The end of an era: Winamp is shutting down

By James Davey | Posted 155 days ago
Internet Radio
It will be the end of an era for music lovers who got their sound fix on their computers in the late 1990s via a free music player called Winamp.

Winamp this week announced that by Dec. 20, it will no longer make its player available for download and it would be shutting down its services.

" and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date," it said.

"Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years," it added.

Since 1998, Winamp had offered users the ability not only to play their favorite mp3 music files, but also customize the players with skins and plugins. The skins allowed the Winamp players to resemble various items, from iPods to mobile phones.

A report on Ars Technica said former Winamp employees blamed AOL, which acquired original Winamp maker Nullsoft in 1999, for mismanagement.

AOL bought Winamp in June 1999 for over $80 million.The Ars Technica article quoted former Winamp employees as saying Winamp's current revenue is around $6 million annually. It added Winamp has an estimated user base of millions worldwide.

“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,” it quoted Rob Lord, the first hire and first general manager of Winamp, as telling it in 2012.

BREAKING (9:55PM): There is now an online petition to force AOL to make Winamp open source. So far there is just under 1,000 signatures. To add yours, click here.

BREAKING (10:00PM): For those wondering about SHOUTcast and how the closure of Winamp will affect it, some minor words by a SHOUTcast Forum Moderator by the name of Jay.

"Given that there have been releases very recently it would surprise me if SHOUTcast's YP is going anywhere anytime soon"

Read the full forum thread at Winamps forums here. Stay tuned at Broadcasting World for more info.