20 reasons why you’re going to miss Winamp

Winamp Logo

Winamp, one of the world’s first MP3 apps, will no longer be available for download as from 20 December 2013. There was no great fanfare, no popping of champagne corks and no press releases. Winamp just popped a banner on top its download section stating that the end is near. Despite Winamp falling out of favour because of streaming music apps such as Spotify, iTunes and Rdio, it’ll always remain a firm favourite. Back in the late nineties and early 2000s, Winamp was one of the leanest, quickest and most hassle-free music players around. It also paved the way for a lot of software features we take for granted, such as streaming radio, theming (custom skins) and MP3 playback.

It now joins the ranks of well-loved, but past-its-due-date or dead applications such as Netscape Navigator, ICQEncyclopaedia Britannica (killed by Wikipedia) and AOL CD’s. Still, we’re going to miss Winamp, and here’s 20 reasons why it’ll live on in our memory for at least another week.

1. This

2. A crazy selection of custom skins

Winamp Skin


WP skin

3. It’s always been a free download (you can’t even “Go Pro” for US$20 any more)

4. Importing or creating an iTunes library? Winamp does it with less fuss than iTunes itself

5. Winamp will always be an excellent Karaoke machine (it can pull in lyrics from almost any source)

6. One word: SHOUTcast. More words: SHOUTcast is an online media streaming platform created in 1999 which led to the creation of most streaming radio services.

7. It’s one of the leanest media players ever made.

A 500MHz Pentium III is a “required” specification. “Recommend” is a 1.5GHz Pentium IV. Meaning that Winamp can and always will be able to run on any PC.

8. Winamp’s Android app is a feature-rich treat

Winamp app

9. The Winamp community has one of the oldest and most thriving forums around

Because of this, Winamp will probably keep on going for years to come with unofficially supported updates.

10. A groovy selection of visualisers

11. Was one of the first music players to support continuous play

This means that there was no discernible pause between songs, a must for when you were managing the playlist at a party.

12. It was also one of the first players to show artist biographies for audio and video

Winamp auto bio

13. Winamp supports file types most of have never even heard of

WEBM, ASX, M3U, AIF and CDA, Winamp can handle them all. Handy that

14. Want to convert to MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC and MP4 and burn a music CD in one place? Winamp has you covered

And it’s still an easier process than it is with iTunes and Windows Media player.

15. Winamp can shrink into WinShade: perhaps the tiniest media player window in the history of computing


16. It taught most of us what an Equaliser is


17. Winamp has an endless selection of plug-ins

That means it’s pretty easy to have a music player that’s utterly unique (let’s hope that Winamp doesn’t discontinue these).

Plug ins

18. The beautiful, pixelated erotica that is Winamp version 1.0

Winamp 1

19. Those glorious keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl+J, Ctrl+B and Ctrl+V all played a part in teaching us how easy it is to streamline our music playing.

20. Best of all, it’s one of the quickest, most intuitive media players out there

It might only be bested by VLC player.

Winamp: 1997-2013. Never forget.

Winamp skins via Pseudochron, hackerzone, deviantart

Artist bio via PCMag

Winamp 1.0 via Altacast

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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