When a legend dies, much of the world feels it. But how often is that legend a piece of software? If you were into digital music when the MP3 file format first became popular, chances are good that you crossed paths with Winamp. Chances are even better that you called it home for a number of years. It was as de facto a piece of software as one could get; the Photoshop of music players, if you will.
And now, it's soon to be killed off for good. On the official website, attempting to download the player will issue this warning: "Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download."
The reasons for the closure shouldn't come as much surprise. Winamp doesn't enjoy quite the same audience it once did, and those that do use it tend to stick with the classics, such as 2.x, seen below.
Interestingly, my entire family (aside from me) still uses that exact version. Some of them have tried later versions, such as 5.x, but nothing compares to the ease of the earlier ones. For enthusiasts, Foobar2000 has become a popular choice (it's what I use), and for most everyone else, the PC might not even be the primary source of music listening nowadays, thanks to the popularity of smartphones (and not to mention cloud streaming).
Those who remember the old days of Winamp will undoubtedly vividly recall its tagline: "Winamp, it really whips the Llama's ass." For those who don't recall that, it wasn't just a tagline, it was a sample that came included with the player! No one could miss it. And who else out there had a ball goofing around with Winamp's rich visualizations? Geiss, anyone?
For the ultimate in nostalgia, here's one of Winamp's earliest versions:
I am sure I'm not alone when I say that Nullsoft remains in the hearts of many, and while Winamp didn't enjoy much success in recent years, it goes down as an absolute classic.