Millennials have experienced Winamp, the legendarily customizable music player as it was the only music player on the desktop at that time. This is one of the apps that helped define the 90s is getting a reboot. Winamp, perhaps the most popular way to listen to music on the computer before iTunes, is getting relaunched as an app.
Winamp was built by Justin Frankel when he was attending the University of Utah and further, it was released in 1997 by software house Nullsoft, Those who don’t remember, Winamp was a popular freeware media player famous for its utilitarian music playback and its wealth of incredible community-made skins. Not only this, Winamp offered more to its listeners than many competitors at the time. There was an equalizer for getting sound just right, easy to use playlists, visualizers which offered psychedelic images loosely in sync with the music, and heavy customization and many more. Winamp skins became a valuable commodity online. Within a year and a half, the program had 15 million downloads.
“There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience,” Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy tells TechCrunch. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built.”
Acquisition by AOL in 2002
AOL bought Nullsoft for $100 million in 1999, and Frankel found uncomfortable while selling as many of the musicians he admired. His clashes with AOL brass became remarkable, with Rolling Stone calling him “the Internet’s greatest punk — and hero” in 2004. Fighting to keep the program nimble amidst growing competition from RealPlayer on one hand and Napster on the other, Winamp struggled with the introduction of video. And as iPods became a generation’s music device of choice, iTunes surged.
In 2013, AOL shut down Winamp.com and said that the software would no longer be available to download. Stuck in Winamp 5.8 since then, what was left of the product was sold to the Belgian Radionomy, which is mostly owned by Vivendi. But old habits die hard—the software maintained a small but passionate fan base through it all.
“Winamp users really are everywhere. It’s a huge number,” says Saboundjian. “We have a really strong and important community. But everybody ‘knows’ that Winamp is dead, that we don’t work on it anymore. This is not the case.”
Source: Popular Mechanics
Winamp Is Now Coming Back in 2019
The charmingly outdated media player Winamp is being reinvented as a platform-agnostic mobile audio app that brings together all your music, podcasts and streaming services to a single location. Essentially, the plan is to update Winamp for both desktop and mobile so that it will be a single, searchable experience for all the audio you consume from different sources.
The 5.8 release of Winamp will be coming this week to fix some bugs and compatibility issues, but the fully revamped version of the app, Winamp 6, should be released sometime in 2019
There are no further details about what this new version of Winamp will look like. Saboundjian also declined to detail which services Winamp would support or how the new version of the app would integrate with things like Apple Music, Spotify, or other audio platforms.
“What I see today is you have to jump from one player to another player or aggregator if you want to listen to a radio station, to a podcast player if you want to listen to a podcast — this, to me, is not the final experience,” Saboundjian says. The app will be on iOS and Android.
What this will look like in the end is hard to say, considering Saboundjian isn’t giving many details. But at least for hardcore users, they will know that there’s a dedicated team out there making sure the llama’s ass stays whipped.