It is considered one of the most iconic objects of popular culture of the 20th century. Sony’s popular walkman was launched on July 1, 1979, which is its 42nd birthday today.
It is the TPS-L2, which in its first ten years sold more than 50 million units and marked a true revolution in the way there was to play music.
Basically what the historic first Sony Walkman allowed was for people to be able to take their music with them everywhere and that marked a real departure from the past.
Masura Ibuka, one of the presidents of Sony, had a habit of traveling listening to classical music. The problem was that the executive had to carry around a TC-D5 cassette recorder, large and heavy as it was.
At the time, Ibuka commissioned the company’s development team to develop a more practical device for playing music. The answer came from Akio Morita, another of the presidents:
“Try this, don’t you think a stereo cassette player where you can listen to music while walking would be a good idea?”
At the beginning, it was a device that was designed only to meet Ibuka’s needs, but the development team was so satisfied with the result that they decided to launch it on the market in a massive way.
The target audience was those “young people who want to listen to music all day long”.
Thus, in early July 1979, the TPS-L2 hit stores at a price of $ 150. It was a gray and blue metallic stereo cassette player to which you could connect headphones.
It ran on two AA batteries and, the most attractive thing for the time, was that it could fit in a pocket.
On its website, Sony explains that many people within the company thought that the first Walkman was going to be a failure, since it only allowed to play music and not record.
They were wrong. In the first two months, the company sold more than 50 thousand units and their use also had an impact on the way of doing physical activity. Thus, since the appearance of the first Sony Walkman, the number of people who exercised by going for a walk grew by 30 percent between 1987 and 1997.