It's not dead! Winamp will continue to whip the llama's ass for the foreseeable future, but under new management.
The legendary MP3 software has been acquired from AOL by Radionomy, less than a month after AOL had planned to shut down Winamp's Website and services. Radionomy also acquired Winamp's Shoutcast Internet radio platform as part of the deal, though the terms were not disclosed.
Radionomy is an Internet radio company that lets users create and monetize their own stations, similar in nature to Shoutcast. The company says it wants to grow its audience by making its online radio network available through Winamp, while promising “new functionalities dedicated to desktop, mobile, car systems, connected devices and all other platforms.”
Still, Radionomy notes that Winamp's support for skins, plug-ins, visualizations and other add-ons will remain intact.
AOL acquired Winamp developer Nullsoft in 1999, and while usage grew for years, the software also became more bloated, and users often had to swat down crapware during the installation process. Winamp faded from relevance as more users turned to iTunes, while Shoutcast has been overshadowed by newer streaming music services such as Pandora and Spotify.
In November, a message on Winamp's Website announced that the software would no longer be available after December 20, but that date came and went as TechCrunch reported a possible sale in the works. Strangely, the shutdown notice still appears on Winamp.com as of this writing.
The odds are slim that Radionomy can turn Winamp back into the cultural powerhouse it once was, so dedicated users can only hope that the software will remain simple and customizable. For Winamp, a dignified death would be better than a new era of bloat. Fingers crossed.