For anyone who used a PC to listen to MP3s in the late 90s and early 2000s, you most probably used Winamp player listen and to manage your playlists. But competitors such as iTunes and Spotify have finally forced Winamp to make the decision to shut down forever as of 20th December. The closure is very final; "Additionally, Winamp Media player will no longer be available for download," we are informed.
Winamp was originally created to organise and play compressed music, a much more challenging task for PC users 15 years ago. There wasn’t a great deal available beyond Windows Media Player or Real Player but none of these could perform as efficiently and slickly as Winamp. If you compare the Mac version of the Winamp installer to the iTunes Mac installer in the present day, the whopping differences between Winamp’s 4.2MB and iTunes 170MB is simply astonishing.
Winamp’s maker Nullsoft was acquired by AOL in 2002, for over $80M in stock. But since the release of the iTunes music store in 2003, its popularity has certainly declined rapidly as reported in detail by Ars Technica. As the team working on Winamp struggled through the years, Winamp finally released Android and Mac versions in 2010 and 2011. Unfortunately for Nullsoft, the program no longer had a leg to stand on with the increasingly popular demands of streaming media players and the fact that every OS platform now comes with its own built-in media player.
“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,” the first general manager of Winamp Rob Lord told Ars in their 2012 interview. After the news of the shutdown was announced on Wednesday, Ars tried to reach out to Doug Serton, AOL’s spokesperson, who “declined to comment beyond the note posted on the site earlier."
If you want a copy of Winamp before it is gone, you have one month left to download the free media player and forever cherish the demo MP3 played when you install it “Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass.”