This article possibly contains
Original Sony Walkman TPS-L2 from 1979
|Retail availability||July 1, 1979 – October 25, 2010 (|
|Units sold||385 million (as of March 31, 2009)|
Walkman is a
The original Walkman cassette player, released in 1979, changed
The Walkman was devised by Sony co-founder
The original prototype was built from a heavily modified Sony Pressman, a lightweight, compact tape recorder designed for journalists. By replacing the recording head with a playback head, and the speaker with an amplifier, Sony engineers were able to combine the portability of the Pressman with the stereo experience of the TC-D5. By using lower-end components to reduce the price, and enclosing the parts in an attractive casing, they had solved Ibuka's challenge.
The original idea for a portable stereo is ultimately credited to Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel, who patented the
The player was released in Japan in 1979 as the "Walkman", a nod to the player's ancestor, the Pressman. This was followed by a series of international releases under several other names - "Soundabout" in the United States, "Freestyle" in Sweden, and "Stowaway" in the UK. Overseas sales companies objected to the name “Walkman” as they felt it was too much of a
The names "Walkman", "Pressman", "
The marketing of the Walkman introduced the idea of 'Japanese-ness' into global culture, synonymous with miniaturization and high-technology. The "Walk-men" and "Walk-women" in advertisements were created to be the ideal reflections of the subject watching. The advertising of the Sony Walkman served to portray it as a possession that was not only fashionable but culturally definitive.[
The introductory United States advertising campaign for the Sony Walkman was created in the New York office of the international advertising agency, McCann-Erickson, who had won the Sony business the prior year. Madison Avenue creative executive Peter Hoffman, a young copywriter at McCann at the time whose creative work helped win the Sony business for the agency, created the introductory advertising for the Walkman with his campaign and tag line, "There's A Revolution In The Streets." It became one of the most successful launches of any new product in the past half-century.[
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. Having the ability to customize a playlist was a new and exciting revolution in music technology. Potential buyers had the opportunity to choose their perfect match in terms of mobile listening technology. The ability to play your own music and listen privately was a huge selling point of the Walkman, especially amongst teens, who greatly contributed to its success. Despite "all this technological diversity, there must be one which is the perfect choice for you". 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". Sony accomplished the genius feat of mass individualized and targeted advertisement, enabling the Walkman to be recognized as an influential piece of technology.[
Today, Walkman still maintains its role in
popular sub culture, albeit a diminished one due to the large number of competitors in mobile audio devices today. Through Sony's effort to "[sustain] certain meanings and practices which have become emblematic of--which seem to stand for or to represent--a distinctive 'way of life': the culture of late-modern, post-industrial societies", the Walkman remains, largely due to effective advertisement, a symbol of the freedom and portability that Sony sought to convey among the younger demographic.[