Sony introduced its first Walkman, the TPS-L2, in Japan on July 1, 1979. The very first portable audiocassette player allowed its user to privately enjoy music through headphones plugged directly into the unit. This was revolutionary, and it soon won over the world.

Over time, some models were able to offer double audiojacks, play both sides of a cassette tape automatically, and even record sound. As such, the WM-D6C and WM-DD9 models would be among the top sellers of the 1980s and are now prized by collectors.

That same era also saw Sony become a pioneer in portable CD players, when it released its first model, the D-50, in 1984. Known as the Discman, it unfortunately didn’t achieve the same phenomenal success nor longevity as the Walkman.

The Walkman’s reign didn’t last long, though. It eventually fell out of favour with users — until it disappeared at the beginning of the 21st century — thanks to the arrival of MP3 players, especially the iPod.

It was only in 2010, however, when Sony decided to cease production of its cassette Walkman. Since then, the brand has continued to sell its Walkman line in the form of high-fidelity players.

After Sony, other major players in the market including Japanese brands Panasonic and Toshiba launched their own players. Despite being a registered trademark, “Walkman” quickly became a generic name for all portable cassette players. All versions included, more than 220 million Walkman players have been sold around the world.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of one of its most famous products, Sony has launched an ongoing exhibition at Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo, Japan. Titled “#009 Walkman In The Park”, it showcases past Walkman models and stories compiled from 40 artists and celebrities who were invited to share their memories of the music player. The exhibition ends 1st September 2019. More details here.

This article is published via AFP Relaxnews

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