We’d call it the end of an era, except we didn’t even know the era was still going on until yesterday when Winamp announced that it would be dead by Christmas. The official announcement from the web page that nobody around here knew still existed:
“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.”
Back in the heyday of the Internet, many relied on Winamp as a media player for music. Record companies never much liked it, and when services like iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify started taking the world by storm, most forgot about the once great player. But amazingly enough there are people still using it!
One such person is Slate writer Justin Peters. “I don’t use Winamp out of nostalgia or inertia—I actually like it much, much better than iTunes,” Peters explains. “It’s resource-efficient, it’s customizable — laugh about ‘skins’ all you want, but there’s something to be said for putting design choices in the hands of the end user — and it doesn’t make me feel like it’s always trying to get my credit card number. I’ve got a lot of digital music files, and I’ve organized them in a very personal and completely unintuitive fashion. ITunes rejects my bizarre, free-associative taxonomy. Winamp handles it with aplomb.”
Luckily for Peters and others like him, the player will continue to work. So if you’re still in to Winamp but haven’t checked it out in a while, time is running out.