End of an Era: Sony About to Cease Production of the Walkman

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 6.55.00 PMI imagine even the most reluctant tech-users have moved on from cassette tapes.

That’s a good thing, because soon it will be difficult to find a device to play cassette tapes.

Especially a portable one.

Sony has announced that in early 2013, it will stop production of the famous Sony Walkman.

They are still going to produce those 80’s era boom-boxes, with a cassette port available. So if you have an old box of cassettes, you probably can still find a product to play them. But not a Walkman. Those Walkman’s are soon to be history.

Personally this is a wake-up call for me. I have a box of cassette tapes that I used (decades ago) to record my children when they were small. Priceless recordings of alphabet recitations and silly little songs. Those cassettes are fragile. They unravel, they get stuck, and they disintegrate.

Maybe you have treasures on cassettes in your life, too. Even an old mix-tape can hold awesome memories.

End of an era.

And a timely reminder to start transferring these cassettes into digital recordings.

Sounds like a New Year’s Resolution, doesn’t it?


24 thoughts on “End of an Era: Sony About to Cease Production of the Walkman

  1. Oh I remember my first one I had in elementary school listening to Beatles’ White Album and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, and so on, cassets I’d purloined from my mum’s collection. Aye a reminder indeed to convert those silly home-made recordings made in childhood to digital. Wonderful post. 😀

    Autumn Jade

  2. Daniela says:

    And I still remember well when anyone who somehow managed to acquire a walkman and turned up to school with it was the coooooolest kid ever!

  3. At least there’ll be no more winding old audio cassettes back in with a pencil when they get chewed up by the recorder – remember that? 🙂 My brother-in-law, who is packing up to move to the UK, has hundreds (literally) of old LPs (I think you may call them records there?). He has bought a device that records them digitally. I was really fascinated. I had the last of my old VHS tapes, which had a recording of when I appeared on TV in Argentina, transferred to digital a while ago because we can no longer buy VHS recorders new here.

    • I do indeed remember winding them back up with a pencil! How funny. VHS recorders are a think of the past, that is for sure. I have some tapes that I have to transfer to digital. I hope I can do all that converting in 2013. It’s on my very very long ‘to do’ list. 🙂
      You were on TV in Argentina? How cool!!! Was it about the awesome project that you are involved in?

  4. Your idea for a resolution is actually a very good one. All technology advances and if we don’t move with it we could be risking a lot of precious memories (and history..). Cassette tapes, video tapes, old home movies (on real film..!!!), old photographs and negatives, audio tape (reel to reel..), and yes even vinyl “records” should all be converted to digital format. The old tapes stored images and sound magnetically…and we all know what happens to magnetic things when placed in close company with magnetic fields.!! Tape also just normally degrades over time much like the emulsion on film. Records are probably the safest, but they are easily damaged……and there are few opportunities these days to find or purchase a turntable to spin them on. Try to even find a new needle or cartridge for a player or turntable……almost impossible locally. You can still find some to order on the Internet, but who knows what you are getting…..
    This made me start thinking…..(Sorry to hijack your post..!!) Think about this….Consider for a moment the way technology has changed our computer usage in the past decade only…..What about the stuff you have stored digitally. Is it safe? Probably, but it can be corrupted. Remember technology…Stuff you stored a few years back digitally is now almost worthless, because well, how many of us have a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive in our computers?? Or a 3 1/2 inch drive for that matter. Let’s not even mention the older 8 inch drives. I went to an Apple store a couple of days ago. I was shocked. The “now” way of doing things doesn’t even include an optical drive of any sort. So what about all of your movies and music and photos that you convert to digital. CD and DVD drives are disappearing. How will you access your stuff when you can no longer get a computer with a compatible drive?? Even if you still have some of this older technology that you can use…how long will it last?? What happens when your drive fails or your computer needs to be replaced?? Apple says everything is moving toward the “cloud” and flash storage in the machines….no need for drives of any sort…???? So where do we go from here???
    Long term PERMANENT (archival) storage?? What do we use that we can feel certain will still be relevant or even usable in twenty years (or even ten years..!!)

    • You are so so right, Howard. I was busy scanning and ‘backing up’ to discs and then I learned that they are ‘old news’, and I should be converting what I’ve already converted. It’s crazy how fast things move. For a while I was thinking that we would be the only generation who would have to do all this archiving, but now I’m not so sure. People who are now digitally recording their kids may find that that format eventually changes as well, putting them in the same boat as we are in, now.
      I have BOXES of VHS tapes of family things that need to be converted, in addition to the cassette tapes and acres of photos. I’ve started, but the job seems enormous.
      And those cd-like discs that I was using? I learned that they aren’t all that permanent, either.
      I have collected daguerreotypes for years. They are 150+ years old and look GREAT. A bit of Back to the Future. And I will make THAT another blog post! 🙂
      Always thoughtful stuff from you, Howard. 🙂 Happy New Year to you and yours.

  5. My husband and I saw a “radio” in Bed Bath and Beyond that converts old vinyl records to digital. I was kind of shocked at that. Converting tapes would be a good thing. That would make a good post. I don’t even have a tape recorder any more!!!. There might be places that do it for a fee – or maybe a good business idea for someone!! 🙂

  6. I used to have a radio, cassette, cd player/recorder which I used to convert cassettes to CD’s and vice versa. Thieves stole it. I have not been able to replace it. I think that ‘tchistorygal’ may have come up with a business idea.

    • I think there are lot of folks with lots of stuff to convert. We collect and gather songs etc on one medium and then, BANG … they change it to something else! 🙂 Sorry your cool converter thingy got stolen. That’s awful.

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