In the era of music streaming, the Walkman dreams of making a comeback

(ETX Daily Up) – We’ve been talking about the “comeback” of the walkman for a few years. But this one was rather due to a few manufacturers and audiophiles in the grip of nostalgia, than to the behemoths of the sector. But Sony has recently started producing them again. The pinnacle of cool?

For a long time, listening to music was essentially done at home. It was not until Sony’s Walkman, launched in 1979 in the form of a compact cassette player, that it took over public space. But smartphones have gradually replaced pocket “MP3 players” thanks to the advent of online listening platforms. The latter represented 62% of the sector’s global turnover in 2021, according to figures from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. However, Sony seems determined to modernize the old favorite device of music lovers. The Japanese company recently unveiled two new Walkman models, the NW-A306 and the NW-ZX707. These digital music players don’t ride the retro wave, they rely on advanced technologies to offer “high-fidelity” (or “hi-fi”) quality for everyone. Indeed, the general public attaches more and more importance to the quality of the sound they have in their ears. The popularity of streaming platforms for “lossless” (“without degradation”), spatial or high-resolution music illustrates this phenomenon, as does the renewed interest in vinyl.

Sony’s new music players use Edge-AI artificial intelligence and DSEE Ultimate (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) technology to improve music quality. Enough to allow music lovers to enjoy a sound “faithful to the intentions of the artist”, if we are to believe Sony. In the wake of the “K7”

Unlike the walkmans of the 1980s, the NW-A306 and the NW-ZX707 are compatible with Wi-Fi to listen to music online via streaming platforms, or download it. The screen saver of these devices is inspired by the good old audio cassette, in a nod to the Japanese group’s first Walkman model. It must be said that the “K7” has become cool again in recent years, under the impetus of films such as the first two parts of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and series like “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why”. On the other hand, many artists (Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber…) are also releasing their new albums in this format to ride the nostalgic wave. Will digital music players be able to take advantage of this craze for these replicas of a not so distant musical past? It is still too early to tell, although all the conditions are met for them to impose themselves in our digital world. Wired headphones have done well to win over Gen Z with their humble vintage charm. Why not their ancestor, the Walkman?