The charming media player Winamp is reinventing itself as a platform-independent mobile audio application that brings together all your music, podcasts and streaming services in one location. It's an ambitious re-launch, but the company behind it says it's still the Winamp global community of millions of people, and as proof, the original desktop application is also receiving an official update.
For those who do not & # 39; Remember: Winamp was the preferred MP3 player by the end of the century, but it went through a difficult period during the ownership of Aol (our former parent company) and could not counter iTunes as the onslaught of streaming services, and more or More Less fell apart over the years. The original application, which was last updated in 2013, still works, but to say that it is long in the tooth would be an underestimate (the community has worked hard to keep it updated, however). So it's a pleasure to be able to confirm the rumors that there are substantial updates on the way.
"There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but with a more complete listening experience," said Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy, the company that bought Winamp (or what was left of it) in 2014. "You can listen to MP3s that you can have at home, but also in the cloud, in podcasts, on radio stations, in a playlist that you may have built."
"People want only one experience "he concluded. "I think Winamp is the perfect player to take that to everyone." And we want people to have it on every device. "
Now, I'm also a Winamp user, and although I've been saddened by the drama through which have gone the iconic MP3 player and the team that created it (at the hands of the former parent company of TechCrunch, Aol), I can not say that it has affected me in any real way Winamp 2 and 5 have taken me from Windows 98 SE to 10 without any problem, and the player is docked just to the right of this browser window while I write this. (I use the nucleo_nlog mask).
And although I carry the burden of mocking comments from my colleagues for me player choice, I am far from alone, Winamp has up to one hundred million monthly users, most of which are outside the US This real and committed user base could be a powerful foot in the door for a new platform: the mobile prim But, also with a lot of love for the desk.
"Winamp users are really everywhere, it's a huge number," Saboundjian said. "We have a very strong and important community. But everyone "knows" that Winamp is dead, that we no longer work on that. This is not the case ".
This may not be a surprise for Winamp users who are still connected: after years of rumors, there was an update of the desktop player last month, which comes from version 5.666 to 5.8. It was a pleasant surprise for users who had encountered compatibility problems with Windows 10 but had received the "soon" notice on the website with a large grain of salt.
This kind of thing happens a lot, after all: an old property or application is bought, promises are made and after a few years they vanish. Therefore, a free update, in fact, 5.8 removes all paid options originally offered in the Pro version; Bring a lot of corrections is as if Christmas came before. Or late In any case, it is appreciated.
The official release of the unfiltered version 5.8 will come out this week (the 18th, to be precise), and will not be substantially different from the one we have been using for years or the one that leaked. Only bugfixes and compatibility that should keep this truck relic for a few more years.
The desktop application update is basically a good faith advance payment for the community: Radionomy shows that they are not just running away with the property and slapping the brand on some random adventure. But the real news is Winamp 6, which Saboundjian says will come out in 2019.
"What I see today is that you must jump from one player to another player or aggregator if you want to listen to a radio station, to a" Podcast player if you want to listen to a podcast, for me, this is not the final experience. "It's all audio and you can search one way or another, so why is not everything in one place?
The planned version of Winamp for iOS and Android will be that place, says Saboundjian, "on the desktop," the war is over, "he said, and between the likes of iTunes and web applications, there's not much room to squeeze. But mobile audio is fractured and inconvenient.
While Saboundjian refused to go into the details of what services would be part of the new Winamp or how the application would connect, for example, with its Spotify playlists, its library Google Music, your application of Podcasts, Audible, etc., seemed certain that it would meet the needs he described. There are many ongoing talks, he said, but licenses and agreements are not the main difficulty, and, of course, the release is still a way out. The team has focused on creating a consistent application on all platforms with which you might want to find mobile audio. A highly improved search will also play a role, as it should be, when your media is grouped in one place.
It is not known if you will keep your trademark introduction during installation: "WINAMP". It really hits the butt of the flame. "I certainly hope so.
This lack of detail is a bit frustrating, of course, but I'm not worried about vaporware, I'm worried that other services will insist on the fragmented experience they've created and that It serves their interests better than ours, but if Radionomy can navigate through these difficult waters and deliver a product even a little like what they have described, I will be delighted (and I think there will also be tens of millions more). Well, we will always have the original.