Winamp

Just recently it was 20th anniversary of Winamp! And 15th anniversary of Winamp 3. And we managed to find out what really happened to one of the most popular music players. An anonymous Slashdot reader tries to explain what finally happened to Winamp:

AOL planned to discontinue Winamp in November of 2013, but instead sold it to the Belgian online radio service Radionomy. The last update on Winamp’s Twitter account was September of 2015, though it announced that they were looking for a new senior C++ developer. Then in December of 2015 Vivendi Group became that company’s majority shareholder, stirring hopes that the company might one day launch a revamped version of the classic mp3 player from 1997.

So did they? Radionomy’s Winamp page is still showing download links — though they now lead instead to a forum post which says “code licensed to the previous owner” is being removed or replaced. But that post has been updated five times — as recently as last October — with “info about the next Winamp release,” each linking to a thread on Winamp’s forums which offer tantalizing glimpses into a still-ongoing development process. And last October a Winamp dev posted on Twitter that “a Winamp 5.8 public beta release could be imminent,” while the web page at Winamp.com still says “There’s more coming soon,” with a background image of a llama.

“There’s no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition,” their first general manager told Ars Technica in 2012. (Winamp’s developers had been earning $100,000 a month just from $10 shareware checks before AOL acquired the company in 1999 for $100 million.) In May TechRadar wrote that Winamp “is still a great media player…but it now relies on third-party extensions to add features found as standard in more modern players.”

I still remember all the visualizations and custom skins — but does this bring back any memories for anyone else? Leave your thoughts in the comments. And what mp3-playing software are you using today?