Winamp is back after revamp; nostalgia-inducing looks intact

The heritage MP3 player has been updated and is available for download on Winamp forums.

While its turn-of-the-millennia momentum has passed, Winamp can still pride itself on what it says is a “vibrant” community of 80 million active users. Many were delighted when Winamp dropped its latest software update – the first in four years.

Retro-seekers will be glad to see no dramatic changes to how Winamp looks. Still, developers noted a lot of under-the-hood modifications, the most significant of which was migrating the entire project from VS2008 to the VS2019 codebase.

It took two developer teams and “a pandemic-induced hiatus” to accomplish the feat. Acknowledging that “tons more” are to be done, the developers say they will now focus on fixing existing features or adding new ones. It may put Winamp closer to achieving its ultimate goal of building a “remastered” player that will better suit today’s streaming-based consumer needs by offering podcast and radio features.

It was the emergence of music streaming platforms and, before that, fierce competition from iTunes that put Winamp – one of the most downloaded Windows applications in the late 90s and early aughts – behind its golden days.

The music player of choice at the time, Winamp played the most popular formats, including MP3, and was known for its psychedelic visualizers and customizable interface skins. Users would typically rip their files straight from CDs or download them from peer-to-peer sharing networks, which led to outcries over piracy.

Eventually, Winamp’s parent company AOL decided to shut it down in 2013 – but then sold it to a digital audio company Radionomy instead, which in turn closed in 2020. Winamp, however, lives on.

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