In 1997, along came an new program called Windows Advanced Multimedia Products (WinAMP) that changed it all.
It made audio easy, included visualization, and helped launch the MP3 revolution by making MP3 accessible to non-coders. I installed it on every computer in my high school’s network and it was widely popular for listening to CD’s during classes.
It was the player of the Napster-era and could’ve been so much more. It was bought by AOL and like most things AOL managed, beat into near oblivion.
Today, it continues to exist and apparently the team working on it (which does not include any of the original devs) is focusing on a rebirth by focusing on the Android platform.
Arstechnica’s Cyrus Farivar writes a great piece about the history of Winamp, how AOL squandered it, and how it may return to the forefront of audio software: Winamp’s woes: how the greatest MP3 player undid itself
Even a decade since it’s last major version release, Winamp simple clean design and lack of bloat make it one of the better players available. Let’s hope a version 6.0 arrives in the near future, I’d love nothing more than to ditch iTunes completely.