I probably haven’t used Winamp in a decade, but learning that it’s finally going away for good brought it back to the top of my mind this week.
Winamp wasn’t just my primary digital‐music‐playing‐thing1 — like many people, it was the first thing I ever used to play MP3s.
Yes Junior, back then Windows Media Player was for CDs and WAV files, and iTunes didn’t exist yet.2
What made Winamp so awesome? I could devote a whole post3 to the genius of Winamp skins, and things I’ve been reading (1, 2, 3) overwhelmingly reference the classic “whip the llama’s ass” sound clip — which, in addition to being a neat little branding thing, was permanently imprinted on everyone’s memory by being the first thing that would play after installation.
Those were cool, but my favorite Winamp memory is something a little less… superficial, perhaps? It’s a short piece of writing that long ago was featured on the “About” page of winamp.com:
- Until iTunes for Windows showed me the value in having a library of files. Yeah, I know Winamp has a library feature, but I never used it. ↩
- Oh, and by the way, MP3s were these things people used to listen to before there was YouTube. ↩
- And, shit, I may — Winamp was doing skeumorphics before Apple did skeumorphics before Apple stopped doing skeumorphics. ↩