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The mention of Winamp brings with it waves of nostalgia for those who remember using the media player back when it was one of the premier music and video alternatives to both Apple’s iTunes and Windows’ Media Player. After its most recent release in 2013, it was assumed that the project might have died off after being acquired by Radionomy in 2014, but a new leaked version of the software found online points to a possible resurrection.
Initially developed by Nullsoft in 1997, Winamp found itself in the hands of AOL by 1999 before being sold to Radionomy 15 years later. After the company’s acquisition of the media player, the Winamp website announced that the software would be returning soon with updates, but with no visible progression and a decade and a half with no updates, the community began mourning the possible loss of the player.
While still available to download, the player has been out of date and incompatible with certain modern operating systems, most notably Windows 10. Newly leaked changelogs note that the new software iteration, version 5.8, is set to deliver compatibility with Microsoft’s latest operating systems, in addition to new improvements and bug fixes.
Winamp 5.8 offers support for Windows Audio, bringing full compatibility to both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems. Numerous bugs have also been squashed including memory leaks, the player crashing with specific MP3 ID3v2 tags, and long loading times. The company has also taken the time to update or replace the media player’s various audio decoders.
Potentially most notable is the changelog stating that all Pro functionality within the player has been removed and that “Winamp is now 100-percent freeware again.” This marks the return of the media player from a freemium model that was introduced in 2002 by AOL.
While the leaked bit of software is now available on the internet via an anonymous source, we won’t be linking to it as it has been failing safety checks by virus scanning solutions; this could simply be the result of an incomplete software build or evidence of something more malicious. Radionomy hasn’t made any announcement about Winamp, and we recommend waiting for an official release before downloading any unknown software.