Winamp not yet gone as acquisition becomes likely

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 20, 2013
Updated • Dec 20, 2013
Music, Music and Video

When AOL announced the closure of the Winamp website, media player and the Shoutcast Internet Radio directory back in November 2013, I asked why the company did not make any efforts to sell the brand instead.

Even thought the media player may not be at the height of its game anymore, it is still an established highly popular player and the Winamp name is a recognized brand that goes along with it. And the Shoutcast directory is used by many, both on the web and in third party applications, as a directory for Internet Radio stations.

According to the announcement, AOL planned to shut down all Winamp related services, including the Winamp website and Shoutcast website, as of today, December 20th.

TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL, reports that the shutdown may not happen after all, as AOL appears to be in talks with another -- unnamed company / buyer -- interested in acquiring the brand and all assets that go along with it.

Microsoft was previously named as one potential buyer for the service and its assets, and while Techcrunch could not confirm that it is indeed Microsoft that is in talks to acquire Winamp and Shoutcast, the site noted that its source seemed confident that an acquisition would happen after all.

The source told Techcrunch that the sites would be kept online while talks about the acquisition are undergoing. The most likely explanation here is that the potential buyer wants the websites and services to remain online to avoid any damages caused by a shut down. AOL would certainly be willing to comply with that demand, as it would likely strengthen its position in the negotiation.

We already noted that the shut down has no immediate effect on users of Winamp, as the client version will function just like before. While some features that rely on remote data access may stop working, the majority of features will continue to work just fine.

Downloads remain available on third party download portals, and that is not only true for the application itself, but also for many of the plugins and skins that were created by Winamp fans over the years.

As far as Shoutcast is concerned, a shutdown would not have an immediate effect as well. Other radio directories, Icecast for example, would be used instead by users who rely on directories to find new radio streams.

What if Microsoft is the company that tries to acquire Winamp? How would a media player like Winamp fit into the company portfolio? It is likely that Microsoft is not -- that much -- interested in the music player itself, as Windows Media Player can playback music just fine as well. What Microsoft may be after is the brand, and the Shoutcast directory.

The brand itself has tremendous value as Winamp is still recognized by many as a music player with a long standing history.

What's your take on this? Do you think that Microsoft will make the acquisition, or that another company is after the player and the brand instead. Also, how much do you think all of that is worth, considering that AOL was ready to dump it for nothing.


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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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