Winamp was a music player first released in 1997, which quickly grew in popularity as one of the best media players for PCs. However, it started to lose steam after a string of poorly-received updates in the early 2000s, and there have been a number of short-lived attempts to revive the project. Winamp is now under active development again, but the latest revival doesn’t sound too similar to the original application.
The original Winamp media player was in development from 1997 to 2013, with v5.666.3516 as the final release. In October 2018, an unfinished build of v5.8 was leaked, and Radionomy (the owner of Winamp, now known as Shoutcast) decided to make it publicly available. More updates were promised, but they never materialized. Now the Winamp website has been redesigned again, promising an “innovative refresh of the world’s most iconic audio player.”
There isn’t much information available right now, but the new project doesn’t sound like a standard music player. One section on the site says it will have “a unique space for creators” that will “connect closely with […] fans and earn a fairer income.” AudioValley, the parent company of Shoutcast and Winamp, says the new Winamp will “become the one-stop platform for audio enthusiasts, which connects creators and consumers of music, podcasts, radio stations, audiobooks, and any other peripheral content.”
The new Winamp sounds more like a new audio streaming platform, similar to Spotify or Pandora, than an update to a music playing application. AudioValley might just be using the Winamp name to generate publicity (like this article) for an audio platform that most people might not care about otherwise, but I’d love to be wrong — there’s definitely a shortage of media players right now that aren’t simple web apps.
If you’re interested to see what the new version will be like, you can apply to the Winamp beta testing team.