Winamp has released its first release candidate after four years in development, officially bringing the popular media player out of beta.
Before music streaming platforms rose to prominence, we needed to rip our music from CDs and play the resulting MP3 files on a media player.
One of the most beloved media players to play MP3s was Winamp, which included retro skins and animated visualizations that synced with your music.
Winamp ceased development after version 5.666 was released in 2013. That was until October 2018, when Winamp 5.8 was leaked online, and the developers decided to publish it themselves on the Winamp.com website.
Since then, the developers have promised an updated version with cloud streaming support and more modern features. Finally, in November 2021, the Winamp.com website received a facelift with a new logo and a beta signup form to be notified when new versions were released.
Winamp 5.9 RC1 Build 9999 was released, marking it as the first version released in 4 years and as the first release candidate of the revitalized media player.
While the Winamp release candidate does not contain too many changes, the main goal of this release was to upgrade the code base from Visual Studio 2008 to Visual Studio 2019. Now that this has been completed, the team can add new features and capabilities to the media player.
A byproduct of these changes is that Winamp requires Windows 7 SP1 or later, dropping support for Windows XP and Vista, which have long been out of support.
"This is the culmination of 4 years' work since the 5.8 release. Two dev teams, and a pandemic-induced hiatus period inbetween," reads the changelog for Winamp 5.9 RC1 Build 9999.
"To the end-user, it might not seem like there's a whole heap of changes, but the largest and hardest part was actually migrating the entire project from VS2008 to VS2019 and getting it all to build successfully.
"The groundwork has now been laid, and now we can concentrate more on features. Whether fixing/replacing old ones or adding new."