The device that changed forever how we listen to–and transport–music is about to become a museum relic in Japan.
Sony has announced that it ceased production in Japan of the iconic, revolutionary personal cassette tape player in April, and when those supplies run out, that will be the end of the concert.
The pocket-sized stereo was a revelation and a runaway hit shortly after its debut in July 1979, when it transformed the very way music is enjoyed. Prior to its introduction, record players and large portable stereos were the standard equipment for playback–not exactly the utmost in on-the-go convenience, although bell-bottom-clad hipsters could often be spotted grooving down the street with a “boom box” hoisted onto one shoulder.
According to a story in PC Magazine, Sony has sold some 220 million Walkman units in 30 years, but sales in Japan have declined steadily over nearly the same period. Demand for the old analog technology has all but vanished in the digital music era.