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.
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.