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Llamas’ Asses to Go Unwhipped as Winamp Shuts Down

For many PC users, the pre-iTunes era was a terrifying, lawless place that made managing your music library and playlists a challenge. One program in particular stood out as a shining beacon of hope amidst a sea of troubles and sneakily bundled Bonzi Buddy add-ons: Winamp. Originally developed by Nullsoft, Winamp was subsequently sold to AOL (TechCrunch‘s parent company) for $80 million. The online music landscape has changed significantly since then, but Winamp was still a fan favorite for many, thanks to its robust feature set, customization options, lightweight demands on system resources, and, of course, its memorable catchphrase.

Unfortunately for many, myself included, the website and all of Winamp’s web services will be shutting down on December 20th and the desktop player will no longer be available for download. Hell, I still use it regularly on my gaming PC at home, because it’s one of the best music players out there. So, download it while you still can and enjoy your musical spoils dating all the way back to when KaZaA was standard-issue on every computer in the land.

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Last year, in an interview with Ars Technica, Winamp’s first general manager, Rob Lord, said he believed that “there’s no reason 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.” Despite AOL’s best efforts – including the 2010 Android release and 2011′s Winamp Sync for Mac – they couldn’t seem to make it work. If you need me, I’ll be pouring out a forty on the curb and listening to Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker on repeat.

Will you miss Winamp? What other iTunes alternatives do you dig? Let us know in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.

[HT: TechCrunch]

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21 comments

  • I’ve been using Winamp for well over 10 years, and it will continue to be the main way I listen to music on my PC. One thing that really helped make it my default play was the fact that it came with a skin that can be minimised enough that it just takes up a long(ish) but thin amount of space at the top of my screen (just slightly bigger than the title bar of my browser, though do remember that they used to be about the same width in ages past) making it easily accessible and non intrusive. I’ve yet to see that anywhere else.

  • I just downloaded it after reading this and I fucking love it. Not only does it bring back memories, but they’ve also made some huge advancements since I’ve tried it last. It loads really fast as it did back in the day. It imports iTunes playlists with no problems at all. This is definitely going in my backup drive because I think I’m going to start using it again. It’s a goddamn keeper.

    I just hope I can save all the skins and skin creator codes in time.

  • I still use classic Winamp regularly! (I was even using it when I saw this article pop up.) This is truly the end of an era…. :( Sad to see my favourite media player stop getting developed.

    But it’s not going anywhere. Not yet. I downloaded a fresh copy of the installer and plan to back it up and keep on using it for as long as it’s compatible with Windows.

  • I use Winamp every single day to listen to music, podcasts, or watch streams of MST3K. Winamp v5.621, to be exact, which even that is a later version than I need. I’ve never had a reason to update and I’ve never had a reason to use a different player. There’s never been anything better for my needs than Winamp.

  • This makes me kinda sad – I have used winamp since I built my very own gaming pc back in ’99 =(.

    I actively use winamp for all my music on all my devices. It may not be the best music player our there, but it always did exactly what I wanted it to. I suppose I will have to back up my installer files for future use or until I find an equally customizable player that works well on windows and andoid, and supports last.fm.

  • Wow. I had no idea. I really loved this back in the day. I stopped using it when I got my first iPod and was forced to use iTunes (and for my phone Zune). And even today, I hate iTunes. There’s like an update every week and it takes me hours from what I was doing to re-install, restart and wait for it to repopulate my songs. Hell, you can’t even get those skins from Deviant Art anymore. Or at least I haven’t looked as of late. But I really liked Winamp’s ability to change the skin and allow for different features to be exposed. Man, remembering all that, makes me want to download it and install my DAWN OF THE DEAD skin.

  • This is disappointing to me. I still use winamp on an old laptop hooked up to my stereo. It’s got the best Android controller app out here in aWARemote.

    People will post comments joking about how Winamp is old and outdated, but currently there is no better solution for controlling a music library via an Android device than Winamp/aWARemote.

    But I guess there’s really no reason to change for now because it works great as-is and the lack of future development doesn’t affect its performance now.

  • Unfortunately, I gave up on Winamp a few years back because it was just driving me nuts – and switched to “MusicBee’. Seriously the best music player I have ever used.

    Created by one guy (I believe), it has a very active community – post a question on the forum and it’s generally answered by one of the mods, or the creator himself, within a few hours.

    Check it out, it’s awesome:
    http://getmusicbee.com/

  • I really really really hope that my shoutcast server and applications i use within winamp will still work. I run a really small streaming station for about 25 listeners for while we all game – I’d hate to have to try and figure out some other random crappy stream. (and i refuse to use cracked SAM broadcaster nor spend the $$$ for it or any of the other way-too-fancy-for-my-needs dj programs)
    Gah! Winamp…my precious…

  • Haven’t used winamp in 10+ years, didn’t even know I was even still around. Never did find out what the deal with the llama was.

    I try not to get misty about nostalgiaware. Forward think

  • It was good for along time I just stopped using it when it went to hell,my friend on the other hand loved it and would have it running and sorting his tons of music and the visuals were cool.