NEW YORK, NY — Winamp, the iTunes predecessor you didn’t realize still existed, is still alive and kicking — for one more month.
AOL announced Wednesday that it will stop supporting the 15-year-old Winamp software, service and website as of Dec. 20.
Winamp was one of the most popular tools for playing MP3s and digital music in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Its popularity coincided with Napster’s explosive growth during that time.
Napster ushered in the digital music era, but the file-sharing program didn’t have a feature allowing users to actually play the songs they downloaded. So the feature-rich Winamp became the go-to media player for music downloads, reaching 25 million users in June 2000.
The Winamp software first introduced digital playlists to millions of users, and people could easily customize the software’s appearance with downloadable “skins.”
One of Winamp’s most peculiar features was a demo track that came with the software that exclaimed: “Winamp. It really whips the llama’s ass!”
AOL bought Winamp maker Nullsoft for $80 million in 1999.
Winamp’s moment in the spotlight faded after Apple released iTunes in 2003. But AOL continued to develop the software, even producing a surprisingly popular Google Play app for Android phones that has been downloaded more than 10 million times.
By David Goldman
™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.