What? Billings Shopper Finds Brand New Walkman Knockoff at Target
When I was a kid, a Walkman was the coolest electronic gadget available. Look, ma! It's portable! I can take my Poison and Motley Crue cassette anywhere. Before there were CDs (and long before the invention of the iPod), cassettes had revolutionized the way we purchased and enjoyed music. Released in 1979 with a retail price tag of $150, the Sony Walkman allowed us to take the tunes anywhere. Millions of units were sold until the company finally discontinued the legendary portable cassette player in 2010.
A knockoff "Walkman" is on the shelf at Target in Billings.
My friend Shane Fichter was just as shocked as I was to learn that portable cassette players are still available. Or maybe this is an example of the world's longest supply chain delay? Were these Jensen cassette players sitting on a cargo ship for the last three decades? Did they find a secret stash somewhere in a long-forgotten warehouse? I have so many questions.
Cassettes are making a comeback.
Sales of audio cassettes peaked in the early 80s and began plummeting when the compact disc became the new standard. In recent years, the humble cassette has seen a resurgence in popularity. Sales of tapes doubled in 2021, from 173,000 to 343,000, and are pacing to grow even more in 2022. Over 200 artists have released music on cassette this year (or will be released by year-end). Perhaps it's nostalgia or just the latest fad, but if you've got a tape collection or an old Walkman lying around, don't throw them out. Apparently, they're popular again. And if you need a portable, retro cassette player, head to the West End Target.