Sayonara to the Sony Walkman

Last year I wrote a celebratory article to mark the 30th anniversary of the first Sony Walkman going on sale. Today I write with a heavier heart as I bring you the sad news that the last cassette Walkman has left Sony’s Japanese factories.

The company has now revealed that it has not made any new units since April and will not be doing so in the future. In other words, once retailers’ current stock goes, that’s it for the Walkman cassette player in Japan. Conflicting reports suggest the company may license the brand to Chinese manufacturers for sales to customers in developing markets.

The final sales count for the cassette Walkman is around the 220 million mark. The entire range, which included digital music players, has sold 385 million units so far. As a comparison, the iPod range is believed to have hit 260 million in April this year, the point at which the last cassette Walkman was made.

The Walkman range did manage to outsell the iPod range in Japan this August, though that’s partly because of potential iPod buyers waiting for new models.

For memories of the Walkman in more happier times, check out our 30th anniversary piece from last year. And for a complete history of the models, check out Walkman Central, which includes some Sony portable cassette players from before the Walkman brand launched.

All that remains is to compile a 90 minute mixtape to honor the fallen technology. I’ll kick it off with Cliff Richard’s Wired For Sound. What’s your suggestion?