Goodbye Winamp! Hello Alternatives

Llama’s Ass must be in peace now. For after 15 years of whipping its ass, Winamp is finally retiring. Yesterday, a message on Winamp Player‘s page was posted

Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media >players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release >notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

Its an end of an era. Its hard to believe that its finally going down. It has gone through so many revisions and updates and still no other music player can come close to what it offers. I remember its earlier days when it was fun to edit and create cool visualisations. The AVS and Milkdrop Plugin were two things which were unique to Winamp and they still are. That starting music file with the message: Winamp. It really whips Illama’s ass. which we were so used to whenever we install Winamp on a new system. Lots of things will change now that its retiring.

For those who want to hangon with Winamp, its latest version was released too with the above announcement. Head over to Winamp.com to download it while it lasts. You can also catch up its previous versions on FileHippo or OldApps/Oldversion. Also if you are feeling nostagic, you can read the complete history of Winamp at Oldversion or Wikipedia.

This is a golden opportunity for other Media Players to speed up their development and launch a viable and usable alternative to Winamp. There are several media players competing for the spot. I am listing here in no particular order of preference. You should give them a try.

  1. Foobar 2000 – Its one of the lightest audio players as of now with plethora of features. It has got a minimal interface and should be able to play any audio file you throw at it. It has got nifty playlist management and file tagging features. But the one issue you might face is the learning curve. Its not like install and get going type of software. You need to spend some amount of time to customise it according to your needs before you start using it.
  2. Clementine – Clementine is a popular media player in Linux community. It has been ported to work with Windows as well. It has a very neat and lightweight interface. It sports a powerful featureset including some unique features like ability to play songs uploaded to Dropbox, Box, Skydrive, Google Drive and Ubuntu One. It also allows you to listen to Internet radio from Grooveshark, Spotify, Last.fm and host of other streaming sites.
  3. Amarok – Amarok is another open source player popular in Linux community which has been ported to Windows platform. It has all the standard features of an audio player but far from being the powerful All in one.
  4. AIMP – AIMP mimics Winamp’s interface. Well to a certain extent. Winamp users will feel familiar with its interface but still a lot lefts to be desired. Like even the basic Repeat function can’t be customised to repeat 1 track or playlist. Media Library is totally separate from the main player which can be a irritation at times. It still is worth trying for its featureset and for its plugin support.
  5. Audacious – Audacious is an open source player forked from XMMS and is platform independent. Its lightweight and fast. Worth a try.
  6. MusicBee – Another Freeware media player with features like CD Ripping, Tag editing, playlist support with party mix feature to mimic a jukebox.
  7. MediaMonkey – This one is the only player which is not completely free. It has a Gold paid version with additional features. Basic player has all the features you would need in a music player like Tagging, Custom playlists, Party Mix feature, Sync with iOS devices, CD Ripping and burning. For $49.95 you get a lifetime license which unlocks additional features like Better CD burning, Improved CD Ripping, Sleep Timer, DLNA Sharing, Smart playlists, Smart search, Audio converter and Automatic Library organiser amongst few.

With the growing popularity of the streaming services like Google Music, Grooveshark, Spotify, Pandora etc, there may be a time soon when you won’t need these Media players. For even now, some people prefer Goole Music Player or Grooveshark for all their needs. Most of us have Portable media players and we seldom listen to them via our laptop or Desktops. But still for someone like me, these are not going out of fashion anytime soon. Winamp truly showed how a media player should have been. And its time someone else takes its place. Waiitng for that to happen soon.

P.S. Some other worthy mentions are jetAudio, Quintessential Media Player, Jajuk Advanced Jukebox, GOM Audio and Nightingale. There are some other alternatives which I might have missed out. Feel free to mention them in the comments. Which media player are you using currently?

Update TechCrunch is reporting that AOL is looking to sell Winamp and Shoutcast to Microsoft. Praying that it happens and it gets another chance to survive.