We owe a lot to Winamp, the first PC music player and one of the most iconic examples of 90s software design. Winamp pioneered features like drag-and-drop playlists and rode the wave of Napster—if AOL hadn’t purchased the software, it might have lived on to deliver more innovations to music fans. But now, it seems that Winamp is finally getting a second chance.
Or a third chance … or maybe this is the fourth chance? It’s getting hard to keep track of Winamp’s history. The software died about 20 years ago but keeps getting resurrected by both official and community-driven projects.
Previous Winamp revivals were doomed to fail. Dedicated music-playing software is still valuable to some people, but most people stream their music. Thing is, there’s something special about today’s Winamp revival. It doesn’t look like a rehash of the same 24-year-old music player, so who knows, maybe it’ll be a success?
— Winamp (@winamp) November 19, 2021
The new Winamp website makes a lot of interesting claims. It says that we should get ready for an “innovative refresh of the world’s most iconic audio player,” and it advertises Winamp as a “unique space for creators.”
But here’s the most interesting line of them all—Winamp tells artists that it will “help you to connect closely with your fans and earn a fairer income from doing what you love.”
The idea of Winamp being profitable is insane, but that seems to be the goal here. So what will Winamp do? Will it return as a streaming service, or will it be a music marketplace, like Bandcamp?
We have no idea. But you can visit the Winamp website to get first in line for the upcoming “Winamp Beta.” We don’t know when this beta will launch (it may never launch), but we’re signed up and excited to try it.