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New book on the birth of the Sony Walkman

Discussion in 'audio' started by left channel, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. left channel

    left channel Prominent Member

    Not just for those of a certain age...

    Just saw this in a local book launch event announcement.
    It's available in Paperback, Kindle, and Google Book formats.

    Personal Stereo
    by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

    When the Sony Walkman debuted in 1979, people were enthralled by the novel experience it offered: immersion in the music of their choice, anytime, anywhere. But the Walkman was also denounced as self-indulgent and antisocial-the quintessential accessory for the "me" generation.

    In Personal Stereo, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow takes us back to the birth of the device, exploring legal battles over credit for its invention, its ambivalent reception in 1980s America, and its lasting effects on social norms and public space. Ranging from postwar Japan to the present, Tuhus-Dubrow tells an illuminating story about our emotional responses to technological change.
  2. HarryB

    HarryB pfm Member

    I have one of the original blue Walkman's. It was about £90 IIRC.

    surely it can't gave been £90 in 1979?
  3. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    It was billed as the $1000 Hi-Fi for $100 in the USA. When it arrived here it cost £99 - at the time the exchange rate was $2 to £1. Rip-Off Britain was alive and well even then.
  4. TPA

    TPA Trade: Tiger Paw

    It wasn't quite as simple as that. In those days, consumer markets were far more isolated than they are today, people travelled less and there was no visibility via a yet to be invented internet. As such manufacturers used to look at markets and pricing in a different way to achieve an overall return.

    Consequently some markets could bear a higher cost than others. Similarly, a US importer would be buying a higher volume than say the UK and would get a better price as a consequence. It's a fairly recent phenomenon for manufacturers to try and harmonise prices which is primarily done in order to prevent cross border sales which distort sales channels.
  5. left channel

    left channel Prominent Member

    All I know is, we looked ridiculous...

    Edit: used new forum feature to swap link with inline image
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  6. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    I take your point but it this price difference was fairly well publicised at the time but as usual manufacturers will charge what they can get away with. It was quite obvious that UK consumers were being fleeced (again) but short of buying one in the US, there was little they could do about it. What struck me at the time was that Sony couldn't even use the 'different voltage argument' with the Walkman.
  7. left channel

    left channel Prominent Member

    Opening section of the book:

    (From the Amazon "Look Inside" website sample.)
  8. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    Which one are you?
  9. left channel

    left channel Prominent Member

    We're conjoined twins. Dual headphone jacks do come in handy for us.
  10. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    But not as ridiculous as...

    left channel likes this.
  11. Peter Keen

    Peter Keen Active Member


    I shelled out, I think, £100 for this jewel in 1982: http://www.walkmancentral.com/products/wm-7

    It was an astonishing bit of kit in may ways. Auto reverse, logic controls, a remote on the headphone wires and all-metal construction. It's taken a few minutes to recall what became of it, and the sad truth was a litany of bodged repairs to fraying cables, flimsy connections and bent metal door locks etc., that finally resulted in its demise. It was far ahead of the game and, from what I can recount, only really surpassed by the legendary WM Pro.A mate acquired one of these in the late 80's and that served ably as his system tape deck for many years. Happy days.....
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
    left channel likes this.
  12. Anh

    Anh Naim ghetto blaster

    I sported one of the better Walkman's (compact alloy body, soft touch buttons etc) in the late 90s with in-ear earphones during my frequent bus rides to work.

    Happy days.
  13. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    I still remember being on an airplane on the tarmac at Heathrow listening to a Walkman, hearing a "zing" in my headsets every second or so. Looking out I saw the huge radar dish rotating at exactly that rate, and yes, the "zing" came exactly as the radar was pointing towards us...
  14. left channel

    left channel Prominent Member

    More Eighties embarrassment! Love it. But having not even visited the UK at that time, I had to look this one up:

    "In 1981, the single 'Wired for Sound' hit No. 4 in the UK and also became Richard's biggest hit in Australia since the early 1960s." [Wikipedia]

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