Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Blast From The Past

Back in the late 90s/early 2000's, when all the cool kids were using RealPlayer to listen to music on their computers, I was using WinAmp--which went away in 2013.  But now it will be back:
One of the apps that helped define the 90s is getting a reboot. Winamp, perhaps the most popular way to listen to music on the computer before iTunes, is getting relaunched as an app.

“There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience,” says Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy, the company that bought Winamp in 2014, in an interview with TechCrunch. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built.”

Started by software house Nullsoft in 1997, Winamp was built by Justin Frankel while he was attending the University of Utah. Everything about Winamp screamed 90s. Nullsoft was a sarcastic and grunge-y play on Microsoft, and "Winamp" and its llama logo came from outsider musician Wesley Willis' nonsensical declaration that "Winamp really whips the llama's ass!" The program made money on voluntary shareware prompts asking for ten bucks upon opening, which Frankel only put in at the insistence of his parents.

Winamp offered more to its listeners than many competitors at the time. There was an equalizer for getting sound just right, easy to use playlists, visualizers which offered psychedelic images loosely in sync with the music, and heavy customization. Winamp skins became a valuable commodity online. Within a year and a half, the program had 15 million downloads...
It was shelved, then sold to a company that hasn't done much with it.  But now:
The company will be releasing a few updates to 5.8, but Saboundjian is also promising a Winamp 6 by 2019.
It all seemed important at the time.  These days, though, I just use whatever the default player in my operating system is….

1 comment:

Pseudotsuga said...

I have an older version of Apple's Itunes on my computer (probably over 8 years old now). It does everything I want in a player, with playlists, lyrics, etc. Every so often I have to tell Apple that *no*, I do not want to upgrade it, and *yes* I am aware that newer players have bug fixes, security fixes, yadda yadda...but I don't care. The newer ones broke things that didn't need fixing.
I ran WinAmp way back when. I'll take a look at the new one, and see if the functionality matches what I want (and if it's private or secure enough.)