 15.000 enheder, var dette en fed beslutning. Midt i betydelig usikkerhed gik projektet fra udvikling gennem produktion til forberedelse til lancering. Endelig, den 22. juni 1979, blev det annonceret, at "Walkman" ville blive sat til salg den 1. juli, kun ti dage efter den oprindelige måldato og lige før sommerferiens begyndelse.


Som Sonys Walkman fylder 35 år, et tilbageblik på dets begyndelse

Jeg tror, ​​du er medstifter af et globalt selskab, en japansk elektronikindustri med stort set ubegrænsede ressourcer til din rådighed. Men du bor på fly, du kan godt lide at lytte til klassisk musik under lange trans-Pacific-ture, og du er træt af at slippe din virksomheds blødende kant voluminøse monaurale spiller.

Så fordi du kan, instruerer du din forsknings- og udviklingsfløj om at bygge en mindre, mere bærbar version til dit personlige brug. Året er 1978.

Fra den selvbetjeningsanmodning — fremsat for over tre årtier siden af ​​frustrerede Sony-formand Masaru Ibuka og serviceret af Sony ’s båndoptagerafdeling med en enhed, Ibuka kunne lide så meget, at han pressede på for at bringe den på markedet — hældte verdens første bærbare lydimperium. Sony ’s Walkman, der fylder 35 år den 1. juli 2014, solgte flere hundrede millioner magnetiske båndoprullende enheder årtier før Apple ’s iPod indledte den digitale, solid state-lydafspilningsrevolution.

Bærbare lydenheder var ikke nye, da Sony ’s første Walkman, den uskønne lydende model “TPS-L2, ” ankom den 1. juli 1979. Verden ’s først bærbar lydafspiller optrådte to og et halvt årtier tidligere i 1954: Regency TR-1 — den havde et mere logisk udseende modelnummer, idet TR var en forkortelse for “transistor, og#8221 selv teknologi, der var drejede hoveder i midten af ​​1950'erne. Det kostede $ 49,95, da det blev lanceret, eller $ 442 i dag ’s dollars. Det afspillede radiolyd, vejede naturligvis 12 ounces (med sit 22,5 volt batteri, der varede 20 timer), var omtrent på størrelse med en tommer tyk stak indekskort og gjorde ikke#8217t passer i lommen. Men selvom Regency kun solgte omkring 150.000 TR-1-enheder, blev den anerkendt som den første enhed, der fik folk ud og lyttede til musik på farten.

Magnetbånd dukkede tidligere op igen, tilbage i 1930, med tilladelse fra det tyske kemiske ingeniørfirma BASF, selvom båndet på dette tidspunkt blev viklet omkring gigantiske ruller og hængt på maskiner, der var alt andet end bærbare (AEG viste den første spole-til-hjuls kommerciel optager i 1935, kaldet “Magnetophon ”). Det tog et halvt århundrede — en periode, der var vidne til fremkomsten af ​​alt fra 8-spors spillere i 1960'erne til semi-bærbare kassette-svingende “boombox ” stereoer i 1970'erne —, før Sony begyndte at lege med tanken af musikfokuserede båndspillere, der er små nok til at passe i din håndflade.

Selv da var et af Sony ’s første forsøg på en high-end “portabel ” stereomusikafspiller næppe mainstream: TC-D5, der blev udgivet i 1978, var tung og kostede en formue. Det var den omfangsrige TC-D5, som Sony ’s Ibuka kørte frem og tilbage på alle de lange forretningsflyvninger, og som fik ham til i 1978 at bede Norio Ohga, Sony ’s sektionschef for dens båndoptagerafdeling, om at prøve ved oprettelsen af ​​en stereoversion af Sony ’s Pressman — en relativt lille, mono båndoptager, Sony var begyndt at sælge i 1977 og målrettet mod pressemedlemmer.

Ohga tog Ibuka ’s anmodning til Kozo Ohsone, båndoptagerens forretningsdivision ’s general manager, der straks begyndte at rode med en modificeret Pressman, der ikke ville optage lyd, men i stedet tilbød stereo afspilning. Den resulterende enhed var så glad for Ibuka, efter at han havde prøvet det på en forretningsrejse, at han gik til daværende Sony-formand Akio Morita og sagde: Prøv dette. Synes du ikke, at en stereokassette -afspiller, som du kan lytte til, mens du går rundt, er en god idé? ”

Morita gjorde det, og han troede også, at verden med det samme ville instruere sit ingeniørteam om at begynde arbejdet med et produkt, der vil tilfredsstille de unge mennesker, der ønsker at lytte til musik hele dagen. ” Enheden skulle være klar inden kl. sommer (for at appellere til studerende på ferie) og sende til en pris, der kan sammenlignes med Pressman ’s.

Efter kun fire måneders udvikling var enheden klar. Men hvad skal man kalde det? Sony Ibuka ønskede “Walkman, ” i overensstemmelse med virksomhedens Pressman, men virksomheden var ikke så sikker på, at navnet var rigtigt, ved først at markedsføre enheden som “Soundabout ” i USA ( hvor den debuterede lidt senere i juni 1980) og med helt andre navne i andre lande. Sony besluttede sig til sidst på Ibuka's funktionsvinklede moniker & det underliggende princip var musikalsk ambulation, trods alt — og så blev Walkman født, selvom det ikke var et øjeblikkeligt hit.

