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.It was shelved, then sold to a company that hasn't done much with it. But now:
“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...
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….