Winamp Shut Down After 16 Years; Tech Community Mourns MP3 Player of Yore

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It's the end of an era. The pioneering desktop MP3 player Winamp, which so many of us grew up playing illegally downloaded tunes on, will soon be no more.

Yes, it is actually still in existence. But won't be as of December 20.


In a world dominated by iTunes, "the first reaction to Winamp's closure might be surprise that it still exists in the first place," says the Wall Street Journal.

That it does. AOL acquired it in 1999, just two years after its creation, and when it was as hot as it gets, with its $80 million purchase of Nullsoft.

The AOL subsidiary has even continued tending to the once-venerable MP3 player, releasing updates and versions for Mac OSX and Android.

Winamp made its announcement as it released its latest, and last, update to Windows. This and other versions will still work after December 20, AOL said.

However, " and associated web services will no longer be available" and "Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download."


Winamp became a ubiquitous piece of software when Napster exploded onto the scene in the late 1990s. Once you got your music, that's what played it.

As popular as it was then, it's that scarce now.

The general consensus among fans today is that they didn't know it was still around. Not shocking, as AOL essentially killed the player a long time ago.

When AOL bought Winamp and music-streaming service Spinner, it aspired to be really big in music, and create within its four walls the next MTV.

But when AOL threw the two companies together, putting Spinner in charge, the lack of guidance and resulting culture clash handicapped both.

Between 2002 and 2007, Winamp was an asset that "AOL knew was valuable but didn't know what the f--k to do with," according to one insider.

AOL made matters worse by insisting that the entities be subservient to AOL's email-internet-portal service - not popular with Winamp's base of fans.

Apple's iPod and iTunes were the final straw.

R.I.P. Winamp. R.I.P.

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