40 Years Ago: Sony Walkman Revolutionizes Audio

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Sony WalkmanFor years, Sony was the leader in elegantly designed high-end consumer electronics products. On July 2, 1979, they introduced a product: the Walkman, a portable device that allowed people to listen to music while, well, walking.

To call the device revolutionary is a grand understatement.

In subsequent years, Sony continued to refine the product until it reduced the size of its new model, the WM-10, to that of the traditional plastic cassette case, which at the time was a tremendous breakthrough.

Writing in the New York Times in 1983 about the original Walkman’s introduction, home electronics columnist Hans Fantel observed: “Nobody could have foreseen at the time that the new gadget would quickly grow into an international craze, a new way of experiencing music, and an occasional traffic hazard.”

It was compact and at $100 – equivalent to around $350 today – was reasonably affordable. Imagine: you could travel and listen to a dozen or so of your favorite songs in the palm of your hand! We want one!

Our Classic Video is the introductory commercial for the WM-10…

Related: Remember the Maxell “Blown-Away Guy”?

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Keef
    #1 Keef 6 July, 2018, 23:34

    What an interesting commercial from the past! It’s fascinating how much technology has changed over the years. I love seeing these, keep up with the wonderful articles!

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  2. Kevin
    #2 Kevin 2 July, 2019, 06:56

    My uncle was an import agent responsible for bringing the first Walkman players into the USA. He showed it to me and told me that with this device, “books-on-tape” were going to be huge. He said, “There is a tip for you, if you want to start a business.” But I was too cautious and decided to keep my desk job in a buraeucracy. What a missed opportunity!

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