I’ve never owned a Sony Walkman, but did enjoy my childhood and teenage years with cassette tapes and had at least two portable Walkman knock-off’s.
I even experienced peer to peer sharing in its infancy back then. Pupils in primary school regularly exchanged songs on tapes and double-cassette recorders were a must in every home and nearly everyone had a portable cassette player. If you wanted to “download” the latest songs, just have your radio cassette recorder sitting nearby with a blank tape loaded. I also still remember when while listening to the radio (I think 2FM), someone called in to make a song request. As the DJ loaded the record, he of course asked who the request is for and the caller said “So I can record it”
I’d say Sony would have done just as well with its digital players had they not made such a mess with its early players, which did not play MP3.