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Sony holds 40th anniversary event for iconic Walkman music player

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The good old days when I was too young to be aware of the nonsense of the world.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

Now is the time of communication and not of music.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

How much do you pay software eng. right outof highs hool?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Unfortunately, Sony has nothing to contribute in today's world, which doesn't diminish her past glories.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Early MD Walkman was very big and heavy. Currently a high-resolution walkman with classical music. Music is indispensable for daily life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I used Walkman very often to listen to opera music which is very long and I hurt my ears.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Akie: Irrelevant comment. This article is purely about the Walkman which is 40 years old. The failure of Sony over recent years in man areas should not take away the achievement that the original Walkman was as you do in fact point out.

Thank you Travelmaster - I agree with you about music and who knows how we would listening to it on the go OR as indeed at home if wasn't for Sony (and yes I am not taking anything away from the likes of Philips and other manufacturers - those with any knowledge will know what I am referring to).

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I was lucky enough to have a Walkman when I was a teenage. They were not cheap but my parents bought one for each of their children. When comes to Walkman, I can remember two brands, Sony and Aiwa. Then CD came but Discman was too expensive so we mostly bought or borrowed CDs and copied them to cassette s and listened to them on our walkmans.

I wonder if there is any celebration for MD, the Mini Disc. It was so cool but unfortunately Japan missed another chance to show the world how creative they are.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Stereo headphones plugged into a small cassette player..... who knew.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I walk very quietly compared to my wife and kids. I think the reason is because I spent most of my teens trying to walk in a way that wouldn't make my Walkman jiggle, which would cut out the music for a second. The hard Alice-band style headphones would also make my ears hurt after a while. Still loved it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

At the time we all thought it was amazing when we had one. First bags full of tapes and new batteries then moved onto rechargables.

Now compared with the tiny iPod shuffle, size of a postage stamp and 2 GB drive, which I have on my keychain.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Remember reading somewhere that a German made the prototype...regardless Sony is the one that got it out there, at that time they seemed invincible.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As the story goes, the idea for a portable cassette tape player came when Masaru Ibuka, the late Sony co-founder, asked for a convenient way to listen to music while abroad on business trips.

Sony did not invent the walkman, this is disinformation which continues to be spread by Sony. The original idea for a portable stereo is credited to Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel who patented the Stereobelt in 1977. Sony first refused to recognize that they stole his idea, but finally agreed to pay Pavel royalties in 2004.

https://www.cnet.com/news/sony-pays-millions-to-inventor-in-walkman-dispute/

7 ( +11 / -4 )

As the story goes, the idea for a portable cassette tape player came when Masaru Ibuka, the late Sony co-founder, asked for a convenient way to listen to music while abroad on business trips.

Entirely untrue. The portable personal stereo player was invented in the early 1970s by a German named Andreas Pavel. He called it a "stereobelt". Mr. Pavel filed his first patent in Milan in 1977 and then in various countries, including Japan, over the next two years or so.

After Sony produced its first Walkman in 1979 Mr. Pavel spent 25 years fighting Sony in various courts until he finally won a settlement in 2004. He received damages and Sony agreed to pay him royalties on sales of portable personal stereo players. He is now officially recognized as the inventor of the portable personal stereo player.

Mr. Pavel is an interesting man: a philosopher, inventor and lover of Brazilian music. By his account, the first music he listened to on his invention was "Push Push," a collaboration between the jazz flutist Herbie Mann and the blues-rock guitarist Duane Allman.

https://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/17/world/americas/an-unlikely-trendsetter-made-earphones-a-way-of-life.html

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Ah, I remember hearing stories how Sony would market the Walkman through I suppose what would be considered viral marketing now. They would hire people to walk around listening to Walkmans in trendy areas of Tokyo like Ginza and people and the media would start to pay attention and also want to buy them.

The Discman as well! I remember thinking how cool we were to have portable CD players, despite constant skipping and poor battery life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I had the second top left Walkman in the picture.

That brings back memories!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Now Sony is with Play Station series in the space universe but I wanted to see what could be Runman and Flyman coming later that Walkman, haha!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have many MDs. Sound quality of MD is very good.  But players are no more at electric good stores. When my old stereo set which can play MDs gets broken, I will be helpless.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think Sony lost their way when they tried to force their ATRAC standard on people who wanted something that played MP3 files.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Entirely untrue. The portable personal stereo player was invented in the early 1970s by a German named Andreas Pavel. He called it a "stereobelt". Mr. Pavel filed his first patent in Milan in 1977 and then in various countries, including Japan, over the next two years or so."

Nice attempt at misinforming the masses; thanks God for the internet!

"his European claim to authorship of the idea was rejected by the Court of Appeal in Britain in 1996.

He lost both cases when judges ruled his patent was invalid because it was an obvious extension of the technologies existing at the time it was filed.

The US Patent Office refused his patent application, so he was never able to sue Sony there.

