Winamp is back from the dead

One of the most popular MP3 players of all time is back! Although the active development on Winamp stopped in 2013, the message came in 2018 that the development had started again and after a long period of little news, the Winamp 5.9 release candidate is now available for download (opens in new tab) (via Bleeping Computer) (opens in new tab)).

Winamp 5.9 RC1 Build 9999 comes with a comprehensive changelog starting with porting to Visual Studio 2019, updated libraries, Windows 11 compatibility, codec updates, and much more.

DJ Egg posted the following on the Winamp forum: ‘This is the culmination of 4 years of work since the release of 5.8. Two development teams and a pandemic-induced break in between. To the end user, it may not seem like there are a ton of changes, but the biggest and most difficult part was actually migrating the entire project from VS2008 to VS2019 and getting it all built successfully. The foundation has now been laid and we can now concentrate more on features.’

Judging by that, it looks like there’s some work to be done. There are known issues, including issues with Milkdrop’s visualization feature and older plugins. Some of these should be relatively simple solutions for older .dll files. Other bugs are sure to be revealed as users are testing.

Winamp has a place in the hearts of many PC users. Before the days of streaming services, the MP3 was king. It wasn’t that hard to rip CDs and encode them to MP3. One of the things I loved was the support for lossless codecs, including APE and FLAC, which were not widely supported in the 2000s.

Winamp screenshot

(Image credit: Future)

Who can forget the infamous Napster and other similar piracy tools like Kazaa, Limewire and eMule? It made getting (coughing) MP3s ridiculously easy, and Winamp was arguably the best player out there.

I liked the simple interface, the playlist management and especially the visualizations. For so many years I didn’t feel the need to upgrade my media player, although eventually VLC and Media Player Classic took over my PC for their superior video capabilities.

I’m very happy to see Winamp back active in development. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab this new version. I’m in the mood for some nostalgic llama ass whipping.

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