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Sony Walkman Officially Dead

More than thirty years after it first started hitting shelves the cassette version of the Sony Walkman is no more:

Handkerchiefs at the ready, people, it’s a sad day. Sony has announced that it is ceasing Japanese sales and production of the cassette Walkman, around 30 years after it first started selling them. ┬áThe Sony Walkman TPS-L2 went on sale in Japan on July 1 1979, and while the models have obviously changed since then, Sony only shipped its last batch to retailers in April 2010.

It’s honestly somewhat surprising that the product was still being produced and sold considering how ubiquitous MP3 players have become, but there’s apparently still a market for them in Asia and the Middle East. In fact, a Chinese company will continue to produce the cassette Walkman under a licensing agreement with Sony, for sale in that part of the world.

The one thing about the Walkman that was truly revolutionary is the way it helped turn music into far more of a personal experience than it had ever been. Before the Walkman, listening to music in public meant sharing it with others. Now, the image of people walking around major American and European cities living in their own personal musical worlds is so common it’s hardly noticed. It’s doubtful we’ll see that change in any appreciable way for quite some time to come.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Joshua L. says:

    Wow. I can’t help but feel a little sadness over this. Don’t know why.

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  2. DC Loser says:

    Given that many people in China in other parts of the world don’t have their own computers and have to rely on internet cafes, it makes managing your mp3 player a tad inconvenient. Technology always takes time to spread. I recall living in western Europe in the late 80s and in some places it was still difficult to get new releases (local language) in CD formats. Went over to East Berlin, and it was apparent they’d never even heard of a CD when I visited a record store. I’m currently using the Walkman mp3 player, which is a solid performer in price and performance.

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  3. J. Stephen says:

    Remember when it used to be embarrassing if someone caught you singing along with and/or dancing to the music being piped into your headphones? Apparently it isn’t anymore, at least if you are young.

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