Sony producerede 30.000 enheder ved enhedens ’s japansk lancering i 1979 —, TPS-L2 kørte på to AA-batterier og krævede hovedtelefoner, da den ikke havde nogen højttaler — og prisede den til $ 150 (lige under $ 500 i dag ’s dollars), men solgte kun et par tusinde i slutningen af ​​juli. Det tog Sony -repræsentanter at gå på gaderne i Tokyo med testenheder i hånden, arbejde med folkemængderne og lade dem prøve Walkman selv, for at skabe interesse, der fortærede hele Sony ’s produktlager inden august ’s lukkede. Og for at henvende sig til kritikere af TPS-L2, der afviste forestillingen om dens begrænsning til afspilning, fulgte Sony hurtigt med en version af Walkman, den kaldte TCS-300, der også tilføjede muligheden for at optage.

Resten af ​​historien kender du: Selvom kassette og senere diskbaserede mobile medieafspillere for længst er blevet fortrængt af Apple ’s iPod og den MP3-fokuserede post-iPod-lyttetid, så har Walkman gennem alle dens mange funktions iterationer og medier skift til alternative formater som MiniDisc (solgt under Walkman -mærket), er fortsat med at sælge næsten 400 millioner enheder. I modsætning hertil skal du tilføje alle PlayStation -spilkonsoller og håndholdte Sony -spillere til dato (den første PlayStation blev solgt i slutningen af ​​1994) for at glide forbi dette tal.

Dette er noget mindre kendt — du vil ikke finde dette nogen steder i Sony's udførlige selskabshistorie —, men Sony kom i lidt juridiske problemer med Walkman, som det ikke helt kunne komme ud af før for cirka et årti siden. Det var på grund af en Andreas Pavel, en tysk-brasiliansk opfinder, der skabte en enhed helt tilbage i 1972, som han kaldte “Stereobelt ” (fordi du havde den på som et bælte). Pavel ’s enhed var nok som Walkman, og hans patenter indgav godt nok på forhånd, at Sony til sidst måtte betale ham royalties på Walkman ’s salg, men så gjorde det kun det i visse lande og for udvalgte modeller.

Men Pavel, beskrevet i dette 2005 New York Gange stykke som “mere interesseret i ideer og kunst end i handel, kosmopolitisk af natur og opdragelse, og#8221 ville også have anerkendelse for at være opfinderen af ​​det bærbare stereoanlæg, så han forfulgte Sony og kulminerede med trusler i begyndelsen af ​​2000'erne for at sagsøge virksomheden i hvert land Pavel havde indgivet patent. I 2003 gav Sony sig til sidst op og besluttede sig for et uoplyst beløb uden for retten, og Pavel vandt retten til en gang for alle at kalde sig opfinderen af ​​den personlige bærbare stereospiller.

Mine egne minder om Walkman ’s ankomst filtreres gennem disen i en før-internet-kronisk barndom. Jeg var ni-gang-på-10, da Walkman debuterede på statssiden og boede i en fjerntliggende Nebraska-by med en befolkning i de lave tusinder. (Alexander Payne overdriver detaljerne om livet i den lille by i Nebraska i sin film med samme navn, men får det sedere tempo og den frakoblede tone helt rigtigt.) I 1980 havde mine forældre en kombinations 8-spors stereo- og pladespiller, der lignede et sofabord og tog mindst to mennesker til at flytte. Det havde et kæmpe låg til at skjule alle sine knapper og håndtag — et monument over teknologisk usynlighed indkapslet af elegant træværk. Det var topmoderne, hvor jeg boede, og min grænseflade til musik, da verden overgik til mobil.

Da jeg fik min første Walkman — husker jeg ikke det nøjagtige år, selvom jeg ikke var sikker på, at det var den første model, var det en åbenbaring, et middel til at lytte til musik, når og hvor jeg ville, afbryde weekendens familiebilture (hver biltur for evigt, når du er barn og en time i enhver retning fra en større by), for at frigøre den musik, jeg lyttede til dengang (rigtig mange John Williams filmlydspor høflighed min onkel, der lavede mig kassettekopier af sine egne optagelser) fra stuerne, eller lyd- og kontrolkompromiserne i bilstereoer.

Jeg ved ikke, om jeg bekymrede mig om eller endda fuldt ud forstod Sonys rolle i bærbar stereodom, der voksede op i 1980'erne, og Sony eller ej, en enhed som Walkman (ligesom iPod efter den) var sandsynligvis uundgåelig. Men kredit, hvor kredit skyldes: Sony ’s Walkman er et symbol på, hvad det betød at være en musikkender under kassettebåndets & glansdage, hvor musikken blev overført fra din stue til din bilstereo til din person efter at have kørt til en park for en spadseretur eller løbetur var så simpelt som at trykke på en knap (EJECT), glide det lille tape-spoolede stykke plast fra en magnetisk dør til en anden og trykke på PLAY.


jeg var ikke i live, da Sony Walkman blev opfundet ...

