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Winamp’s woes: How the greatest MP3 player undid itself (2012) (arstechnica.com)
58 points by artsandsci on July 3, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments

I still use it every day!

Of course this means most of my music is pirated (I tend to buy a physical album and then download a well-ripped or digital copy) but I've found it hard to move to other ways of managing my music.

My own way of organizing and collecting makes sense to me and pretty much no one else, but that's fine since hardly anyone else ever wants to use my computer to play music. I'll use Winamp until it is no longer possible to run on Windows, probably.

While I've surely "pirated" plenty of audio files in my day, I wouldn't say the majority of mine are like that. Most are ripped from the hundreds (no exaggeration) of CDs I bought new and used all through high school and college or purchased from Amazon, etc.

Still, pirated or not, I like having a space on my NAS for my traditional Music/Artist/Album/[track]_[title].mp3 folder structure. Pointing Winamp at it works fine for the majority of my listening at home.

Of course I've come a long way from running an unlicensed Shoutcast station in the early 2000's (it was nice having a friend who worked at a small hosting company who gave me the space to host the server and all the bandwidth I could need to stream to my massive audience of maybe 5 or 6 people at once ;)) but I still love listening to streaming "radio" in the car without any need for subscriptions or any hardware other than my phone. I've been doing it since I had a Palm Treo, but the move from a max data rate of ~256k/sec to LTE has certainly helped.

Only thing I really miss these days in Winamp is a way to cast to Chromecast/Chromecast audio in other parts of the house. Not sure if anyone's hacked together a plugin but I haven't really looked.

> for my traditional Music/Artist/Album/[track]_[title].mp3

For anyone wondering what a good tool to organise your music like this is, for example if you use Winamp or something like MOC, it's a Python tool called "beets"[0] which will rename (or copy, if you choose) your files to a directory structure you specify. It will also talk to Musicbrainz to fill in missing metadata, and has plugins to fetch album art.

[0] http://beets.io/

I'm in the same boat. I worry, though, that the move to streaming means that the days of controlling my own music library are numbered.

How? Streaming is not mandatory and I don't see physical media saying goodbye any time soon, if at all.

People are gonna want collections - be it physical or digital - because that's what humans are like. If the music industry ever switched to streaming only, there'd be a MASSIVE decline in the industry.

Same here.

I wish it was open sourced. That way we could fix the bugs and make sure it runs on newer operating systems.

I stopped using it because it had a slow memory leak. I monitored the process in windows and it grew 4kb every second or so.

But yeah... fun times.

I love(d) winamp... but I run more mac and linux lately.. the android player was about the best audio player out there. I was really sad to see winamp shuttered. I wish it could have been open-sourced/ported, because frankly the competition still isn't great.

Of course, these days I rely more on spotify and pandora, but the winamp streaming ability was always great, and it upset me when more online stations moved away from the generic, usable mp3 streams to more esoteric solutions.

Similar story to me I used winamp in the '90's but then moved to Linux. I've used a few different programs, xmms, Amarok, Audacious. I even used VLC for a while to play MP3's. Not a fan of any of those programs.

Nowadays I use whatever is the Gnome default - Rhythmbox currently.

pirated != space shifting.

Foobar is a better player today, but Winamp was so much fun till 2.xx. They had colour and great interfaces. They were the rock stars at the time of boring sotware UI. Then Winamp 3 and then 5, and AOL and UuUUUgghhhgh!

Nullsoft made some neat software, like NSIS... http://www.1014.org/code/nullsoft/nbeep/ http://www.1014.org/code/nullsoft/nscopy/

Does anyone remember Sonique?

I used Sonique for a bit but I went back to Winamp because Sonique was too sluggish on my PII233/64MB/3GB laptop.

“When you think about what AOL had in early 2000,” he told Ars, “the only thing that they were missing that [would be] essential to today’s media system is a hardware device. They had the number one software for playing [in Winamp], and in theory, although not in practice, the [Time Warner] content library that could have been a pioneer in streaming. And a radio service. It had all the elements. AOL could have been Spotify, it could have been Pandora.”

Winamp was one of my favorite programs. It was really fast, took very little memory and was really easy to use.

Fun fact: the catchphrase "Winamp! It really whips the llama's ass!" was inspired by Wesley Willis.

RIP. A true visionary in the vocal vamp arena and a gem of Chicago's North Side sidewalk synthesizer music scene.

Don't let the byline fool you, this is a rerun from [2012].

Winamp was the only app that kept working after windows crashed:)

On the Mac, if you long for a Winamp-style player, try Vox.

It's simple. They sold themselves to AOL.

Can't people just move on and use AIMP?

Or xmplay. From the guys who made BASS

What's going on at Ars Technica? Between this (a straight-up repeat from 2012 with no obvious reason to bring it back now), and reblogging Jimmy Maher's Digital Antiquarian articles from the same time frame (see https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/06/ibm-pc-history-part-... and http://www.filfre.net/2012/05/the-ibm-pc-part-1/), have they cut their budget for new writing?

Their comment section since last year has devolved into Reddit style one-liners (especially political articles). The articles are really average these days.

The one I'm really worried about is Anandtech, the articles are still excellent but they're so understaffed(A10 chip deep dive was canceled, behind on Mac reviews)

Yes. Ars Technica has changed. I do find their articles are not as good as they used to be. Although, articles from Peter Bright and Kyle Orland are still high quality.

I like their occasional (weekly?) articles on board games. I do not like their movies/series articles that much. Mixed bag on their Cars Technica stuff. However, I find there's too many articles which are only tangentially related to tech or science. Example: the story of the woman that shot her boyfriend while recording a video for their Youtube channel.

Your observation about their comment section is spot on. Comments beyond page 1 are buried.

Ars is far too political I think and they're very lopsided.

>As many of us are busy crafting the perfect playlist for grilling outdoors, most likely such labor is happening on a modern streaming service or within iTunes. But during the last 15 years or so, that wasn't always the case. Today, we resurface our look at the greatest MP3 player that was—Winamp. This piece originally ran on June 24, 2012 (and Winamp finally called it quits in November 2013).

It's Independence Day weekend. They're giving the writers a break, while republishing old stuff to keep the content flowing.

They probably spent too much in two failed redesigns.

So basically, a corporation bought a company they had no idea how to run, ran it into the ground pursuing monetization that worked elsewhere (kind of). This sounds like every acquisition between 97 and 05.

I wonder how many great products were destroyed by the big corporations attempting to fit a square peg in a round hole, and failing every time?

As soon as I became aware of Foobar2000 WinAmp dropped off the radar completely for me.

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