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.Advertisement