PÅ DETTE BILEDE: Sony Walkman WM-101 var den første enhed, der kom med genopladelige batterier/FOTO KREDIT: Sony/Getty Images

men det helt bestemt havde indflydelse i mine barndomsår. Jeg husker, at jeg fik fat i en Walkman omkring en alder af omkring syv eller otte år og blev befriet. Kunne transportere mine yndlings kassetter rundt og lytte til musik på farten ... det var noget, min generation oplevede, og det var et stort gennembrud. Man kan føle, at det er lidt over-the-top at kalde opfindelsen af ​​Sony Walkman et historisk øjeblik. Se på de enheder og teknologi, der har bragt musik frem og revolutioneret, hvordan vi lytter til musik. Tænk på, hvornår grammofonen kom ind, og hvordan det gjorde det muligt at afspille plader. Tilbage i 1979 kunne folk lytte til kassetter på farten, men for det meste måtte de stole på lidt besværlige og klodset spillere og boom-kasser. Det var ret socialt at have en kassette-afspiller eller boom-box, man kunne bringe det ud i det fri, og folk kunne dele deres værdsatte kunstnere. Tænker over det, og det tillod ikke meget subtilitet og privatliv. Den 1. juli 1979 introducerede Sony den bærbare og fantastiske Walkman - en enhed, der til sidst ville udvikle sig til Discman (et sjældent tilfælde af at tage et stort skridt tilbage, når det kom til teknologi). Inden jeg fortæller dig, hvorfor jeg og mange mennesker på min alder elsker Walkman, lad os få et historisk perspektiv. Det her Tid artiklen viser starten på Sony Walkman:

Walkman var ikke et kæmpe spring fremad inden for teknik: magnetkassetteknologi havde eksisteret siden 1963, da det hollandsk baserede elektronikfirma Philips første gang skabte det til brug for sekretærer og journalister. Sony, der på det tidspunkt var blevet eksperter i at bringe veldesignet, miniaturiseret elektronik på markedet (de debuterede deres første transistorradio i 1955), lavede en række moderat succesrige bærbare kassetteoptagere.

Men introduktionen af ​​forudindspillede musikbånd i slutningen af ​​1960'erne åbnede et helt nyt marked. Folk valgte stadig at lytte til vinylplader frem for kassetter derhjemme, men båndets kompakte størrelse gjorde dem mere befordrende for bilstereoer og mobilitet end vinyl eller 8-numre. Den 1. juli 1979 introducerede Sony Corp. Sony Walkman TPS-L2, en 14 ounce, blå og sølv, bærbar kassetteafspiller med store knapper, hovedtelefoner og et læderetui. Det havde endda et andet øretelefonstik, så to mennesker kunne lytte ind på en gang.

Alt den nødvendige enhed nu var et navn. Oprindeligt blev Walkman introduceret i USA som "Sound-About" og i Storbritannien som "Stowaway", men kom med nye, ophavsretligt beskyttede navne i hvert land, det blev markedsført i, viste sig at være dyrt Sony besluttede til sidst at "Walkman" som et skuespil på Sony Pressman, en monokassetteoptager, den første Walkman -prototype var baseret på. Først udgivet i Japan var det et massivt hit: Mens Sony forudsagde, at det kun ville sælge omkring 5.000 enheder om måneden, solgte Walkman op mod 50.000 i de første to måneder. Sony var ikke det første firma, der introducerede bærbar lyd: den første bærbare transistorradio nogensinde, indekskortstørrelsen Regency TR-1, debuterede i 1954. Men Walkmans hidtil usete kombination af portabilitet (den kørte på to AA-batterier) og privatlivets fred (den havde et hovedtelefonstik, men ingen ekstern højttaler) gjorde det til det ideelle produkt for tusinder af forbrugere, der ledte efter en kompakt bærbar stereo, som de kunne tage med sig overalt. TPS-L2 blev introduceret i USA i juni 1980”.

Selvom Walkman var en revolutionerende og velkomment introduktion, var det en ganske dyr mulighed for musikelskere tilbage i 1979-kan man sætte en pris på dens betydning ?! Denne funktion fra Randen viser, hvordan den ydmyge Walkman voksede i statur, hvor den er enormt vigtig for hans dag:

Den første af Sonys ikoniske bærbare kassettebåndafspillere blev solgt denne dag, 1. juli, tilbage i 1979 for $ 150. Som historien går, Sony-medstifter Masaru Ibuka fik hjulene til at dreje måneder før, da han bad om en måde at lytte til opera, der var mere bærbar end Sonys eksisterende TC-D5-kassetteafspillere. Anklagen faldt på Sony -designer Norio Ohga, der byggede en prototype ud af Sonys Pressman -kassettebåndoptager i tide til Ibukas næste flyvning.

Efter en skuffende første måned med salg blev Walkman til at blive et af Sonys mest succesrige mærker nogensinde, og overførte formater gennem årene til CD, Mini-Disc, MP3 og endelig, streaming musik. Over 400 millioner Walkman bærbare musikafspillere er blevet solgt, 200 millioner af dem kassetteafspillere. Sony pensioneret det klassiske kassettebånd Walkman line i 2010, og blev tvunget til at betale en kæmpe forlig til den oprindelige opfinder af den bærbare kassetteafspiller, Andreas Pavel. Men navnet lever i dag i form af nyt MP3 -afspillere og Sonys Walkman -app. Walkmans storhedstid kan være slut, med børn i dag forvirrede og væmmede ved den relative klodethed af kassetter. Men vanen det affødte - at lytte til musik, hvor og når du vil - er større end nogensinde”.

