Winamp has released its last update. The media player has announced that it will be going dark off the Internet in December.
The website, and accompanying web services, will no be longer be available past December 20, 2013. That is what the Winamp website is reading. It also states that there will be no Winamp Media Players available to be downloaded any longer after that time.
So, Winamp is shutting down for good. It was first started back in 1997 by a company called Nullsoft and soon became one of the most prevalent media players for all Windows computers. AOL obtained Nullsoft in 1999 and has retained proprietorship of the company in part since then.
Nullsoft has developed numerous software products including a streaming media format, software installation system and the WASTE messaging and IM platform. Even with all these innovations, Winamp remained the company’s most simple mainstay and had recently worked to release ports to OS X and Android as well as support for Windows 8.
Even through its success, Winamp simply was unable to contend with streaming media services such as Spotify and Pandora. Also, each OS platform comes with a media player built right in and has for some time now. Basically, Winamp and Nullsoft were unable to compete as a third party media player now that those services have all but totally went out the door. Regardless, no official reason has yet been given for the shut down.
It also is not yet clear if any other download sites will be able to transmit a Winamp download when the site is closed.
Winamp became a universal piece of software back when Napster was around in the late 1990’s. When someone downloaded a new .mp3 file, Winamp was the software he or she used to organize them with and also play them on.
It is believed when AOL bought Winamp that AOL was going to be big time in the music scene at that time. The company wanted something to do with music in the 1990’s. But, when AOL put Winamp and the company Spinner together, a lack of guidance and a subsequent culture smash hurt both.
AOL made matters even worse by asserting that each entity be submissive to AOL’s Internet service. This was very unpopular with Winamp’s music fan base. When Apple released the iPod it was thought to be the beginning of the end for Winamp.
However, this may be the biggest shock of all, not only is Winamp still around, it is up and dancing. It was reported to have made about $6 million a year for AOL, and there will be a lot who hate to see it gone from the Internet. It is believed that Winamp still has millions of users all of over the world and a small part of them are in the United States.
One American fan stated they use Winamp all the time. He said he liked it a lot, actually better that anything that Apple made.
Winamp’s shutdown says much about how technology can be vicious in its effectiveness. It is ready at the drop of a hat to get rid of services and applications which fall out of mainstream usage. For whatever reason, Winamp will remain a part of the Internet through history. It was the very first MP3 player for millions and millions of people. That means something to a lot of people.
It will be a melancholy time for a lot of computer music fans when Winamp shuts down for good.
By Kimberly Ruble