Technology

Winamp is back (again) to play all those MP3s you don’t have

WinampComment deceased! So what it came back! So it’s still dead! And now it’s back once more, as the first candidate for the release of the resurrected Winamp 5.9 is available for download to a new generation that years ago moved from MP3 files to streaming services.

The transition from purchasing music on physical media such as compact discs to distributing it digitally directly to computers and mobile devices has been a bumpy one. Copying CDs or ripping the digital files they contained onto a PC has always been relatively easy, but the small size of MP3 files made digital music files portable and easy to share on the Internet, sparking outcry against piracy. Music sharing apps like Napster, Bearshare, and Limewire have come and gone, but through it all, one application remained a faithful companion for those who had amassed huge collections of MP3s: Winamp, a lightweight but full-featured media player that worked without the bloat of other offerings like Apple’s iTunes or Microsoft’s Windows Media Player.

As the music industry eventually found ways to securely sell music files online and eventually moved to streaming services where users never ended up with thousands of media files stored on one device , the need for a standalone media player like Winamp faded, and after the application changed ownership a few times, active development ended with version 5.666, released in late 2013.

Four years later, in 2018, Winamp 5.8 found its way online, with the developers behind it promising major updates along the way that would add more modern features like cloud streaming, but it would take another four years. before Winamp 5.9 RC1 Build 9999 is finally made available for download via the Winamp Forums. Nostalgia buffs will be happy to see that not much has changed visually with Winamp – you even have the option to use the classic skins upon installation – but under the hood, the codebase has been upgraded from Visual Studio 2008 to Visual Studio 2019. This is an upgrade that will benefit the development team as it begin to introduce new features, but it also means that the new Winamp will require Windows 7 SP1 or later to run. Those of you who still have Windows XP and Vista will need to look for older versions of the llama media player.

a screenshot of WinAmp

Screenshot: Gizmodo

computers have changed a lot since the heyday of Winamp, and although the media player looks the same as when we all paired it with file sharing services decades ago, on a modern desktop with a high screen resolution, Winamp’s playback controls look ridiculously tiny. But the development team knows there’s a lot of work to do to modernize Winamp, and with the successful transition to VS2019, they can get to work adding support for modern digital audio formats and streaming services. streaming, and maybe even some new trippy viewers. once they’ve gone through the release candidate’s bug list and are working on a more polished initial release.

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