In 1979, which device was first introduced with the name 'Stowaway' in the UK and 'Soundabout' in the US?
When the Sony Walkman was first released in 1979, it was sold under several names, including 'Soundabout' in the United States, 'Stowaway' in the UK, and 'Freestyle' in Australia and Sweden. Once the device caught on internationally in the early 1980s, Sony started using the name 'Walkman' worldwide.
The Walkman is a series of portable media players manufactured by Sony. Initially, it allowed people to listen to cassettes tapes, before transitioning to CDs, Mini-Discs, and MP3s as technology evolved. The Sony Walkman revolutionised the music industry by making music accessible wherever people go.
Sony developed the Walkman when one of the co-founders wanted to listen to opera on long flights. The Sony Walkman was not an instant success, selling only 3,000 units, which was not enough to make a profit. A new marketing strategy was put in place involving sending employees into the streets armed with Walkmans and sharing the experience of listening with the public by handing them their headphones. The strategy worked, and sales quickly took off.
The Walkman was initially sold in Japan where it remained in high demand for a few months. The devices were eventually available to the international market two months after the initial release.