Winamp version 5.9.1 is here, rejoice! The venerable – no, outdated – but reliable media player has received sporadic updates over the decades, but little truly new functionality has appeared (and we users are fine with that). But this new version offers an unexpected and thankfully optional feature: NFT display.
No, this doesn’t just read out the current rating of your various square avatars; NFT-type technology has also been applied to music, offering the possibility of limited releases of digital tracks the way you might have a limited vinyl run. At least that’s the idea – I don’t think it’s quite catching on, and with the cryptocurrency world currently in a mess, it’s hard to blame anyone for refusing to participate in a potentially risky ecosystem.
“Winamp was an important part of the first digital music innovation, when MP3s changed the way we listen to and enjoy music. Now we support the forefront of the next as more and more artists explore web3 and its potential,” said Winamp CEO Alexandre Saboundjian in a press release.
As you may recall, Winamp was bought by Radionomy in 2014 and another attempt to revive the brand was announced in 2018. The idea, Saboundjian told me at the time, was to act as a unifying layer for all the music services out there, so whether you use Apple Music or Spotify or Tidal or all three, you can just open Winamp and select a song or playlist. . However, it opens in a different interface.
That unified experience hasn’t exactly panned out. In fact, the revamped app still counts one equalizer under the “coming soon” features. So it’s a bit odd to hear that a functioning NFT layer arrived first:
The latest version of Winamp allows music fans to link their Metamask wallet to Winamp via Brave, Chrome or Firefox. It then connects their favorite music NFTs to their time-tested player. Winamp supports audio and video files distributed under both ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards and launches this new feature for Ethereum and Polygon/Matic protocols.
To be clear, the legendary new unified player still seems like a distant prospect. It’s the original, old-fashioned player that gets the new feature, alongside a bunch of bug fixes and optimizations. The changes are, as almost always, mentioned in a post on the Winamp forum, followed by fervent thanks from the community and obscure bug reports.
In any case, I’m grateful that this piece of software is still actively maintained. I won’t be using the NFT feature, but it’s just one of many things added in 5.9.1, and once the rest of the Winamp users (there are dozens of them!) go ahead and download it. After all, it really still whips the llamas.