Change: The only constant

Walkman + 30 years = iPod

Apparently it’s been 32 years since the Walkman was introduced. According to wikipedia (today I am too lazy to search for a reputable source), Sony commenced selling them in 1979.

Last year I had a brief moment of nostalgia for the Walkman, when they retired the cassette version. I suspect I shared that nostalgia with many other people, i.e. those who had the opportunity to watch any of the first 3 eps of Star Wars (the real first 3 eps) in the cinemas the first time around.

It wasn’t just the technology that I was nostalgic for:

  • it was the fashion of the time (epitomised and memorialised in the advertising for walkman + it’s generic equivalents and competitors)
  • and the specialness of either buying a tape (music was expensive way back then) or recording a compliation off the radio (complete with tructuated pre and back announces),
  • the darwinistic selection process for music, based on either the limitations of the media, 60-90 minutes tapes, or the cost

Last night I started compiling music to put on my iPhone (yay for the handy iPhone function) and it started me thinking about time, technology and change.

When you get down to it, iPhone/iPod owners are the Walkman owners of 30 years time. Leaving aside any discussion of exponential growth of technology, media and availability or a hypothesis for this saturation, the advertising is equally reflective of its time and the conspicuous consumption of the item has scalable precedent in the adoption of the Walkman in the 80’s.

Having lived through the predecessor phenomena, I don’t have the ability to view this current phenomenon without appreciating the inherent irony 😉

It’s kind of cool to think the iPod et al owners of now, are the Walkmen owners of 30 years time. In actual fact, if we look at the dates more pedantically, the iPod was first released in 2001 (thank you wikipedia, for supporting my laziness), so we are already 10 years in to the phenomena. If you own and iPhone or an iPod, I guess that makes us the Walkmen owners of 20 years time ?


Graphic created using images sourced from:

TerrorTots: It’s quiet in here…

And what appears to be a greek optical store go figure that.

One Response to “Change: The only constant”
  1. Sailor says:

    Grade A stuff. I’m unuqesintoably in your debt.

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