18 Fascinating Sony Walkman Facts

18 Fascinating Sony Walkman Facts - Entertainment - News

18 Fascinating Sony Walkman Facts

Revolutionizing Personal Audio: The Evolution of Sony Walkman

The ability to invent solutions for personal problems and, often, the betterment of society at large is a trait that defines human ingenuity. One such instance can be traced back to the invention of Sony Walkman, co-founded by Masaru Ibuka in 1979.

Sony Walkman 2

The Walkman was not only the world’s first low-cost personal stereo, but also introduced high-quality sound that was previously unavailable in similar devices. It was waterproof, and Sony even sold waterproof Walkman audio portable devices.

Market Introduction and Initial Reception

When the original version of Walkman was launched in 1979, it sold for about ¥33,000 ($150). Despite being more affordable than other similar products in the market, Sony initially feared that only 5,000 units would be sold in the first month. However, Walkman sales exceeded 30,000 devices within the first couple of months.

Global Marketing and The Rise of “Walkman Effect”

Before Walkman became a household name, Sony used different names for its products in various regions. The term “Walkman” only caught on later. Initially called “Wasei-eigo,” the name was objected to by several international sales agents. In the US, it was marketed as “Sound-about.” In the UK, it was called “Stowaway,” while in Sweden and Australia, it was known as “Freestyle.”

Diversity and Market Share

“Walkman” became an icon during the 1980s when portable audio devices experienced a surge in demand. As more people exercised, Walkmans became popular listening tools for music. By 1982, Walkman had flooded the United States market to such an extent that safety controversies erupted.

The Impact on Culture and Influence

Walkman’s influence extended far beyond the realm of personal audio. Its success during that era led to an increase in people exercising by about 30%. It also contributed to the rise of the portable pocket television, introduced in 1982.

Legacy and Modern Walkman Devices

While Sony’s Walkman popularity waned in recent years, some models are still produced today. The “NW” prefix, which was once synonymous with the device, has been dropped in favor of more straightforward names like A Series, B Series, and WM1 Series.

The Evolution of Personal Audio: From Pressman to Walkman

Before Sony’s invention, portable music devices were scarce. The Pressman was one of the earliest examples, followed by other products such as Discman and Watchman. Over 80 different Walkman models were produced between 1979 and 1982.

Challenges and Consequences

While the Walkman revolutionized personal audio, it also faced criticism due to potential negative consequences. Some people believed that its popularity encouraged narcissism, rudeness, and detachment.

From Vinyl to Cassettes: The Walkman’s Dominance

Before the introduction of Sony’s Walkman, vinyl players were king. However, Walkman soon popularized cassettes by 1983, which surpassed vinyl as the top preferred music format.

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