Music, Tech

’90s MP3 player Winamp is being resurrected

In all its ’90s glory.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Aug 19, 2022

If you grew up in the ’90s, then you are most likely familiar with Winamp, the MP3 player of the decade that was beloved by all. Well, this player just got a major update, and we’re all excited for it.

 

About Winamp

Before the iPod and the iTunes Music Store were popular, in the late ’90s and early 2000s, there was a program called Winamp. People over the age of 30 may recall Winamp as the top music player for those who used Napster, Limewire, and Kazaa to (illegally) download the entire discography of artists to their desktop computers (for legal reasons, this is only a joke).

 

If you are too young to be familiar with any of these terms, it was basically like Spotify, but you had to gather every single song you wanted to listen to as an MP3 file and manually add it to Winamp. It was a labor-intensive process.

 

Of course, Winamp was naturally surpassed by newer software and business models and ultimately forgotten, but it has technically never been defunct, unlike many important Windows 95-era PC apps.

 

The original version of Winamp slowly dwindled down in 2013, and was then shut down by AOL after reports of mismanagement. However, a company called Radionomy acquired what was left of Winamp in late 2014 and kept updating and revising the app until they released a new version in 2018. In 2019, it seemed that this plan had fallen apart, and that a new version of Winamp was no longer in the books.

 

The new version

However, earlier this month, Radionomy announced the release of the latest version of Winamp.

 

The company shared:

“This is the culmination of 4 years’ work since the 5.8 release. Two dev teams, and a pandemic-induced hiatus period in between. To the end-user, it might not seem like there’s a whole heap of changes, but the largest and hardest part was actually migrating the entire project from VS2008 to VS2019 and getting it all to build successfully. The groundwork has now been laid, and now we can concentrate more on features. Whether fixing/replacing old ones or adding new.”

 

It still has the appearance and functionality of a Windows software from the turn of the millennium because the majority of the work done in this build is behind-the-scenes modernization of the codebase.

 

We know that you might be thinking that this is unnecessary—after all, there is enough competition between Spotify, Apple Music, and other music streaming platforms. While Winamp may not be as aesthetically pleasing and algorithmically advanced as Spotify, it still retains the nostalgia factor that may very well help it rise to the top.

 

And secretly, there is something nice in knowing that we may have an app that is not super high tech or somehow suddenly turned into an NFT project.

 

Photo via Winamp