Say goodbye to Winamp as AOL shuts down the media player

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Before there was iTunes, there was Winamp: a compact media player developed by Nullsoft.

(Credit: Winamp)

Winamp was first released in 1997 and set itself apart from the crowd with a skinnable interface, as well as its infamous Winamp catchcry every time the software booted up: "it really whips the llama's ass".

With support for a multitude of formats from AAC, MIDI and WAV, Winamp saw its popularity boom in the halcyon days of the late 1990s when MP3 file sharing really took off. The program was small, meaning that it was one of the quickest media players on the market.

Winamp was bought out by AOL in 1999 in a deal worth US$400 million — this also included the acquisition of now-defunct internet radio website Spinner.com. Incidentally, that service was also shut down by AOL in August 2013.

Winamp versions for Android and Mac followed years later after the AOL acquisition, but the media player never again reached the same height of popularity that it had in the late 1990s.

The closure announcement was made on Winamp's website, which read:

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.

Ars Technica confirmed the closure with Geno Yoham, general director of Winamp.

The classic Winamp interface.
(Credit: Softonic)

Nullsoft's relationship with AOL appeared troubled even in 2003 when Gnutella author and Winamp developer Justin Frankel wrote about his struggles on his website. "The company controls the most effective means of self-expression I have," he said. "This is unacceptable to me as an individual; therefore, I must leav (sic)."

"I don't know when it will be, but I'm not going to last much longer. I have nothing but respect for the company — I've just come to realise that it is time to do something different." Frankel left soon after Winamp 5.0 was released in 2003.

According to Ars Technica, Winamp still has millions of users worldwide, while former employees estimate its yearly revenue at US$6 million.

AOL will shut down Winamp on 20 December. Until then, the software is still available for download, alongside a library of thousands of skins.



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UpajO posted a comment   

Now that AOL has officially killed Winamp, I wish they'd release the the source code to the FOSS community. I switched from Windows to Linux several years ago and have been using Audacious, a Winamp-like media player, but it it doesn't quite replace the real and original Winamp.

 

Brent212 posted a comment   
United States

Winamp doesn't need to be updated anymore. As it is, nothing else will ever come close. Sht, nothing's close to what it was 10 years ago.

 

OsielC posted a comment   

Fond memories of skin "42".

 

MinaM posted a comment   
Egypt

found some petition to help keep winamp alive:
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/aol-keep-winamp-alive-or-let-it-go-open-source

 

WilliamW posted a comment   

no dude that sucks. ive always used winamp. this is bull man.

 

PhartatM posted a comment   

Finally, that thing was a heap of trash, full of bugs, and basically legal mal-ware. THANK GOD it will be gone.

VLC is good, never had any problems and it has server setting so I can stream music, nice, plus it's open-source.

But even then, "stagefright -ao /path/to/your/music/file/*.mp3" will play them from the command-line on Android, talk about a non intrusive media-player, it can't even download album art.

Then there is python and plenty of very simple api's that you can use to write your own media player, one could probably whip a script up in under 30 min for a cli player and an hour plus qt for a gui player.

 

SteveJ2 posted a comment   

What amazes me is why AOL is still around.

 

AhmedH2 posted a comment   

GOOD BYE

 

AmitR posted a comment   

im still using it


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