It was a sad day nearly five years ago when the people behind Winamp, the greatest desktop media player ever created (and I'll hear no more about it), announced that the venerable llama-whipping app was going away. But excitement surged just a few months later when a company called Radionomy revealed that it had acquired Winamp and Shoutcast from AOL, and that it would rebuild the app for both desktop and mobile devices.
Nothing actually happened after that, though, and the dream seemed dead—until last month, when a Winamp 5.8 beta leaked online. (The previous version, 5.666, was released in late 2013.) As noted by Neowin, the update was more of a tune-up than an overhaul but it was still fairly significant, with better Windows 10 compatibility, various decoder updates, and "general tweaks, improvements, fixes, and optimizations."
More recently—as in yesterday—Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian told TechCrunch that the Winamp remake is still in the works, and will finally be unveiled to the world in 2019. "There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience," he 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."
It's not clear whether Winamp 6 will be released for PC or just mobile devices. Saboundjian acknowledged that there's not much call for standalone desktop media players anymore, but he also said that a substantial community still exists around the old desktop app and seemed to suggest that the widely-held assumption that Winamp has been abandoned is at least partly responsible for the dropoff in demand.
"Winamp users really are everywhere. It’s a huge number,” he said. “We have a really strong and important community. But everybody ‘knows’ that Winamp is dead, that we don’t work on it any more. This is not the case."
Either way, the official Winamp 5.8 is expected to be out on October 18, and the 5.666 release (along with various skins and plugins) can still be had at winamp.com.