Humanities › History & Culture History of the Sony Walkman The Invention and Launch of Portable Music Share Flipboard Email Print Carl Court/Getty Images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated March 03, 2019 According to Sony, "In 1979, an empire in personal portable entertainment was created with the ingenious foresight of Sony Founder and Chief Advisor, the late Masaru Ibuka, and Sony Founder and Honorary Chairman Akio Morita. It began with the invention of the first cassette Walkman TPS-L2 that forever changed the way consumers listen to music." The developers of the first Sony Walkman were Kozo Ohsone, general manager of the Sony Tape Recorder Business Division, and his staff, under the auspices and suggestions of Ibuka and Morita. Introduction of Cassette Tapes, a New Medium In 1963, Philips Electronics designed a new sound recording medium - the cassette tape. Philips patented the new technology in 1965 and made it available free of charge to manufacturers all over the world. Sony and other companies began designing new compact and portable tape recorders and players to take advantage of the cassette tape's smaller size. Sony Pressman = Sony Walkman In 1978, Masaru Ibuka requested that Kozo Ohsone, general manager of the Tape Recorder Business Division, begin work on a stereo version of the Pressman, the small, monaural tape recorder that Sony had launched in 1977. Akio Morita's Reaction to the Modified Pressman "This is the product that will satisfy those young people who want to listen to music all day. They'll take it everywhere with them, and they won't care about record functions. If we put a playback-only headphone stereo like this on the market, it'll be a hit." - Akio Morita, February 1979, Sony Headquarters Sony invented the compact and extremely lightweight H-AIR MDR3 headphones for their new cassette player. At that time, headphones weighed on average between 300 to 400 grams, the H-AIR headphones weighed just 50 grams with comparable sound quality. The name Walkman was a natural progression from Pressman. The Launch of the Sony Walkman On June 22, 1979, the Sony Walkman was launched in Tokyo. Journalists were treated to an unusual press conference. They were taken to Yoyogi (a major park in Tokyo) and given a Walkman to wear. According to Sony, "The journalists listened to an explanation of the Walkman in stereo, while Sony staff members carried out various demonstrations of the product. The tape the journalists were listening to asked them to look at certain demonstrations, including a young man and woman listening to a Walkman while riding on a tandem bicycle." By 1995, total production of Walkman units reached 150 million and over 300 different Walkman models have been produced to date.