I had stumbled onto a website today Winamp Skin Museum. This site brought back lots and lots of memories.. Back in the late 90s I had upgraded my computer from a 486 that couldn’t quite play mp3s to on that had some sort of AMD processor in it. I want to think it was an amd K6. The thing that relates to this post is it could process mp3s. THe computer also had a larger hard drive. The old 800 megabyte hard drive and 4 megs of ram just wasn’t enough the older one. I have zip disks still that probably have some of those MP3 files on them but no way to read them now. It for me at the time was the cheaper option than a CD burner and didn’t require me to try to do anything inside the computer with my poor vision. I wanted to but just don’t have the eyesight to safely do it.
At that time I didn’t see the point of MP3s until I discovered Napster and mp3.com. Napster really had a lot of mislabeled stuff but it was quite useful for me to explore some of the more obscure metal that I was slowly starting to like. I believe both of these were were why I started to really get into the more extreme sides of metal music. I still stumble on stuff that I had downloaded then but wasn’t quite ready for at that time.
MP3.com was a good legal source for music. Many bands seemed to learn to post their music on there. One band that stands out that I am 100 percent positive I discovered through MP3.com is the doom/death metal band Poema Arcanus. I had downloaded a bunch of other stuff back then that I have lost. Over time I’ve purchased a lot of stuff I had heard on there.
Winamp was a really good program for it’s time. It was a small and stable program the worked efficiently. The skins were cool although most of them didn’t work too well for me do to my miserable eyesight. There were some with lighter colored text and darker background that worked well for my use case. While a lot of the skins were pretty bad at least there were options to change it to your liking.
Things these days are a far cry from that. Everything is a flat design with poor contrast and lack of feedback. The other thing about current trends is everything seems to be a super bloated pile of shit with minimal features with “upgrades” that take features away. There’s so much wasted space in user interfaces anymore. Not everything uses a touch screen on a tiny screen.
I haven’t found a music player program that I like as much as winamp. I do use Audacious now and it works butt just doesn’t seem as intuitive as winamp was. At least it’s not super bloated. It does play all sorts of audio files but now I have almost everything in flac.