PÅ DETTE BILEDE: Sony’s first Discman was released in 1984/PHOTO CREDIT: Sony/Getty Images

I will end by looking at how the Walkman has dwindled since its introduction but, in an age where we carry everything on our phone, it is sad that we do not have this groundbreaking piece of kit on our person! I recall my parents talking about the introduction of the Walkman and how it was this desirable object that eventually made its way to our shores – it is a Japanese invention and, as I shall show later, the fact it slowly crept around the world made it all the more desirable! My earliest music-listening days (around about 1987-1990-ish) were spent, largely, listening to a bigger unit where I had a double tape deck. It was pretty cool having that and it allowed me to listen to tape out of the house. I have a huge fondness for vinyl but I often find a record player does not allow the portability we crave. Early cassette players and devices were a bit large but it did mean me and my mates could take cassettes out of our homes and share them with one another. We could sit on the grass and marvel at these great albums, played loud, without having to worry about our parents’ (dis)approval. I cannot recall the day I got a Walkman but the effect was instant: the ability to listen to music privately whilst on the move. One might say that the Walkman made music-listening more insular and less communal but, from the earliest days of music, there has always been that desire to listen to music peacefully and in a very personal way.

ILLUSTRATION CREDIT: Sam Cooke

I think there is something magical about sharing music and listening with peers but, for that sheer release and affirmative rush, listening to music without interruption and expectation is hard to beat! Now, as I type this, I have headphones on am listening to Beyoncé’s Hjemkomst album. If I was listening to the album with a group of people, we could all react and it would be cool seeing how people respond to the music. I feel, with the music in my ears (and only mine) it is more intimate and personal – like Beyoncé is performing directly to me. Music is at its strongest when it has that direct touch and power to move you. I am not saying the earliest days, pre-Walkman, were not good but there was something about the Walkman that took music to a new level! I had a large collection of cassettes and, before, I had to play them in my room and it didn’t allow for much movement and personal space. When I got my first Walkman – maybe the early-1990s, now that I think of it – I was able to walk around and, not only did I get to listen to all my tunes with smoothness and peace, but I was actually getting active at the same time! The portability and sleekness of the Walkman, as Mental Floss explained in this feature, was marketed at a younger audience:

The teen angle also meant that Sony had to produce new, more stylish and lightweight headphones, improving on the earmuff-like ones available at the time.

The initial ad campaigns emphasized youth and sportiness: young people on roller skates and bicycles, earphones on their ears and Walkmans on their belts. En advertisement said it all: a young, pretty girl with a Walkman wearing futuristic earphones walking past an elderly monk wearing a clunky, old ’60s-style headset”.

As I said early, the Walkman was reserved to Japan for a long time. It took a while for it to make its way to international markets:

Two months after the July 1 rollout, Sony sold out of the initial production in Japan. The company intended to introduce the Walkman to foreign markets in September 1979, but scrapped that plan in order to dedicate production to meet Japanese demand. This only made the Walkman more desired in other countries. Tourists and airline crews searched them out and brought them home. Whenever Sony executives went abroad, colleagues badgered them about obtaining Walkmans.

In 1979, the year of the Walkman’s release in Japan, recorded music sales were about $4 billion in the U.S., half of which went to vinyl, a quarter to compact cassettes, and a quarter to 8-tracks, according to Mark Coleman's book Playback. The Walkman made its U.S. debut in June 1980, and just three years later, in 1983, cassettes overtook vinyl as the top format. By the time Sony stopped manufacturing the Walkman portable cassette players in 2010, the company had sold around 385 million units”.

Was the Walkman, at a time when music was sociable and shared, taking us more into private and closed-off territory?

In an essay that may seem either quaint or prophetic in the age of smartphones, Japanese professor Shuhei Hosokawa accused the Walkman of altering the urban landscape, from one in which experiences were shared and spontaneous into one where individuals were preoccupied and autonomous in thought and mood. I en 1984 article for the journal Popular Music, entitled "The Walkman Effect," Hosokawa, of the inter-university International Research Center for Japanese Studies, wrote that the “listener seems to cut the auditory contact with the outer world where he really lives: seeking the perfection of his ‘individual’ zone of listening.

IN THIS PHOTO: The invention of the Walkman has, indirectly, led to the portability and convenience of the Smartphone/PHOTO CREDIT: @jens_johnsson

I have mentioned how, if the Walkman made music more personal and less sociable, it did encourage people to move and, with music in their ears, the health benefits were clear:

The Walkman coincided with the exercise craze of the ’80s, which saw the Western middle class, newly confined to office jobs, take to the gym and fitness classes. “[A]lmost immediately, it became common to see people exercising with the new device,” Richard James Burgess wrote in The History of Music Production. “Appropriate personalized music eases the boredom and pain of repetitive exercise.”

I think there has not been another move in music technology since 1979 that has changed how we listen and experienced sounds. One can say Smartphones have transformed things but, look at what was before the Walkman, and you have to admit that (the 1979 invention) was a seismic shift. We all know what sort of went wrong when it came to following the incredible Walkman: making C.D. listening portable was fraught with challenges. Det her AdWeek article discusses the ways Sony tried to make other forms of music mobile but, as anyone who has owned a Discman will tell you, there were more problems than benefits:

Groundbreaking as it was, however, the Walkman would also become one of branding's cautionary tales. Sony initially kept apace with the changes in technology, introducing its CD-playing Discman D-20 in 1987. But when the era of MP3 arrived, Sony wasn't hip to the groove. Det MP3 Walkman arrived in 2004, but its high price ($400) and Sony's insistence on using its Atrac MiniDisc format alienated many consumers—who were all too happy to defect to Apple's iPod after it hit the market in 2001. "Sony was not defending its space as it should have been," Reed said. "One of the brilliant things that Apple did—and that Sony had done—was to create a category."

