SHOUTcast, what next?

By James | Posted 284 days ago
Feature Article
If you have visited the Winamp and SHOUTcast websites recently, you may have noticed a banner at the top of the page stating that "Winamp.com and associated web services" will be shut down as of December 20, 2013. Yes, unfortunately this includes SHOUTcast.

What this means is that AOL, the current owners of all Winamp and SHOUTcast properties, has made the decision to shut down the website, SHOUTcast services, and all versions of the media player Winamp as well.

Winamp was the go-to program back when it was first released and a lot of years thereafter. The music player had a lot to offer back then, thanks to its great list of features, plug-ins and skins support. 

AOL acquired Nullsoft (original developers of SHOUTcast and Winamp) in 1999 and things started to go downhill from then ever since. Updates were still released for the player, development was slow with SHOUTcast (up until most recently in 2013) and a professional version of Winamp was created to earn revenue, but innovation more or less stopped.

It was clear though that the player was neglected for the most part, and while it did earn AOL some money (Ars Technica mentioned of $6 million annually) the player lost market share and users to other services and programs.
The shutdown won't have an immediate effect on Winamp installations on user systems. The player will work fine for the most part even after the deadline has passed. Updates however won't be released anymore for it, which means that bugs or security issues won't be fixed anymore.

It is uncertain what the SHOUTcast developers will do now that AOL has made their hard work kaput. We may see some possible outcomes such as open sourcing the software, a lead developer taking on the software personally or another company buying it out. Which isn't such a bad idea since SHOUTcast's services actually turned a profit (advertising).

Not only is this shutdown hurting the thousands of broadcasters and millions of listeners, but it is also hurting partnerships. Wavestreaming announced a partnership in early 2012 where James (Owner of Wavestreaming) visited AOL's headquarters in New York where they signed a deal to advertise services on SHOUTcast's website. There is no indication of how the outcome of this partnership will be affected by the takedown.


So what now?


Winamp will cease development and the website will disappear. SHOUTcast's services may or may not die. My guess is that they won't. The development team have been working hard in 2013 to push out new v2.0 DNAS to the public.

Jay, a forum moderator at Winamp's forums, also a developer at radiotoolbox.com said...

"I think it would be shocking if they shutdown the YP, simply because it represents so much traffic. Now, if there is no further development and no further improvement in the YP or SHOUTcast, it doesn't really matter, eventually it will go by the wayside. However, given that there have been releases very recently it would surprise me if SHOUTcast's YP is going anywhere anytime soon."

He mentions a few good points. Yes, if SHOUTcast's YP goes down, developers will find alternative means. Heck, even Jay has made his own streaming media handler (Steamcast). Not to mention the alternatives out there, *cough* Icecast, Flash, Windows etc...

For now, we will see where SHOUTcast and Winamp will be heading. It is still early days, under 24 hours since the announcement by AOL. 

Broadcasting World has contacted both Dr.O (SHOUTcast developer) and AOL in the matter. Stay tuned for more information regarding AOL's decision.


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