The First Walkman From Sony Hits The Market - 07/01/1979

History |


In the mid 1950s, many were impressed by the transistor radio, since it was able to put music onto the consumers’ hand. Apart from that, the radio was reliable, portable, and its sound quality was very impressive something similar to the quality that was being played by the home stereo. This was the only technology that could prove efficient to music lovers until the Sony Corporation came up with a new revolution when in comes to personal electronic gadgets. They introduced the first personal stereo cassette player. The device was more astonishing at first, well, more astonishing than a cell phone and digital camera would later be. The Sony Walkman went into the market for purchase on the 1st of July the year 1979. The music lovers would definitely grab this new invention. 

The Walkman from Sony corporation was not able to represent a breakthrough in technology, but instead it showed a breakthrough when it came to imagination. Every part and element of the Walkman were already in the production process or the testing part to some other devices that the Sony Corporations were trying to make. It was Masaru Ibuka the legendary Sony Chairman who made a special and out of the ordinary request in the year 1979. Ibuka was a great lover of music and travelled frequently, most of the times he had to carry one of the company’s portable stereo tape recorders listen to music during his flights. The only available device was Sony TC-D5, but it was very heavy and proved to be difficult to carry along. The device was not very portable , so Ibuka asked his deputy Norio Ohga if he could be able to come up with something better. Ohga worked with the company’s existing Pressman product. Pressman as a portable and a monaural tape recorder that was very popular with journalists. Ohga had to improvise and decided to have a playback only stereo device rigged up just in time for Ibuka’s next flight in the Pacific. 

The device still needed custom made batteries that died half way during the flight, and earmuff like headphones. Ibuka was impressed by the sound quality and the portability of the device. Ibuka decided to push for the invetion of a marketable version of the device, but he received quite a bunch objections from the internal staff of Sony Corporation. The major challenge was the conceptual aspect of the device. The device went through a development phase 4 months and after that the device was ready to be introduced into the market at a retail price of 30000 yen similar to$150 and was available before the start of summer vacation for Japanese students. The production scale was 30000 but only 3000 were sold in the first month. The sales kicked off after the Sony Team decided to do a consumer direct campaign of going to the streets and approaching pedestrians. The pedestrians were then given the chance to listen to the music using the Walkman, the sales when high and soon the Walkman was a success story for the Sony Company.

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