Skip to content

It’s about time

About 15 years late, Sony has announced that it will no longer produce the Walkman portable cassette player.

The cassette Walkman joins the Atari, Nintendo Entertainment System and Windows 3.1 as things that people my age use as examples of how hard we had it compared to you young whipper-snappers.

The players, first sold in July 1979, hit it big in the 1980s but struggled after CDs hit it big in the 1990s. Of course, CD players are now hurting since the rise of the mp3.

For those of you too young to remember, cassette tapes were a really cheap, low-quality form of magnetic tape storage that made it super easy to pirate music back in the 1980s and 1990s.

No one who thinks about it very long or deeply actually misses tapes. (I don’t think you’ve been able to buy them anywhere but truck stops for at least a decade.)

NPR is particularly critical of the Walkman’s effect on music and how people value it. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZD Net has warm memories of his Walkman:

I have fond memories of my first Walkman. Sure there was warble and flutter in the audio (really bad at times), heads needed cleaning, there was all that rewinding hassles, and I had countless tape-chewing incidents, but I still loved my Walkman. It lasted years, suffering countless crash landings and even the odd soaking. It might still be here somewhere …

Now get off my lawn.

According to the New York Daily News, Sony sold more than 200 million Walkmen worldwide. The Daily News also says that Sony may continue production of the tape Walkman for China, the U.S. and Europe (though no other news outlet I read said so).

Sony will continue the Walkman brand, though, Techland says. The company will still make CD and MiniDisc versions.