IN THIS PHOTO: This is what the Walkman looks like today: the modern-day and slimline NW-ZK1/PHOTO CREDIT: Sony/Getty Images

I am not down on the Discman at all: it meant we could all listen to C.D.s on the move but, as C.D.s are more fragile than cassettes, it meant harnessing a device that could play them smoothly was always going to be a challenge. Now, we look back and laugh at how one used to hold a Discman: usually in the air, making sure tracks did not skip perhaps walking very gingerly as not to irritate the mechanisms and get that horrible skipping sensation. Walkmans, in a way, were way ahead of Discmans and much more inviting. There was always the dilemma one would have when the cassette would sound a bit off – normally one would have to unspool the tape because the bloody thing was stuck and beyond saving! This article charts where Sony went from the Discman. By 1992, Sony brought out its first HD Walkman - Sony created the world’s first MiniDisc Walkman® MZ-1 that featured recording, playback a numeric keyboard and anti-skip technology. This device could record for up to seventy-four minutes, and those recordings could be divided, combined deleted and named (all new experiences to tape recording!). From there, as newer technology came out, the Walkman changed its shape and appearance. I do wonder whether the so-called ‘Walkman Effect’ is responsible for this big modern-day issue of people on their phones nobody looking up and everyone keeping to themselves.

If one can argue the Walkman encouraged technology companies to pioneer music/devices that were more private and personal than social and communicative, they (Sony) at least made portable music-listening possible. They made it possible for us to listen to music on our own and not have to be anchored and constricted by overly-large cassette players and worry about volume! Is the Walkman due a revival? As this feature explains, the Walkman had a brief resurgence a few years back:

They have since licensed the name to Chinese manufacturers and used it themselves for MP3 players and even phones, but the original Walkman had become a thing of the past. or had it? In 2014 the Walkman was revived thanks to the release of the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy in which the main character uses his Walkman and mix tapes as a lifeline to his childhood on Earth. After the release of the movie, the price of second-hand walkmans increased dramatically thanks to this retro reboot”.

As our modern world keeps vinyl alive and there is never going to be an end to our love of record shops, does that mean there is a space for cassettes? Definitely, there are disadvantages with cassettes: you cannot easily skip tracks and you have to wind forward/backward it is a rather frustrating experience unless you want to listen to an album in one go.


SOLGT - FOR SALE: Sony Walkman - TC-D5 (Vintage - the 1st truly portable Walkman)

serial # 11545 – manufactured 1979 – takes audio cassettes
A friend purchased this Walkman for me at Kimura Camera's in Japan on July 6 1979, while on tour with Harry Belafonte. I was joking that I wanted it as it cost $750 U.S. and it had not yet been introduced to North America. (I ended up trading him a Bryston 3B for it)

When it was introduced they used Rick Neilson (Cheap Trick) as the spokesman. He was depicted beside a Bullet train in Japan with his headphones on and proclaimed: "I can still hear the music on this cassette over the sound of the speeding train." There is an onboard speaker so you don't have to use Headphones to initially check tapes – or put up with the noise of a Bullet train - LoL.

The playback sound, metres, heads, casing – everything is of Professional Studio level. It is akin to the Nagra reel-to-reel portable deck in quality!

I used it when I played in bands on the road to:
1. To record our gigs to listen the next day for self-improvement. Also, 4 of the tracks recorded on this deck were included in our record album – live off the floor.
2. To flawlessly provide music for the audience when we were on a break between sets. We weren't worried about it being stolen in our absence because our axiom was: "If the music stopped, we knew it wasn't the deck so we better get downstairs fast! ……. Because somebody stole it" - LoL.

You may say it can't be a Walkman because it is too big. Research it and you will see it is the first truly portable cassette deck made and was called 'The Walkman'. Mine has not been played since the '80s and when I tried it recently, it did eat some tapes, though it played well on the rest. Still, it will need adjustment and cleaning to bring it back to glory. NOTE: Do not try to adjust this deck yourself as the screws are the tiniest Jewellers screws and there are many micro-parts. As I said, it was meant to be Studio-quality.

THIS PAGE HAS BETTER PHOTOS THAN MINE:
https://www.willhaben.at/iad/kaufen-und-verkaufen/d/sony-tc-d5-308786994/

Website functionality and reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtjqF70F5wI repair of TC-D5M (same but takes metal tapes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtjqF70F5wI - YouTube operational tutorial

https://www.sony.net/Fun/design/history/1970.html - History TC-D5 (look at the difference in 1979)

https://www.hifishark.com/search?q=sony+tc-d5 - World prices – a few years newer than mine

On Nov 28 20I8 I researched pricing on e-bay.ca e-bay.com Amazon.ca Amazon.com Kijiji (all of Canada). The few prices I found (of the working ones with no or few accessories), were priced between $667 USD to $800 USD. The ones that were not working were between $400 and $520 CDN. I believe I am offering this unique vintage product at a below average price.

Additional Information:

May 28, 19 4:38pm
THIS PAGE HAS BETTER PHOTOS THAN MINE:
https://www.willhaben.at/iad/kaufen-und-verkaufen/d/sony-tc-d5-308786994/

Inkluderer:

I have all manuals and receipts, as well as: leather carrying case an enhanced power supply (will probably need a new one though as the plug to the deck is intermittent due to a wrong-sized input jack) and /or 2 X D-size batteries.


