Taking the subway helps me to think. You get to also people watch. As it happens with many of us; as long as earphones are plugged in our ears the outer world remains almost disconnected. I got a seat near the doors I closed my eyes with the intention to reward myself with Music therapy for the rest of journey. Soon, a thought came across my mind and interrupted my drowse; how boring this journey would be without the Endless Music that we carry in our Phones?
The thought made me dwell on the past when we used to have Portable Cassette Players- Widely known as “Walkman”. Walkman undoubtedly changed the course of our lives and it was one of the greatest inventions of the time. The credit goes to Nobutoshi Kihara audio-division engineer of Sony, who built the walkman for his Boss Masaru Ibuka in Japan. As soon as the first ever personal portable music player of the world ‘Walkman’ launched in the market for retail sales on 1st July 1979, It became the most popular and In Demand gadget for the world. A product that not just made music more personal thing for all of us; but also proved very useful for professionals like Singers, Press reporters, Secret Agencies and to countless jobs.
The whole world joined the Music revolution that began with the ‘Walkman’ the sales of Music cassettes broke previous sales records but was a carrying a load of cassettes and dry batteries was not at all an easy task for anyone in this world. The reduce this load years of research brought fruit to Sony when they introduced Disc man, a personal CD player with help of what one can carry even more music in much less space. But the problem with Disc man was that only listening to pre recorded CD was possible in this device. No recording by the user was possible as it was possible in many variants of ‘Walkman’. This advantage of ‘Walkman’ strongly held the grounds for it and it remained the undisputed king of the Music Industry for many years.
In the era of competition no company can stand alone and is subjected to face fierce competition by others while the research work at Sony was at full pace other tech giants like AT&T, SaeHan etc joined the war. Audio and Mp3 players were the next products on the shelves of every shop that sold electronic products. It was a simple, small and versatile device with lot and lot of memory space to hold such amount of Music that a satchel full of audio cassettes would hold.
After the invention of MP3 players opened a whole new world of Opportunities for device Manufacturers, Music Producers, and Education Industry and for a whole lot of other industries. It was around 2001 when tech giant Apple inc. launched its first I Pod in the market. The device boasted of its 5GB hard drive space that could store thousands of songs in a palm sized device. Later on Multimedia phones and after that smart phones took the place of all above mentioned devices.
It’s been a long journey for the manufacturer and for the consumers too who had been excited and motivated through all this transformation of technology. The People who embraced the change made it happen for companies to keep on innovating better devices. The music I was listening became the background music for all this thinking process. When I shifted my attention to the display board I came to realize at next station I have to deboard the train. Again I felt myself losing into the beats of Music.
My first walkman was given to me by my father of course. A reward for scoring top marks for an examination. Tried to find it but guess it was thrown out. Just like the many old stuff broken. But at least not forgotten. Attaching a short release on anniversary of the Walkman below. The original walkman went for $150. I would pay easily double to have my first one again.
That’s life. Gone too soon. Treasure the memories and the music.
Part of my nostalgia series.
SONY INTRODUCES THE WALKMAN- THIS DAY 1979
On this day- July 1, 1979 the Sony Walkman- the first personal stereo tape deck made it’s debut. It would go on to sell over 200 million units. At first in the US it was called the “Sound-About’ in the United Kingdom the “Stowaway.” Eventually Sony settled on The Walkman.
With the help of the Walkman- by 1983 cassette tapes would outsell vinyl records for the first time. Looking back I can remember getting my first Walkman in the early 1980’s and I couldn’t imagine anything better. What could ever top this I thought? Well the cassette tape era was a short lived one. Cassette tapes were awful. I did enjoy my Walkman though. I would end up buying a couple of them during the decade. The Walkman also helped get people walking. When I think of the Walkman the first thought I have is walking with it. During the height of its popularity the number of people walking increased by 30%. The original Walkman went for $150- which seemed like a good bit of money at the time.