Sony Japan Shuts Down Walkman Production

Sony-WalkmanThe Walkman is dead–at least in Japan. Sony Japan announced on Monday that it had stopped producing the venerable audio cassette player that helped revolutionized the way people listened to music beginning in 1979, when the first Walkman hit the market.

However, despite its demise in its country of origin, the Walkman will continue to be available in the U.S., Europe, and some Asian countries, while its production will continue in China. Taking the place of Walkman in Sony’s hierarchy of music players is the Discman, which, like its soon-to-be extinct predecessor, is also facing oblivion due to the emergence of new and more advanced music players like the now ubiquitous iPod.

The Walkman was developed in 1978 by Sony engineer Nobutoshi Kihara as an answer to company co-chairman Akio Morita’s wish to have an audio gadget that is dedicated to playing rather than recording music. For more than two decades since its release, the Walkman would rule the portable music player market before slowly disappearing into the background with the advent of digital players led by the iPod in the 2000s.