However, Sony paid Mr Pavel a licence fee of DM150,000 in the 1980s for the original Walkmans sold in Germany. They had two earphone plugs and a "hotline" button for reducing the volume - both details included in Mr Pavel's original patent application drawings."

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/inventor-of-walkman-wins-millions-from-sony-dispute-over-730910.html

Stereobelt was totally different from the Walkman; Sony settled for only 2 models sold in Germany.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

In the earlier stages of development of Walkman, it was a very cool and symbolic item for young people. And the symbol of Japanese technology which was customer-oriented. Furthermore, there was a joke, a teacher scolded her student "First of all, take off your Walkman!"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sony's earning force today is censors. Sony's camera sales are good while Canon and Nikon are stagnated.  Sony joined Japan's high quality camera makers including Canon and Nikon. Sony's high quality censors are used in many places.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Nice attempt at misinforming the masses; thanks God for the internet!

Hardly misinformation. Mr. Pavel was walking around a Swiss forest in 1972 listening to music recorded on a cassette through stereo headphones plugged into a portable personal player. That's a full seven years before Sony started selling Walkmen.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Obsolete ability: I was quite good at splicing severed cassette tapes.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So what, if he was doing all that 7 years before Sony?

Read the link that tells you clearly he did not invent the walkman.

He lost ALL his Court cases; every single one of them.

People used to kick anything spherical before football was invented in Ingurland.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

When it first came out nobody could believe the quality of the music.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He lost ALL his Court cases; every single one of them.

You seem to concentrate on the many cases that he brought against Sony for violation of his IP, but you ignore the final outcome of the dispute which is that Sony accepted to pay royalties to Pavel. By that means, they admitted they stole his idea and accepted to pay for the royalties associated with the walkmans sold. The idea of a portable music player was not Sony's one, they stole his idea, period.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

the yellow sport models were status symbols in high school as they were expensive

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I work in IP but am a big believer in the James Burke "Connections" view of tech. That is, virtually all new tech is a new application or reworking of existing tech, and it is misguided to look for single inventors working in isolation. Edison, or more likely someone working for him, found the best material for a filament. He did not invent the light bulb, because it already existed.

Getting back to Sony and the Walkman, what killed them was DRM. As a record company themselves, they could not make an mp3 player. The record industry would not let them. Sony already made a digital music player, the MiniDisc, but it had to be designed to prevent minidisc to minidisc recording of copyrighted material. That's the hoops they were jumping through. The dominance of mp3, an unprotected format, was created by Napster and its rivals, a very sudden development by complete outsiders to the music and consumer tech industries. It created an open goal for another music industry outsider to make a portable mp3 player. Existing consumer tech companies were too into DRM for music and movies (see DVD) to exploit the situation. Any portable music players they made could not play mp3, otherwise they would have been sued to high heaven by the RIAA.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

“Now is the time of communication and not of music.”

You what? I don’t even know what this means.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I used to walk to school in 1986 listening to Queen and rock on what i think it was a Walkman, although the memory is hazy! It took me 45 minutes each way to walk so the music was a life saver. My first one didn't have a tape counter so trying to listen to a song again was a pain when rewinding! In fact rewinding was a massive pain! My second one had a tape counter which was awesome lol! I used to rewind some tapes so much that there would be a chink in the tape at the start of a song I liked. Then, there was of course, the inevitable tape chew and the much needed pencil! There was a warmness to tape that I don't think mp3 has..although maybe the headphones were better back then? Time for a cup of tea!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The portable personal stereo player was invented in the early 1970s by a German named Andreas Pavel.

My friend's brother had a portable cassette player in the mid 70s, which he used for skiing. It seemed to be a device designed for outdoors activities, and it definitely came out before the Walkman.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Walkman like many products today was a marketing breakthrough, the technical breakthrough probably goes to NASA, the astronauts going to the moon carried a portable cassette player, Mr. Pavel think invented his personal player based on this invention.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The idea of a portable music player was not Sony's one, they stole his idea, period."

And you seem not to know what IP is or work.

Perhaps the inventor of the wheel should claim paternity of the car.

Period.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"The event starts from ground level, where a 2.5 meter tall Walkman modeled after the yellow waterproof sports model introduced in 1983 stands"

Still had mine when I came to Japan, and it worked for a number of years beyond. Repaired it once, because unlike modern devices it was composed almost entirely of moving parts. But, the parts became unavailable after a while without importing at costs that did not make it relevant (ironically, given Sony is a Japanese company). Never understand the claims of being "waterproof", though. Water resistant, yes, but put it in a bathtub and I'm quite sure since it had a plug for earphones and what not it'd stop pretty quick. And what were you going to clip it on in the shower anyway?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When it first came out nobody could believe the quality of the music.

That was my reaction. Shortly after arriving in Japan in 1980, a colleague offered to let me try her Walkman. I was expecting to the hear the tinny sound of similar sized devices I'd seen before. I was blown away.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I still have one walkman and floppy disk. Don't know what to do with it, been in the box for many years.

Maybe sell for thousand $?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wish I could attend. I use a Walkman mp3 player.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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