Design

These outrageous Winamp skins will bring you back to late '90s graphic art

A flashback to the future as internet pirates saw it in 1998.

For anyone that grew up during the golden age of internet piracy, just the name "Winamp" likely conjures up a lot of images.

Winamp (a portmanteau of Windows and Advanced Multimedia Products), is a free media playback software that rose to prominence in the late 90s. While it was never explicitly designed to play pirated music, it became synonymous with peer-to-peer file sharing.

Using platforms like Limewire and WinMX, users pirated MP3s and amassed their own digital music libraries. Many of them used Winamp to queue, organize, and play those songs after they were downloaded.

25M

About two years after Winamp was released unto the world, it boasted 25 million total users.

Shutterstock

Part of what helped make Winamp iconic was its use of some truly outrageous "skins" that transformed the user interface into a futuristic array of buttons and audio parameters.

The skins ranged in style and often wove design and functionality into one. CGI speakers would move rhythmically while you played back Nelly's "Hot in Here" for the 16th time in 24 hours.

Some skins evoked the design of stereos at the time and featured some pretty meaty "buttons" for pausing and playing tracks.

Other designs evoked... Well we're not sure what, exactly.

And, of course, there were video game themes.

Still whipping the llama's ass

Though the glory days of Winamp may be long gone, our favorite media player still lives on. If you're looking for your daily dose of nostalgia or simply for a functional and fun way to play audio files on your computer (if you still have those), you can download Winamp here.

Share