After more than 15 years in existence, the once highly popular media player has is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Winamp will be closing its doors, along with all online service this coming December 20, 2013. You can download the latest version from the official Winamp website before that date and keep using it.
Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes. for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.
As of April 2023, Winamp has now returned as an online service.
Many of our readers would agree that back in the Windows 98 days, Winamp was THE standard music player for your PC. The old Windows Media Player just can’t cut it and other media players back then were too bloated. Winamp was the cool kid back then: it was light, compact, customizable and it worked.
One of the most iconic Winamp characteristic is when you first open the application. You are greeted by a short audio track and it basically summed up over a decade of Winamp:
Winamp… it really whips the llama’s ass
I was always fascinated by that catchphrase and come to think of it I never did bother finding out what its origins were. Random things sometime bring an unexplainable cool factor and this is one of them.
I managed to catch Winamp during its version 2 days where it sported the look as seen in the image above. Functions were divided into small modules which you can stack however you like. For those of us that were still using 800×600 screens then, it was gloriously nifty.
Winamp had another featuring going for it: it allowed skinning. Advanced users can create skins to suit their liking and the skinning community created a great library of skins for everyone to use. As an anime fan and Jpop fan, I was rotating skins on whatever I was feeling back then.
Winamp 5 is so good they skipped a number
Winamp would retain the classic look until the advent of Winamp 5. Nullsoft skipped version 4 with jokes saying that “Winamp 5 is so good they skipped a number” and so on. This new version will also introduce an entirely new look for the media player called Winamp Modern which as it names suggest features an all new UI design. Gone are the flat stacks of windows, the new version brings a future-tech feel to it. The new version also featured alpha channel support for transparency, support for more modern formats including video and ability to dock as a miniature toolbar.
The last incarnation of this player would introduce the Bento skin: a fully integrated media window with everything you need quickly in it. Up until today, this is the primary skin of choice for most people using Winamp. Its clean, sleek and straightforward.
One of the key reasons for Winamp’s success was because of its support for playlists, lightweight operation, and overall user-friendliness. The player supported a wide variety of audio and eventually video formats but ultimately, its playlist functionality topped the reasons why a lot of people love it. But it also had something only later versions of competing software would pick up and that’s the visualization feature. Winamp included multiple libraries of visualizations to add some color to any music that you were playing. DJs were quick to adopt this feature and with multi-monitor support soon entertained gigs with the vast array of trippy visualizations.
As more media players started to modernize and adopt features popularized by Winamp, people didn’t feel the need to install the player. The player has become relegated to a specialized status where a niche fanbase are its only install-base. This is years behind the AOL acquisition where it was reported that corporate politics played a big role in the software’s mismanagement and eventual demise.
All My Feels
I feel really saddened by this news and I feel like the current version of Winamp still has a lot going for it and a lot of things it can improve on. As an avid user of the software, knowing that development is now at a standstill suggests I should go find another player or stick to the one I have which may not bring up concerns now but with multimedia evolving at such a quick and steady pace, its easy to see how the software could immediately become irrelevant as it is now.
Ah Winamp, it was nice knowing you. You did whip the llama’s ass, but now you’re kicking the bucket. I can still remember when my monitor broke down and I craftily managed to navigate to Winamp with my pre-configured global hotkeys. But alas, a new era has dawned and your masters have betrayed you.
I shall miss you my friend. I will keep you installed in my PC and even after you’re gone, we all know that: