Image of Sony walkman in the post Walkman Mania

Sony’s Golden Egg

Sony is and will most likely remain one of the world’s tech giants. With products ranging from speakers, televisions, cameras, monitors, and gaming consoles, this company is certainly a household name. However, Sony did have one particular product in their history that impacted the world more than all of their other products combined. The Walkman was released in 1979, and the world has never been the same since. Welcome to Walkman mania!

Walkman WM-4 in the post Walkman Mania
Walkman WM-4 (1983) was a budget mode. Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Image of Walkman sports model in the post Walkman Mania
Sony WM-75 Sports walkman (1985) Image courtesy of Wikipedia

A Huge Step Forward For Music

Back in the day, there was no really good way to listen to music while on the go. People were limited to radios, boomboxes, and that was about it. 

When Sony released the Walkman to the public, it was an immediate hit. For the first time in history, the average consumer could have access to a reliable and high-quality portable music device. Along with this, the Walkman also gave people the freedom to choose what they wanted to listen to. Instead of relying on radio stations for a random selection of music, people could purchase individual cassette tapes of their choice, and insert them into the Walkman.

Image of Walkman in the post Walkman Mania
Sony Walkman WM-B603 audio cassette player. (1989) Courtesy of Wikipedia

Ingenious Marketing

Sony wanted to make sure that their product reached the younger generations. They realized that in order to effectively reach this demographic, they had to do more than just sell a product, they had to sell something bigger. 

What Sony did next was something that so many modern companies do now – they sold their product as a lifestyle and a way to show one’s own individualism. Sony marketed its product as an extension of oneself and used influencers to do various activities using the Walkman.

Sony also released Walkman’s with different designs, to allow people to show off their own personality through their choice of Walkman.

A Global Phenomenon

The Walkman really took the world by storm. Not only was the gadget convenient to use, but it also provided the listener with high-quality music that was unparalleled at the time. 

Within just a few years, pretty much all us kids of the 80’s were vibing to our handpicked Walkman’s. They were fast becoming one of the most popular inventions of all time.

The Walkman wasn’t just a portable music player, it was also a fashion statement. They had cute, colourful designs so you could listen to cool beats and look hip at the same time. 

Finally, the Walkman also changed the direction of the tech industry. Previously, designers were focused on more complicated and expensive tech gadgets, but the success of the Walkman showed that people just wanted something handy, easy to use as well as trendy.

Image of Walkman WM-F404 in the post Walkman Mania
WM-F404, high-end model with TV tuner (1990) Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Image of Walkman with combined radio in the post Walkman Mania
Walkman with FM/AM (mid 90's) Image courtesy of Wikipedia

A Surprise Effect On Public Health

The Walkman was definitely a meteoric hit, but it also, rather surprisingly, had a salutary effect on people’s health. When the Walkman hit the shelves, TIME magazine discovered that walking as an exercise increased by a whopping 30%. It also encouraged people to do other types of exercise like aerobics and calisthenics. 

This prompted Sony to market and advertise “Walk-men” and “Walk-women”, clearly demonstrating how men and women could get the most out of their device. Exercise became less boring, less of a chore now that you could groove to your favourite frenetic playlist. It attempted to shed some of the pounds at least that TV’s were responsible for. 

A Hip Movie Prop

Pop culture has consistently embraced the cool, retro-feel of the Walkman. It was the centerpiece of more than one iconic scene in some blockbuster movies. A few of these include:

The Terminator (1984), Back to The Future (1985), Ghostbusters 2 (1989), Super 8 (2011) and Guardians of The Galaxy (2014)

My favourite ‘Walkman’ scene is probably the one from Terminator. It’s a tad violent, but incredible well put together. Watch below:

A Timeless Gadget

The problem with gadgets today is that the industry moves almost too fast. New technologies are created almost daily, and that new gadget you just bought, will likely become obsolete in a few years. 

The same can’t be said for the Walkman though. True product greatness can be measured by how much of its spirit and influence is carried on throughout future generations, even after the product is no longer being mass-produced.

The Walkman really started a revolution on the streets, and if you take a closer look at everything, its spirit continues to live on. Walkman Mania is far from over.

If you’re in the market for a retro Sony Walkman, check out the video below. 

What are your thought on the Walkman? Let me know in the comments section below. 

For more cool things from the 80’s, read our full post, 17 Cool Things About The 80’s .

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Walkman Gift Ideas

There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.

With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.

Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉

Walkman Radio and Cassette Player

Image of Sony cassette walkman Sony WM-FX290W

Listen to all your favourite cassettes like the 80’s never ended. 

Check it out on Amazon.

Walkman with Anti-Rolling Mechanism

Image of Sony cassette walkman Sony WM-EX190

Play cassette tapes and exercise at the same time. 

Check it out on Amazon.

Radio Walkman

Image of radio walkman in the post walkman mania

A simpler option – just for radio fans. 

Check it out on Amazon.

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