From the Walkman to the Smartphone: The History of Moving Music

The History of Streaming and Portable Music with NZ Compare
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Music has been at the core of humanity’s wellbeing and spirituality since the dawn of time. The key of pianos to the boom of an organ, music has developed and changed throughout history. But it wasn’t until 1979 that you could bring music with you. Up until then, people could only listen to music live or from the radio, which was a bulky device that couldn’t move. 

Let’s take a walk back through the history of portable music… from the Walkman itself to the Airpods.

The Walkman

On July 1 1979, the world was introduced to the first commercially available portable music device. The Walkman. The phenomenon lasted up to two decades and was simply a portable audio cassette player. If you wanted to be considered cool in society, you would grab yourself a Walkman. And even though plenty of brands replicated the device, everyone referred to it as the Walkman.

The Discman

Sony launched the Discman five years after the release of the Walkman. It worked similarly to the Walkman, but took CDs rather than cassettes. However, because of how expensive and cumbersome CDs were at the time, the Discman didn’t earn the same frenzy and popularity as the Walkman. 

The Dawn of the MP3 Player

Did you know that the first version of the MP3 player could only store 6 songs on it… sometimes 12 songs? Can you imagine? In 1997, South Korean company Saehan Information Systems introduced the MP3 player to the world. Samsung quickly tried to compete with the product and launched their own version of the MP3 – the Yepp, which reportedly stood for young, energetic, passionate people. As more and more people took advantage of the digital music world, the Walkman and the Discman slipped away into the past.

The Era of the iPod

Steve Job’s famous line rang true for this unprecedented era of music. “You can store your 

You can fit your whole music library in your pocket,” he said as he introduced the iPod to the world in 2001. This sleek, easy-to-use device changed the game forever, selling close to 600,000 iPods in its first 14 months. With each passing year, Apple released a slightly upgraded version, which the public loved and bought in thousands. 

The Revolution of the Smartphone and Streaming

Many phones had MP3 features built-in to them. This was a popular way of carrying music for a while, and was mainstreamed when the iPhone launched into the world. However it was quite the task to transfer music from the MP3 player to the phone, and to new phones. Within a few more years, apps were introduced to phones, including streaming apps such as spotify, which completely changed the way people listened to music. It eventually led to the discontinuation of the legendary iPod.

With the development of internet speeds, and 3G and 4G, people didn’t have to download music anymore. They could listen to music at any time, with just the click of a button. With the latest high-end phone models, such as the new iPhone 15 and the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, streaming music is now deeply-ingrained into our everyday lives. Many of us listen to tunes while we work at the office, run on the treadmill at the gym, and while we sit on the bus during our morning commute.  

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Headphones, Because Portable Music Could Not Be Without

Headphones and earphones have developed and evolved over the decades, too, along with the growth and change of portable music. We now no longer have to plug a cord into our phones like we used to. From the boom of the noise-cancelling Bose Headphones, to the classic and ever-popular Airpods

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Compare Mobile Plans to Stream Until your Heart's Content

At Mobile Compare, we make it easy for music lovers to compare the different mobile plans available to them. Simply jump onto Mobile Compare and compare the plans together side-by-side to find a deal that will suit you best. Unlimited data? 5G for instant streaming with no buffering? You can find a deal like it for the best price to ensure you are getting the most value out of your hard-earned money so that you can get back to what you love most – listening to tunes.

If you’d prefer to speak to a person, our friendly Auckland-based team are just a free call away, and provide bias-free, obligation-free advice on mobile plans in New Zealand. Just call 0508 226672.

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