Harken back, if your hippocampus will allow you to, to the days when Napster revolutionized the acquisition of digital music (and served as an early indication of the internet’s collective obsession with cats). Obviously both the need and the desire for a low-resource media player increased dramatically in concurrence, and for the true music geek of the late 1990s/early 2000s, this overwhelmingly meant turning to Nullsoft’s Winamp, known for its plethora of user-made skins, the ease of its playlist-creating, and its general superiority (in my opinion) to the unspectacular Windows Media Player. Oh, and don’t forget the visualizer! My newly teenage self would scoff at offers of hallucinogens, as MMD3 plus the visualizer plus “Midnight in a Perfect World” more than sufficed at satiating my trip proclivities.
Sadly, as ArsTechnica documents pretty extensively here, the acquisition of Nullsoft by AOL in 1999 led to the gradual marginalization of the media player, certainly at a time when they should’ve taken serious strides to appreciate their market and how not only they, but the human race in general just doesn’t like your shitty browser or otherwise software, especially when it’s forcibly bundled. Likewise, but more overarching, the above article talks about a pattern of micromanagement on the part of AOL against Nullsoft, to the point where competition with the likes of a burgeoning iTunes became secondary to internal politics.
Winamp’s existence over the last decade has been mostly casual and unnoteworthy. True to form, a lowly red-shaded banner on their website relays the news without elaboration: Winamp and its associated services will cease to be come December 20. No doubt, some people are wondering what could’ve been. Also, Microsoft may or may not be considering a purchase, but who knows how much truth there is to that at the moment.
Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.
• Winamp: http://www.winamp.com