Winamp is a media player for Windows, originally created in 1997 by Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev. The software was one of the first audio players for the MP3 format and played a significant role in the spread of this format in the early period of digital music.
Winamp was particularly known for its customizable user interface, which allowed users to change the player’s appearance through “skins,” and for its support for a wide range of audio and video formats.
Main Winamp Features
Skins: One of the most beloved features of Winamp is the ability to customize the interface through “skins,” which allow you to completely change the appearance of the player.
Plugins: Winamp supports a wide range of plugins that add extra functionality, such as effects audio, visualizations, and integrations with other software.
Formats Supported: In addition to MP3, Winamp supports a wide range of audio formats, including FLAC, OGG, WAV and many others.
Playlists and Library: Winamp offers advanced tools for managing playlists and library music, making it easy to organize even large collections of music.
Early versions of Winamp were fairly simple, but they already offered features such as the creation of playlists and the ability to manage a large library of music files. The program became quickly popular due to its ease of use and light weight, which made it ideal for the less powerful computers of the time.
In 1999, the company Nullsoft, founded by Frankel, was purchased by AOL for about $80 million. Under AOL’s leadership, Winamp continued to develop, adding new features such as support for video playback, synchronization with portable MP3 players, and integration with online music services.
However, with the advent of iTunes and the rise in popularity of streaming services such as Spotify, Winamp’s importance has diminished. In 2013, AOL announced the closure of Winamp’s website and the end of support for the software. But because of the strong community of users and developers, the software has continued to live on in various unofficial forms.
In 2018, Radionomy acquired the rights to Winamp and announced plans to relaunch the software with new features, including the ability to listen to podcasts, online radio stations, and more file formats.
Currently, the most recent version of Winamp on Desktop released in 2022 is 5.9.2. On the official site it is possible to follow the ongoing developments of the “New Winamp” which is becoming more and more similar to currently existing streaming platforms. This “new mode” was launched on April 13 April 2023 as an online service. The platform includes Winamp Player, a music streaming service with plans to integrate with other music platforms such as Spotify and to play local audio files. Another feature of the new platform is “Fanzone”, where artists can upload and license their music for commercial use, and listeners can support artists directly by purchasing benefits, such as early access to new songs or NFT.