The Walkman turns 35: What was the first song you played on one?

Before there was an iPod, there was the Sony Walkman, and Tuesday marks the 35th anniversary since it first went on sale on July 1, 1979. Thanks to a frustrated Japanese executive, kids suddenly had the freedom to listen to their favorite music tapes anywhere instead of lugging around a boombox.

Slap a tape in that boxy yellow contraption, and you could nod and pretend you were listening to Mom and Dad while hair metal was cranked up to ear-splitting volume. Slip those fuzzy headphones on, and you no longer had to be subjected to the tyranny of your parents' oldies cassette on long car rides.

They cost $49.95 when they first came out in 1979, the equivalent of $442 today. But no price was too high for being the first kid in your neighborhood cool enough to have one, especially if it had mega bass and auto reverse. There were even versions that played CDs.

The present generation may regard the Walkman as something unearthed in an archaeological dig, but Sony sold hundreds of millions of them in the 1980s and 1990s before Steve Jobs made everyone toss them in the back of the closet. They had their drawbacks, as known by anyone who might have had their favorite Run-D.M.C. tape eaten by one in sixth grade (still mad).

But they also bring back memories. There was no "shuffle" option on them, so when you had a favorite tape, it stayed usually wedged in there for weeks. (Either that or it actually var wedged in there, and no amount of mashing it with a screwdriver could get it out.)

The anniversary of the Walkman has many thinking back to that lucky day they got one, and the songs that got heavy rotation on theirs. During TODAY's Take on Tuesday, Tamron Hall and Willie Geist asked viewers to share their faves:


The history of the Walkman: 35 years of iconic music players

We take portable music for granted these days. Any commuter in any big city in the world is more likely than not to have a pair of earbuds or headphones on as they walk, bike, or ride to their destination. The thing is, personal portable music didn’t exist for most of human history, at least not in any mainstream fashion. Not until the Sony Walkman came along.

The first of Sony’s iconic portable cassette tape players went on sale on this day, July 1st, back in 1979 for $150. As the story goes, Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka got the wheels turning months before when he asked for a way to listen to opera that was more portable than Sony’s existing TC-D5 cassette players. The charge fell to Sony designer Norio Ohga, who built a prototype out of Sony’s Pressman cassette recorder in time for Ibuka’s next flight.

After a disappointing first month of sales, the Walkman went on to become one of Sony’s most successful brands of all time, transitioning formats over the years into CD, Mini-Disc, MP3 and finally, streaming music. Over 400 million Walkman portable music players have been sold, 200 million of them cassette players. Sony retired the classic cassette tape Walkman line in 2010, and was forced to pay a huge settlement to the original inventor of the portable cassette player, Andreas Pavel. But the name lives on today in the form of new MP3 players and Sony’s Walkman app. They heyday of the Walkman may be over, with kids today baffled and disgusted by the relative clumsiness of cassettes. But the habit it spawned — listening to music wherever and whenever you want — is bigger than ever.

The original Walkman portable cassette player, released July 1, 1979.

The first Walkman with rechargeable batteries, slimmer than its predecessors.


Sony introduced Digital Audio Tapes (DAT) in 1987. This Walkman audio recorder/player followed in 1990.


The iconic ‘Yellow Monster’ Walkman of the 1990s was actually released in 1988.


Sony introduced the MiniDisc (MD) as its new audio format in 1992, as well as this MD player Walkman.


By 1996, four years after it introduced the MiniDisc, sony had slimmed its Walkman players considerably.


Sony’s first ‘Discman’ was released in 1984, but the company canned the name and replaced it with ‘CD-Walkman’ in 1999.


Sony began using flash memory in the early 2000s. This 2003 Walkman features both 256 MB of built-in flash memory and expandable memory cards.


Sony’s flagship MP3 Walkman from 2004 came with 20 GB of storage and offered 30 hours of continuous playback. But at $400, it was too pricey to compete seriously with the iPod ($299).


Sony says this MP3 player, released in 2005, was inspired by a bottle of perfume. It has 512 MB of storage.


Sony’s first Walkman phone, the W200 released in 2007, came with a Walkman key that enabled users to play MP3, MPEG-4, H263 audio on their phones.


Sony’s first touchscreen Walkman, the NW-X series, debuted at CES in 2009. It failed to set the market on fire.


The first high-resolution audio player in Walkman history, the NW-F880 series was released in 2013.


Sony was so excited to show off its waterproof, ultra-portable Walkman MP3 headphones, it sold them in containers of water as a promotion.


What Sony’s Walkman looks like today. It’s come a long way from 1979.


