Winamp Is Coming Back to Consolidate All Your Audio in a Single App

Headphones, 2017
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After shutting down in 2013, a new version is expected next year that should embody the "legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience."

After seemingly shutting down a half decade ago, Winamp is coming back.

The media player is being updated as a platform-agnostic audio app that brings together all users' digital music libraries, streaming services and podcasts to a single location, according to Winamp's parent company.

Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy, the company that bought Winamp in 2014, told TechCrunch in a recent interview the completely new version is due out net year. He said it will embody the "legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience."

"You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built," he said. "People want one single experience. I think Winamp is the perfect player to bring that to everybody. And we want people to have it on every device."

Winamp formally announced it was shut down in 2013 after 15 years of service, having risen to prominence during the Web 1.0 era as the first MP3 player to gain wide acceptance. In 1999, the software was acquired by AOL for $80 million and counted 60 million users at its peak in 2001. But that dominance did not last, as Apple's iTunes Store soon took over the market, coupled with the tech giant's media players.

Still, Winamp has not actually died over the past years. According to TechCrunch, it still has as many as 100,000 monthly users, mostly outside of the U.S., and the app sees periodic updates.

"Winamp users really are everywhere. It's a huge number," said Saboundjian. "We have a really strong and important community. But everybody 'knows' that Winamp is dead, that we don't work on it any more. This is not the case."

Now, the 6.0 version of Winamp is on its way and Radionomy sees opportunity in mobile audio, with Saboundjian calling the environment "fractured and inconvenient." Although he did not get into specifics of which services would be part of the new Winamp or how it would connect with their content, he was confident it would come together as described.

“What I see today is you have to jump from one player to another player or aggregator if you want to listen to a radio station, to a podcast player if you want to listen to a podcast -- this, to me, is not the final experience,” he said.

In the meantime, Winamp fans will be glad to hear an updated to the current 5.0 version is coming on Thursday. But whether the new version of Winamp will "really whip the llama's ass" as the original app once claimed to do in its trademark installation audio intro remains to be seen.


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