A classic music player
Music has become an essential part of our lives thanks to audio streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. But it wasn’t always this easy. In the 90s, Nullsoft launched a media player called Winamp. It was a bold move considering that digital audio files were still a novel idea. Regardless, it became a groundbreaking piece of software; it was one of the first programs that allowed you to click and drag MP3 files right from a file sharing network like Napster. Nowadays, it’s easier to discover your music on a freeware app. So, where did Winamp go? And could you even use it today? Read on to see for yourself.
Extensive playback formats
Winamp is in no way a terrible piece of software, but competing music players are miles better.
Winamp eliminates the need for third-party applications to play specific audio files. The player supports playback for a wide array of formats like MPEG-1, MPEG Video, AVI, AAC and WAV. In fact, you can play, import and burn music with audio CDs right in the player – a handy feature if you enjoy collecting discs of your favorite artists. The program also has extendable support for iPods, USBs, Microsoft PlaysForSure and ActiveSync.
Smart Media Library
Winamp may not be as smart as a smartphone or voice assistant, but it has semi-automated features that make your listening experience more personal. For example, it will immediately sync media files from your device to its Media Library database. From there, you can retrieve the cover art of your favorite singles and albums with the Get Album Art tool. Another convenient feature is the Media Monitor. Here, you will find preloaded music blog URLs that offer MP3 files to stream and download. The star-feature, though, is Winamp Remote. Think of it as the prelude to casting devices like Google Home or Amazon Fire TV. With an Internet connection, it allows remote playback for any media file. The controls would either be a web interface, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii or a cellphone.
Stunning Visualization Plug-ins
If you are familiar with Winamp, you would remember Skins. The bitmap files aesthetic display contributed to its popularity even in the early stages of MP3 development. By the 2000s, as many as three thousand designs were available. You could also download skins made by other Winamp users on 1001Skins.com and Skinz.org. It is a creative and interactive way to play music, as the Skin’s display would vary depending on the music you play.
Where can you run this program?
True to its roots, Winamp 5.8 is available on desktops, namely Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Mac OS X 10.6 and above.
Is there a better alternative?
As Winamp took a backseat in music and software, lots of music streaming programs began to emerge. The one that stood out as the most consistent, most straightforward and coolest is Spotify. The audio and video services always offer you a smooth and stable experience as you browse through millions of songs, podcasts and videos on the app.
Winamp could have continued to be an innovative, all-encompassing, yet simple player for desktop users. But, Nullsoft depended too much on playing the file itself rather than making music more accessible and convenient to use.
Should you download it?
Although Winamp can still be downloaded, it’s safer to download apps that have music ready for streaming.
- Straightforward design
- Queue feature
- SHOUTcast feature
- Easy-to-use ‘Now Playing’ interface
- Hard to add multiple songs to one playlist
- 30MB memory footprint
- Lackluster ‘smart’ features