Once the world’s most popular music player, Winamp is back almost a decade after its final official update. Llama Group, which has been developing its new version all these years, finally decided to turn the classic media player into a full-fledged streaming platform.
“While streaming platforms have made it easier for artists to reach a wider audience, their earnings have remained paltry. This promising streaming revolution has ended up leaving many artists behind. They do not have enough control over how their music is presented and sold,” said Alexander Sabunjian, CEO of Llama Group. To correct this injustice, in his opinion, it is possible only by returning Winamp to the people.
The Winamp media player was released by the American company Nullsoft back in 1997 exclusively for Microsoft Windows computer systems. Initially, it only supported audio files, but later the developers added the ability to play and video.
Back in 1999, the AOL conglomerate decided to buy out Nullsoft after seeing huge potential in the company’s player. And Winamp really quickly became the most popular media player in the world. By 2005, the number of its users exceeded 30 million, in 2006 it exceeded 50 million, and by the end of 2009 it reached 70 million. But with the advent of the era of smartphones and social networks, people have become less and less likely to listen to music through third-party players such as Winamp. And in November 2013, AOL announced the closure of the project. Winamp version 5.666, released on December 12, 2013, is still the last official update to the player.
In 2014 Winamp was acquired from AOL by the Belgian radionomy Group, an Internet radio broadcaster. The Belgians have been promising to restart the iconic media player for several years, but their words remained words for a long time.
The case moved off the ground at the end of last year. In December, Radionomy announced the sale of all of its assets (Targetspot advertising platform and library of digital radio stations) to Azerion. And in January, it was announced that Radionomy was renamed into Llama Group, the main activity of which was the revival and development of Winamp.
Today, the company finally announced the launch of the updated Winamp. It will not be just a media player, but an online platform that combines almost all the aspects of music consumption that have come into vogue in the decade that Winamp was absent.
In the new version of the player, it will be possible to listen not only to music tracks, but also to radio, podcasts and audio books. From platforms like Patreon or Boosty, the creators of the new Winamp borrowed a feature for artists to set up a subscription system for their content. Finally, in addition to Windows, the new Winamp will be compatible with Android and iOS mobile operating systems, as well as web browsers.
But the main competitive advantage of Winamp should be the focus on artists, which Alexander Sabunjian spoke about. Llama Group is ready to give content creators 85% of the revenue generated from paid subscriptions. The share of payouts to artists on streaming sites is usually much lower. So that Apple and Spotify give about 50-53% of their revenue to labels and copyright holders. Compared to sites like Patreon, Winamp charges content creators between 5% and 12% of revenue every month just for keeping their account active. In addition, the service takes commissions for financial transactions, currency conversion and withdrawal of funds. The creators of Winamp have not yet disclosed information about whether they will charge a fee for money transfers.