If it had been years since you had thought about the Winamp audio player, no one would blame you. First released in 1997, Winamp hasn’t changed in years; that is expected to change in 2019, with a new update that overhauls the service to compete with modern streaming services like Spotify. It will bring together podcasts, streaming radio stations and music under one cross-platform application.
Winamp grew during the boom of the MP3 format and by the early 2000s had tens of millions of users, but its influence waned in the years that followed. After being taken over by Radionomy in 2014, Winamp was effectively discontinued, with no significant updates for any of its major platforms from the developers – although the Winamp Community has made a serious effort to maintain its functionality. In 2019, however, Radionomy will be revising all versions of Winamp, including the desktop app.
“There will be a brand new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience,” said Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy, via TechCrunch. “You can listen to MP3s that you might have at home, but also on the cloud, podcasts, streaming radio stations, a playlist that you might have created. “
The new version doesn’t have a launch date beyond a vague ‘2019’, but when it does, we’re told the Winamp experience will be modernized and significantly improved. The main goal of the development team is to bring all digital audio together under one banner. This includes non-musical content such as audiobooks and podcasts.
While Winamp fans await this important update, a significant quality of life update is imminent. It was leaked earlier this year, but will be officially released on October 18 to bring Winamp to version 5.8. It makes the audio player more compatible with Windows 10 and fixes some bugs and issues with the app. It’s more of a taste of what’s to come than anything that will make the app competitive. This is the subject of the update scheduled for next year.
As much as this rollout will include a desktop update, Winamp’s big push is in the mobile space, we’re told. Viewing iOS and Android as fractured environments with many niche and small audio players competing with each other, Winamp sees its potential as the umbrella for bringing everyone’s audio needs together in one app.
In the meantime, these are our favorite music players right now.