The humble Sony Walkman celebrates the Big Four-Oh this week and the Japanese tech giant is honouring the occasion in style.
Sony has opened an exhibition in Tokyo to commemorate the beloved personal media player’s journey from handheld tape deck, right the way through to the most recent Hi-Res digital music players that continue to bear the Walkman monicker.
All-in-all, there are 230 Walkmans (some of which are Discmans, for the pedants out there), on show, dating back to the first personal, battery-powered tape deck released on July 1 1979.
Visitors to the exhibition in the centre of the city can even play with some of the devices and many, we’re sure, will be using a cassette for the very first time. Those attending the exhibition will also be able to buy-up some retro-themed merch that’s bound to earn hipster points aplenty whenever they sport it.
Sony is also putting on a My Story, My Walkman series that features 40 stories from notable celebs sharing memories of the range and what it means to them. There’s also voodoo dolls of iPods, which Sony invites attendees to pride with the hope of inflicting revenge upon Apple for effectively signing the Walkman’s death warrant. Ok, that last part’s not true.
Over the course of its life, the entire Walkman range shifted over 400m units, according to Japan Today, but was gradually pushed out by the iPod, and then the smartphone that replaced it.
Today, it is the refuge of the retro music enthusiast and those who insist on listening to the highest-quality digital music files. However, the impact of Sony’s creation as the architect of the personal music revolution cannot possibly be overstated.
If you’re in Tokyo and struggling to find the exhibition, be on the lookout for a giant version of arguably the most identifiable release, that bright yellow Sports Walkman with an FM radio. It runs until the end of September.