Sayonara Sony Walkman

Music critics in the broadsheets rejoiced today with the opportunity to write about their childhood musical memories as Sony announced that the Walkman would no longer be in production.

Reading this news today, I actually thought I'd discovered a copy of the paper from ten years ago. Can you believe that after the changes in music distribution we have been involved in over the last decade that people have still been listening to cassettes? Really??

The tragedy here - besides being subjected to tales of broadsheet journos' teenage mix tapes - is actually the story of Sony. Once revered for quality - having given us two iconic forms of media in Betamax and the Walkman - the business has struggled to maintain its dominance in a fast moving digital marketplace. Sony had every opportunity to seize the digital revolution and evolve the Walkman into the position now occupied by Apple with the iPod. However, its attachment to the physical form of media - be it the Beta cassette or the MiniDisc - has been its ultimate downfall.

As nostalgic as the Walkman makes us feel, we cannot mourn its loss. The landscape we now inhabit offers us liberation from the physicality of music. What we have in front of us is infinitely better than the past. Lets remember briefly the joy the Walkman gave us, and move on.

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