For the 21st century music lovers, being able to hum a tune of their favourite song while it plays through their headphones and that too while in a crowded train, is something that they take for granted. If only they knew the many struggles of our portable music player, its journey from an unassuming transistor to the latest fashionable iPods. The evolution of mankind won’t be as interesting to us as is the evolution of the thing we literally hold dear to our hearts!
On the occasion of ‘CD Player Day’, celebrated by enthusiast on the 1st of October, we bring to you a brief history of evolution of how we listen to our favourite music.
Our story begins in 1954 when the world’s first transistor was produced commercially for music lovers. Named ‘Regency TR-1’, the device found a place in the kitchens, corridors, and offices of thousands. Apart from broadcasting the latest news, the transistor would play melodies that the music lovers could swoon to as they began their day. It was not uncommon to find young men with transistors glued to their ears (yes, it sounds absurd now!) hoping to catch their favourite singer’s love melody as they waited to impress their ladylove with their rendition of the song. The next big thing in the transistor segment was the ‘TR-55’ from the company we now call Sony. Launched in 1955, this gadget’s USP was the portability that it offered.
1976 saw the quintessential Boombox enter the portable music player scene. The streets of many Western countries saw young hipsters carry these around whilst they listened and danced to their rock ‘n’ roll tunes.
The true revolution in the portable music player industry came in 1979 when Sony came with its trademark ‘The Walkman’. The alluring device came with a not so alluring price tag of about $288 when it was released in the U.S. It was among the first portable music players that made use of the now obsolete cassettes to store music. Catch hold of anyone who has lived their teenage years in the late 1970s to early 1980s and you will truly understand the revolution that Walkman brought about.
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Sony again upped the game by producing the ‘Sony Discman’ which used CDs to play music. Although the later generations of the Discman were able to store hardly an hour and a half of music, they were extremely popular.
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The next big thing came in the 2000s with the Apple iPod. The first generation of the iPod was launched in 2001. The subsequent line of iPods were named as ‘iPod Shuffle’, ‘iPod Nano’, ‘iPod Touch’ based on their characteristic features. Other popular music players include the Zune range by Microsoft or the reincarnated Walkman by Sony.
Now that you know the arduous journey that your beloved music player has been through, it is time we respect it more and celebrate its glory by making another playlist of happy songs!