Indhold

The first Walkman prototype was built from a modified Sony Pressman, [8] a compact cassette recorder designed for journalists and released in 1977. [9] [ mislykket verifikation ]

The metal-cased blue-and-silver Walkman TPS-L2, the world's first low-cost personal stereo, went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979, and was sold for around ¥33,000 (or $150.00). [10] Though Sony predicted it would sell about 5,000 units a month, it sold more than 30,000 in the first two months. [8]

The Walkman was followed by a series of international releases as overseas sales companies objected to the wasei-eigo name, it was sold under several names, including Soundabout in the United States, Freestyle in Australia and Sweden, and Stowaway i Storbritannien. [11] [12] Eventually, in the early 1980s, Walkman caught on globally and Sony used the name worldwide. The TPS-L2 was introduced in the US in June 1980. [8]

The 1980s was the decade of the intensive development of the Walkman lineup. In 1981 Sony released the second Walkman model, the WM-2, which was significantly smaller compared to the TPS-L2 thanks to "inverse" mounting of the power-operated magnetic head and soft-touch buttons. The first model with Dolby noise-reduction system appeared in 1982. [13] The first ultra-compact "cassette-size" Walkman was introduced in 1983, model WM-20, with a telescopic case. This allowed even easier carrying of a Walkman in bags or pockets. [14] The first model with autoreverse was released in 1984. [15]

In October 1985, the WM-101 model was the first in its class with a "gum stick" rechargeable battery. [14] In 1986 Sony presented the first model outfitted with remote control, as well as one with a solar battery (WM-F107).

Within a decade of launch, Sony held a 50% market share in the United States and 46% in Japan. [16]

Two limited edition 10th anniversary models were released in 1989 (WM-701S/T) in Japan, made of brass and plated in sterling silver. Only a few hundred were built of each. [17] A 15th anniversary model was also made on July 1, 1994 with vertical loading, [18] and a 20th anniversary on July 1, 1999 with a prestige model.

By 1989, 10 years after the launch of the first model, over 100 million Walkmans had been sold worldwide. [19] 150 million units were manufactured by 1995. [20] By 1999, 20 years after the introduction of the first model, Sony sold 186 million cassette Walkmans. [21]

Portable compact disc players led to the decline of the cassette Walkman, [22] which was discontinued in Japan in 2010. [23] The last cassette-based model available in the US was the WM-FX290W - [24] [25] this model was first released 2004. [26]

Second generation budget Walkman model from 1983 (model WM-4)

WM-F5 "Okinawa" Sports Walkman

WM-75 Walkman "Sports" model (1985)

Walkman professional with Dolby B and C, model WM-D6C, 1985–1999

WM-F404, high-end model with TV tuner (1990)

A "Sport" Walkman model from the early 90s

A 90s Walkman with a combined radio

Mid-1990s Walkman (WM-EX116) with supplied headphones

Sony Walkman WM-EX194 (2004)

The marketing of the Walkman helped introduce the idea of "Japanese-ness" into global culture, synonymous with miniaturization and high-technology. [27] The "Walk-men" and "Walk-women" in advertisements were created to be the ideal reflections of the viewing audience. [28]

A major component of the Walkman advertising campaign was personalization of the device. Prior to the Walkman, the common device for portable music was the portable radio, which could only offer listeners standard music broadcasts. [29] Having the ability to customize a playlist was a new and exciting revolution in music consumption. Potential buyers had the opportunity to choose their perfect match in terms of mobile listening technology. The ability to play one's personal choice of music and listen privately was a huge selling point of the Walkman, especially amongst teens, who greatly contributed to its success. [29] A diversity of features and styles suggested that there would be a product which was "the perfect choice" for each consumer. [30] This method of marketing to an extremely expansive user-base while maintaining the idea that the product was made for each individual "[got] the best of all possible worlds—mass marketing and personal differentiation". [30]

Culturally the Walkman had a great effect and it became ubiquitous. [31] According to Tid, the Walkman's "unprecedented combination of portability (it ran on two AA batteries) and privacy (it featured a headphone jack but no external speaker) made it the ideal product for thousands of consumers looking for a compact portable stereo that they could take with them anywhere". [8] According to The Verge, "the world changed" on the day the Walkman was released. [32]

The Walkman became an icon in 1980s culture. [8] In 1986, the word "Walkman" entered the Oxford English Dictionary. [8] Millions used the Walkman during exercise, the marking the beginning of the aerobics craze. [8] Between 1987 and 1997, the height of the Walkman's popularity, the number of people who said they walked for exercise increased by 30%. [8] Other firms, including Aiwa, Panasonic and Toshiba, produced similar products, and in 1983 cassettes outsold vinyl for the first time. [8]

The Walkman has been cited to not only change people's relationship to music but also technology, due to its "solitary" and "personal" nature, as users were listening to their own music of choice rather than through a radio. It has been seen as a precursor of personal mainstream tech possessions such as personal computers or mobile phones. [33] Headphones also started to be worn in public. This caused safety controversies in the US, which in 1982 led to the mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey banning Walkman to be worn in public due to pedestrian accidents. [34]

In the market, the Walkman's success also led to great adoption of the Compact Cassette format. Within a few years, cassettes were outselling vinyl records, and would continue to do so until the compact disc (CD) overtook cassette sales in 1991. [35] [36]

In German-speaking countries, the use of "walkman" became generic, meaning a personal stereo of any make, to a degree that the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that Sony could not prevent others from using the term "walkman" to describe similar goods. It is therefore an example of what marketing experts call the "genericide" of a brand. [4]

A large statue of a Sports Walkman FM was erected in Tokyo's Ginza district in 2019 in celebration of the 40th anniversary. [37]

In 1989, Sony released portable Video8 recorders marketed as "Video Walkman", extending the brand name. In 1990 Sony released portable Digital Audio Tape (DAT) players marketed as "DAT Walkman". [38] It was extended further in 1992 for MiniDisc players with the "MD Walkman" brand. From 1997, Sony's Discman range of portable compact disc (CD) players started to rebrand as "CD Walkman". [39]

