If you had a PC and you listened to MP3s in the late 90s, chances are you managed your playlists with Winamp. Since then, Nullsoft sold Winamp to AOL (the parent company of TechCrunch) for $80 million and online music has changed quite a bit, but there was always something reassuring about the fact that Winamp was still hanging in there. So much for that. Winamp is shutting down. The website and all of Winamp’s web services will shut down on December 20 and the desktop player will no longer be available for download.
Even if you don’t remember Winamp, you may remember the demo MP3 that played when you installed the app: “Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass.”
In an interview with Ars Technica last year, Rob Lord, the first hire at Nullsoft and the first general manager of Winamp said that he believed that “there’s no reason that Winamp couldn’t be in the position that iTunes is in today if not for a few layers of mismanagement by AOL that started immediately upon acquisition.”
While AOL kept Winamp going – it released an Android version in 2010 and Winamp Sync for Mac, including a full player, launched in 2011 – there was never a clear sense of what was going on with the product. The Winamp blog, however, hasn’t been updated for the last year and judging from Ars’ portrait of the company’s fortunes from 2012, it seems like AOL never quite knew what to do with it.
If you still want a copy of Winamp, now is the time to download it and to import those MP3s you downloaded from Napster back in 1999 into it.
Are you going to miss it?