Winamp’s Relaunch Better Bring Back Winamp Skins
The late-nineties media player is making a comeback—but all we want is more skins.
Winamp skins of Bruce Lee and Aerith, via the Internet Archive
First released in 1997, Winamp was the preferred music player for all my carefully-curated, locally-stored music. Whether I downloaded the MP3s from Napster or they came packaged with a CD I bought from FYE in the mall is another story, but the absolute best feature of Winamp was its swappable skins, that made the software look like pretty much whatever you wanted. Skins are what set it apart from other media players of the day, like VLC or Windows Media Player or whatever the hell janky application I was using at the time.
Winamp stopped getting official updates in 2013, leaving it to its fans to keep it alive and updated. But that’s about to change.
On Monday, Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy (the company that bought Winamp in 2014) told TechCrunch that the app that whipped the llama’s ass is coming back in 2019.
“There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience,” Saboundjian said. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built.”
My first thought upon hearing this news was singular: It better still have the skins.
The Internet Archive has a huge repository of more than 5,000 user-created Winamp skins collected by archivist Jason Scott, that anyone can still download for slappin’ onto the old app. In celebration of Winamp coming back, here’s a selection of the best skins we found in that treasure trove.
Lotta anime in here, folks. Whole lot of anime. Including this Angel Beats skin.
Remember “woot?” I have wooted once or twice in my day.
Motherboard managing editor Emanuel Maiberg says it would be “negligent not to include” this skin featuring Sonic the Hedgehog character Knuckles.
“Debbie Does Winamp,” a riff on the pornographic classic Debbie Does Dallas.
This tribute to all-time videogame babe Aerith from Final Fantasy VII was probably in my own Winamp skins rotation.
Wait sorry, I take that back: Thank you Paine from FF-X2 for existing.
Homestar Runner is a classic touchstone of the times, deserving of a place in the Winamp skin canon.
I hope this stan aesthetic never dies—here seen on a skin of Japanese guitarist Uruha.
That's me inside your head (and on this NOFX skin).
I need Bruce Lee’s pecs to sing to me all day.
If you absolutely cannot wait until 2019 to get some of these on your desktop, the browser-based version of Winamp currently supports swappable skins.