On December 21, 1999, Sony launched its first digital audio players, under the name "Network Walkman" (alongside players under the VAIO name). The first player, which used Memory Stick storage medium, was branded as "MS Walkman". [40] Most future models would use built-in solid-state flash memory. In 2000, the Walkman brand (everything ranging from cassettes to the Memory Stick players) was unified, and a new small icon, "W.", was made for the branding. [41] Later, Walkman-branded mobile phones were also made by the Sony Ericsson joint venture. [42]

Sony could not repeat the success of the cassette player in the 21st century digital audio player (DAP) market. Rival Apple's iPod range became a large success in the market, [43] and particularly hindered Walkman sales internationally. [44] [45] Walkman DAP's market share has been better domestically, but still only outsold iPods briefly in 2005 and the 2009-2010 period. [46] [47] Until 2007, Walkman DAPs and Hi-MD players required the use of SonicStage PC software.

Walkman portable digital audio and media players are the only Walkman-branded products still being produced today - although the "Network" prefix is for long no longer being used, the model numbers still carry the "NW-" prefix.


Sony looks back at Walkman success

TOKYO | When the Sony Walkman went on sale 30 years ago, it was shown off by a skateboarder to illustrate how the portable cassette-tape player delivered music on-the-go — a totally innovative idea back in 1979.

Today, Sony Corp. is struggling to reinvent itself and win back its reputation as a pioneer of razzle-dazzle gadgetry once exemplified in the Walkman, which last week had its 30th anniversary marked with a special display at Sony’s corporate archives.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment company lost $1.02 billion in the fiscal year ended March — its first annual loss in 14 years — and is expecting more red ink this year.

The manufacturer, which also makes Vaio personal computers and Cyber-shot cameras, hasn’t had a decisive hit like the Walkman for years and has taken a battering in the portable music player market to Apple Inc.’s iPod.

Sony has sold 385 million Walkmans worldwide in 30 years as it evolved from playing cassettes to compact disks then minidisks — a smaller version of the CD — and finally digital files. Apple has sold more than 210 million iPods worldwide in eight years.

There is even some speculation in the Japanese media that Sony should drop the Walkman brand — a name associated with Sony’s rise from its humble beginnings in 1946 with just 20 employees to one of the first Japanese companies to successfully go global.

“The Walkman’s gap with the iPod has grown so definitive, it would be extremely difficult for Sony to catch up, even if it were to start from scratch to try to boost market share,” said Kazuharu Miura, analyst with Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo.

Mr. Miura believes Sony can hope to be unique with its PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable video game consoles, but it has yet to offer outstanding electronics products that exploit such strengths.

The Nikkei, Japan’s top business newspaper, reported recently that Sony set up a team to develop a PSP with cell-phone features. But Mr. Miura said the idea was nothing new, since the iPhone, another Apple product, has gaming features, and Sony isn’t likely to have such a product soon.

Earlier this year, Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer announced a new team of executives and promised to bring together the hardware electronics and entertainment content divisions of Sony’s sprawling empire — an effort that he said will turn around Sony and restore its profitability.

But Mr. Stringer, and his predecessors, have been making that same promise for years.

When the iPod began selling with sizzle several years ago, a Japanese reporter asked Shizuo Takashino, one of the developers of the original Walkman, why Sony hadn’t come up with the idea. After all, the iPod seemed like something that should have been a trademark Sony product.

Mr. Takashino had been showing reporters the latest Walkman models, which played proprietary files. Sony has been criticized for sticking to such proprietary formats. One major reason for the iPod’s massive popularity was that it played MP3 files, which are widely used for online music and compatible with many devices.

In a special display at Tokyo’s Sony Archive building that opened Wednesday to commemorate the Walkman’s 30-year history, an impassioned Akio Morita, Sony’s co-founder, speaks to employees in a 1989 video to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Walkman.

“We can deliver a totally new kind of thrill to people with the Walkman,” said the silver-haired Mr. Morita, proudly wearing a gray factory-worker jacket and surrounding himself with dozens of colorful Walkman machines. “We must make more and more products like the Walkman.”

Mr. Morita acknowledges in the video that the Walkman doesn’t feature any groundbreaking technology but merely repackaged old ones — but did so in a nifty creative way. And it started with a small simple idea — enjoying music anywhere, without bothering people around you.

The original Walkman was as big as a paperback book, and weighed 14 ounces. It wasn’t cheap, especially for those days, costing $340.

But people snatched it up.

Other names were initially tried for international markets like “soundabout” and “stowaway.” Sony soon settled on Walkman. The original logo had little feet on the “a” letters of the word.

Many, even within Sony, were skeptical of the idea because earphones back then were associated with unfashionable, hard-of-hearing old people. But Mr. Morita was convinced he had a hit.

The archival exhibit shows other Sony products that have been discontinued or lost out to competition over the years — the Betamax video cassette recorder, the Trinitron TV, the Aibo dog-shaped robotic pet.

The Walkman exhibit, which runs through Dec. 25, shows models that are still on sale, some about the size of a lighter, that play digital music files.

Also showcased are messages from Mr. Morita and his partner Masaru Ibuka, who always insisted a company could never hope to be a winner by imitating rivals but only by dashing stereotypes.

“All we can do is keep going at it, selling our Walkman, one at a time,” said Sony spokeswoman Yuki Kobayashi. “Thirty years is a milestone for Sony. But we hope the Walkman won’t be seen as just a piece of history.”


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