Walkman Revolutionized Music, Not iPod

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Last Updated: Aug 10, 2016

The Walkman is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week, and looking back at the legacy it has brought to the music industry, you will find out that it was the object that revolutionized music; not the iPod. Most people think the iPod introduced digital music, but looking back when Sony invented the Walkman in 1979, it is actually the other way around.

Here are the digital music trends that the Walkman set:


The Walkman has a button that can lower the music and switch on a mic. This way, the music listener can hear another person if they are in a conversation. Sony co-chairman Akio Morita made this feature, because he believed listening to music in isolation is rude. However, people later on saw their Walkmans as very personal.


IPod was not the trendsetter of the headphone culture; it was the Walkman. The inventors of the headphone thought people might think that those who are using it have hearing problems, so they paid young people to walk around the city streets of Tokyo with their headphones on.


Sometimes, you just want to be alone away from the real world. The Walkman made this happen. Even if you are in a crowded place, you just have to turn on your Walkman, and you will be detached from the world with you and your music.


IPod’s playlist is easier and more convenient, but it was Walkman’s mix tapes that pioneered the My Music feature.


The letter “I” makes things technological, but in 1986, Walkman already made it to the Oxford English Dictionary.


Because of the Walkman, there was a sudden surge of people jogging, working out, and doing other active things.

Music Industry Threat

Online downloads and the iTunes threaten the music industry, but it was the Walkman that first worried the industry with its home recording.


It was the Walkman that truly revolutionized the tech culture in the society, with its innovative features. Now, 35 years later, it is considered a dinosaur in the tech industry. But it should be respected none the less.

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