Sony’s music player has beaten Dolby sound, compact discs and the ubiquitous iPod to come top of the list of “ten most important musical innovations of the last 50 years” published by T3 magazine. Its victory comes in the week that the Walkman celebrated its 30th birthday.
The first Walkman was the blue-and-silver model TPS-L2, which went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979 and started a musical revolution.
Never before had consumers been able to listen to music as they walked down the street, without balancing a tape player on their shoulder.
Within two years of its launch, it had become the must-have gadget around the world, confounding early critics who said it would never take off without a record button.
Kat Hanniford at T3 said: “It changed the way we access music, changed how often we could access music, and changed a generation.”
She said the MP3 digital music format, which came second in the list, and the iPod music player, which came third, would be impossible without the pioneering work of Sony’s Walkman.
The Compact Disc is ranked fourth, followed by Napster the ground-breaking illegal file-sharing site.
Dolby, the British company, which introduced multi-channel sound to cinema, is ranked sixth in the list.
The original Walkman was created for the co-founder of Sony, Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to operas during his frequent plane trips between Japan and the United States.
In Britain the gadget was marketed as the Stowaway and America as the Soundabout but the popularity of the device – one of the world’s first truly global gadgets – meant the name Walkman spread, and before long Sony made sure all were called the same name. Its appeal was helped by the the relatively low price tag of $200.
In ten years Sony sold 50 million units of the device.
It is still a leading portable music player manufacturer, with its latest digital device the X Series acclaimed as one of the best digital video and music devices on the market.
T3’s list of Top Most Important Musical Innovations of the last 50 years:
1. Sony Walkman
2. MP3 format
3. Apple iPod 1st Generation
7. DAB radio
9. Sonos Multi-Room Music System
10. Panasonic Technics DJ deck
Top music invention of the past 50 years
Sony’s music player has beaten Dolby sound, compact discs and the ubiquitous iPod to surge to the top of the list of the “ten most important musical innovations of the last 50 years” published by T3 magazine. Its victory comes in the week that the Walkman celebrated its 30th birthday.
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