Science and Tech


Winamp Shutting Down December 20

AOL is shuttering its jukebox software Winamp on December 20, after 15 years of availability.
Posted at 9:49 AM, Nov 21, 2013

A little bit of Internet history is ready for its swan song. Winamp is shutting down December 20 after 15 years in the music business.

Its website and web services will be closed, and its jukebox software will no longer be available for download. A message on Winamp's site is urging users to get the most recent version while they still can.

The service got its start thanks to then-college students Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev. Their program, which connected Windows to the Advanced Media Products MP3 engine, was one of the first bits of jukebox software that offered playlists and deep customization. (Via Winamp)

Ars Technica reports AOL bought Winamp and its parent company in 1999 for more than $80 million in stock. In more recent years, AOL has released Android and Mac ports of the software.

An exact reason for the shutdown hasn't been given, but insiders say it didn't do well once AOL's corporate inertia took hold. 

PCWorld explains Winamp was never able to compete with more modern, cloud-based music programs.

"As Winamp ruled the days of Napster, iTunes and streaming media services such as Spotify and Pandora control the music scene of today. It was just too niche in today's cross-platform, pay-as-you-go world."

Winamp still makes about $6 million in revenue a year for AOL, according to unofficial estimates; and yes, it still features a range of wacky skins that would give Jony Ive an aneurysm.

With AOL closing up shop it's not known how long third party development will keep up. Plugins that send song info to, for example, might have an unclear future. (Via Youtube / paulnmaxwell  )

You'll be able to keep using your copy of Winamp after December 20, of course. And if you really don't want to see it go, there's a petition going on to make the software open-source.