It’s impossible to overstate how much of an effect the Sony Walkman had on how we consumed music.
The reason everyone walks around in public wearing headphones, sealed off from humanity in their little bubble of music can be traced back to the Walkman in 1979. It made personal music gadgetry cool. It propelled the sales of pre-recorded cassettes to beyond that of vinyl for a brief time. It was an essential component in the early 80s fitness craze. And on and on. It was the iPod of its day.
Sony, of course, squandered their lead in this arena thanks mainly to squabbling between their consumer electronics division and the part of the company that owned record labels. Had Sony been able to get their shit together, they, not Apple, would be the world’s most valuable company.
But back to the cassette. The format is still important in some parts of the world like India, Indonesia and Africa. For all its faults, the cassette is still a pretty tough music storage medium.
Sony, though, has signaled it wants out. Begining early next year, the company will cease production of its portable cassette recorders/players. Get the full story at Boing Boing.