Arriving in the late 1970’s, the Sony Walkman revolutionised the way people listened to music, and as a side effect must have also boosted the sales of cassette tapes both prerecorded and blank. The idea was simple, a tape player small enough to hold in your hand or clip on your belt which then allowed you to wander around doing whatever you wanted to do, listening to whatever music you wanted to, inside or outside the house.
Prior to the introduction of the Walkman playing cassette tapes meant using your stereo system or a stand alone tape player. Obviously the former would be too large to carry around and of course needed mains electricity, whilst the latter, although smaller, were still too large due to having built in speakers, and were too cumbersome for you to carry about and do something else. The solution to these problems were simple and obvious. First, stick a clip on the back so you could hook the Walkman on your clothing, freeing your hands. Secondly, reduce the size by pulling out the loud speaker, and replacing it with a set of small plug-in headphones.
The Walkman completely changed the way many people listened to music, and the brand is still available today, but the range of products have increased dramatically. The first major revision was the Discman, a portable CD player, and of course today the Walkman name is used on Sony’s range of MP3 players.
Whilst the introduction of the Walkman is generally classed as a Good Thing, it did also bring one scourge of society with it, one that any commuter will no doubt have fallen foul of. I speak of course of the annoyance of having somebody sat next to you who insists on having their volume level set too high so you can clearly hear whatever it is they are listening to, or at the very least the annoying “ching-chika-ching-chika-ching” of the drum track. Listen up people, these things are dubbed Personal Stereos for a reason you know. If you can’t hear your music properly then buy some better headphones rather than use the useless pair that came with your iPod imitation.