Archive for November, 2012

Walkman and then what?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

While the Walkman has become one of the most contagious product of the last few decades, rumors about the next portable player become more and more frequent. According to anonymous sources, leading electronic manufactures, Sony and Panasonic in particular, have been working intensively on the next music portable player.

Nowadays almost every household in Japan, Europe and North America has at least one Walkman. Extremely popular among teenagers and sport people in particular, the Walkman has completely changed the way music is experienced. It has become a more personal phenomenon, nowadays everyone can listen to his or her favourite tunes thanks to this little electronic hardware. Marketing agents have already affirm that the Walkman is one of the most successful and advertised products of the last decades. Everyone wants one, everyone wants to have an impressive personal music tapes collection.

While  health and possible hearing damages have been discussed intensively in the last few months, there is a new aspect of the Walkman debate that has recently emerged. Anonymous sources – like it is often the case in these situations – have claimed that researchers of leading electronic manufacturers, Sony and Panasonic in particular, are working on the next music player. Not much has been added, but it has been said a few times that the outcome of the experiments and researchers is going to be incredible. Though, it appears that the concept of portable player per se it is not going to be completely changed. The focus of the researches, always according to anonymous sources, it is more on the audio support. ‘We are working intensively on new ways to record and play music. Audio cassettes could soon be a thing of the past‘.

Even though all these speculations have not been officially confirmed by neither Sony or Panasonic, they represent a good starting point for the ‘future-of-the-music’ discussion. How will music portable players look like in 10 or 20 years? Would they be so small that they could even be worn as watches, bracelets or armbands? Much has been said, but not much has been confirmed or denied.

What we can do here is use our imagination. After all, who says that all the investments in technology will not actually lead to a completely new way of creating, distributing and listening to music? Who knows, maybe in a few years music will be something abstract, intangible and physical audio supports such as music tapes will only be ‘dusty pieces of junk’.

Maybe one day we will all get to wear a watch that also plays music. Something so small that we could wear it around our wrists or arms. Only time will tell.

[Pictures credits: geek-blog.it; lifewith4boys.com; polkadot.it]

Will the Walkman make us all deaf?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

While the Walkman has officially become one of the most popular accessories ever, health experts alerts: loud volume can cause hearing damage or, in the worst case, even hear loss.

In a previous article we have talked about the ‘Walkman-mania’ that has invaded Asia, Europe and North America. Sony, Panasonic and other leading electronic manufactures came up with one of the most revolutionary projects in the music world. A rather small portable music player that allows users to take music with them when they are on the move. Joggers, dancers, sportmen and sportwomen in particular have said nothing but positive things about the Walkman: ‘it is an amazing invention, because now we can have music with us, no matter what we do, no matter where we are. It is much more fun to go for a nice run while enjoying some good tracks‘.

Sony and its ‘companions’ have often used dancers, joggers and sports in their promotional campaigns as well. Check, for example, the image printed on the front of this Sony Walkman pack:

Sales in the electronic market have sky-rocketed, everyone wants to have a Walkman. It was not so long ago that images of the long queues out of electronic stores were one of the main stories in television news. However, the extraordinary portable music player has recently been topic of debate also in less appealing and positive contexts.

Health experts started to study the gadget and they came up with a rather worrying conclusion: loud volume in the Walkman can cause hearing damage or it can even lead, in the worst cases, to hear loss.

The image below shows other kind of noises noises that could cause hearing damages:

Indeed, the Walkman can represent a health threat, if users listen to music with a too-loud volume. However, its manufacturers have already emphasised countless times the importance of using the tool properly. ‘Many other innovations such as the radio or the TV can cause health problems if abused or used irresponsibly. Make sure not to listen to the Walkman at a too-loud volume. Plus, do not use it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Take breaks every now and then and let your ears rest’. This comment released by a Sony’s spokeman last week is pretty accurate. Users have to think about their health first and make sure to use the Walkman responsibly. Parents should keep an extra eye on children using it. A few days ago a campaign to raise awareness on the topic was launched and schools throughout the world have been asked to discuss the topic with their students/Walkman consumers.

The debate, however, is far from over. All we can do at the moment is being responsible and use the Walkman wisely. After all, we are talking about possible damages to our own hearing…

[Pictures Credits: looktothestars.org;

kingygraphicdesignhistory.blogspot.com; dailyinfographic.com]