Winamp is set for a comeback, you can sign-up for the beta now
The official website of Winamp has been updated. It says that a new version is coming. We have heard this before, so if you are a fan of the classic music player, I'd suggest not getting your hopes up too much.
This isn't the first time the company has teased a new version is "coming soon". It happened in 2016, and later in 2018, shortly after Winamp 5.8 got leaked. But, for fans who were expecting good news, nothing came to fruition with regard to version 6.
Winamp has had a pretty rough journey. AOL acquired the music player from Nullsoft in 1998. That's when it became popular. A decade and a half later, Winamp's ownership changed hands when Belgian online radio aggregator, Radionomy, acquired it in 2014. French media conglomerate, Vivendi, infamous for its hostile takeovers, acquired a majority stake in Radionomy in 2015.
There has been little to no development related to Winamp for quite a while. The music player last received an update in the Winter of 2013, i.e., Winamp version 5.666. A leaked version of the player, Winamp 5.8 beta surfaced in 2018, and was later officially released to the public. Ever since then, there has been barely any word about its development. So it comes as no surprise that its cult following keeps pestering the devs about an update for their beloved music player.
That might change soon, strong emphasis on both might and soon. Bleeping Computer reports that Jeremy Scheppers, Winamp's Head of Product development, said they were excited for the re-launch of the music player. That's pretty cryptic, actually, that tells nothing.
The new Winamp portal, spotted by Vosveteit, says that the next-gen version of the music player will be a remastered one. It also goes on to mention that the program will connect your music wherever you are, including podcasts and radio stations. Fair warning, the website seems to chug, especially while scrolling. The old version of Winamp is available for download near the bottom of the page.
Sign up for the Winamp beta
There is no new version available just yet, but you may opt in to the Winamp beta program to test it when it is released. Did you notice the new Winamp logo in the top corner?
The landing page mentions that artists and creators will be able to release their music, control their content, make money and connect with the fans through the service. The message is clear and obvious, Winamp will offer some sort of streaming service of its own. There are several job listings that outline the company's plans to monetize the service, through ads and sales. And given the location requirements for the postings, the service should be available globally, or at least in the US, Canada, and Europe.
Darren Owen, a former Winamp and SHOUTcast developer, and the current developer of WACUP (Winamp Community Update Project) shared his views on the upcoming version on reddit (u/thedoctor_0). He says that the new Winamp may offer a streaming service, potentially similar to Spotify. The client software might just be web-api wrappers, like Electron. While the official page claims a remastered application is coming, Owen thinks the focus may be on a web-based client, and a mobile app, and not on the desktop program. If true, old Winamp skins may not be compatible with it.
That's an interesting take on the music player from a former developer, or does that sound like a recipe for disaster? A Spotify rival from a radio aggregator does make sense, and so does ads in the stream for monetization, or at least to push users to subscribe to a premium service for the ad-free experience. But none of this sounds like the Winamp we know and love.
I don't think it is fair to judge it before it has been released, so let's keep our fingers crossed and hope it really whips the llama's ass.
there is no reason to even consider using Winamp, with the amount of alternatives that exist, many of which have since their first implementation offered superior features… this is nothing but a nostalgia cashgrab that will most likely be riddled with telemetry spyware and other nonsense that has no place in a music player.
Yeah, I’m curious to see what they will do with it, but nothing will move me away from foobar2000.
I tried other new music players on my Asus laptop, but none beats the sound quality of Winamp (old version).
@Ashray said on November 22, 2021 at 4:38 pm
lol, Mr Ashillray, it’s the same digital data storing the audio information no matter what app one is using, and it’s the hardware, ie the DAC chip on your motherboard or in the audio interface that dose the conversion where after the analog audio signal is sent to some audio amplification circuit which is nothing the app can affect upon with regards to the audio quality.
I’ll believe it when I see it, not that I would use it anymore anyway. Any new version would probably be awful, full of spyware and bloated with useless “features”. Besides I use Media Player Classic for everything, both music and videos.
I share your enthusiasm for Media Player Classic as a great simple, features limited, media player.
Problem I have with it (for a long time now) is that it hard crashes randomly when streaming audio.
I’ve recently started looking for an alternative client for streaming that isn’t a bloated sow-bellied hog of an app. VLC, for all its bloat, doesn’t even have a simple favorites list. What’s up with that?
Anybody here at Ghacks with a suggested client that is simple and light-weight like MPC-HC, but can stream without all the crashes?
Have to agree with you. If it didn’t come back as a community project, why on earth would anyone bring it back with money anymore? I had to move to foobar and I’m more than happy after a short adjusting period.
No thanks. Its going to be some bloated electron trash. Their new web page design is a big sign of this. Resource hungry, laggy and doesn’t scroll right. WACUP is more than enough.
lol yeah they want to copy spotify
Moved on to AIMP a long time ago.
It should had been revived a long time ago. Yes, now there is AIMP for windoze. Definitively this new so called streaming version will be a big gore slop and it will have nothing to do with the golden age of audio players, Winamp, JetAudio, etc.
Hard pass on this. Looks like it will be some bloatware crypto nonsense built in NodeJS. Time to move to WACUP (WinAmp Community Update Project).
When no-one wants to eat your old rotten Winamp potatoe, distribute it as “leaked” to give it more appeal. And as “doing a comeback”. Try “limited series” too.
And Vivendi property now ? Time to quarantine it.
But something has changed, now even some people in the VLC team seem to consider that media players are not to be considered as such as much as instead portals for media discovery and distribution, with the old evil actors having the competitive advantage of being friends with the evil copyright industry. Surely those will try to champion a tightly controlled corporate malware to become the gatekeeper of access to media, a bit like with access to the web.
Dear God why won’t you just DIE already.
Too little too late, there’s already AIMP
Too late, I have moved on from using local mp3s and now only listen to music to Spotify or YouTube.
Used to love Winamp. Back in the day it was the best of the best.
Then, under one new owner after another, it got silly and bloated. And widely uninstalled.
The promised new iteration looks worse not better. I got excited for a moment, but on reflection I don’t think I’ll bother. Things may have moved on but even these days many of us don’t seek more than the minimum in software to play a digital music collection.
The best music player and library manager was the original MusicMatch–before Yahoo! bought it and, as usual, brought it to ruin. It had all the features that Spotify wishes it could have. Best of luck to Winamp in getting something going. Maybe I’ll give it a look/see at some point, but I expect to be sticking with fb2k.
Still using Winamp 5.666 with the MMD3 skin to enjoy our local music library of over 6000 songs.
It works great on everything from the old (non networked) laptop in the garage still running the original version of XP to our PC’s running the newest version of 10.
“If it works, don’t fix it” is fully applicable here.
Have a look here …
I have been following this one since it was announced some time ago. In fact, WACUP is my main player.
When is WACUP going to achieve a stable release rather than a ‘preview?’ Ever?
I’m curious to see if the new winamp will be any good, I used winamp a lot but then switched to Musicbee which has the same features but a much better interface than winamp version 5.666/5.8.
Lets see if Winamp can beat Musicbee :)