Winamp was once a popular media player used mainly for the purpose of playing music files. It was a favorite MP3 player of many, but it has been long forgotten by people. It used to be really popular, it still is popular among fans but the number of people who use this player has declined. That is why AOL, the parent company which owns Winamp has decided to shut down Winamp and its associated services on December 20, 2013.
There is a petition at change.org in order to save Winamp and make it open source. This would continue the development of Winamp. The old version or the latest version of the software is available for download from the official website. Soon the official website will go down as well. The software will still be hosted at numerous locations around the internet.
VLC Media Player with Winamp Skin
Regardless of whether or not Winamp will be made open source or whether some other company will buy it to continue its development; you can always use VLC Media Player to play your music files. You can use its powerful playlist feature in order to put your music files in a list and play them sequentially, randomly or repeatedly. When you add visualizations to VLC when playing audio, it does give us a Winamp like feel, to a certain extent that is. The thing about the default VLC skin is that the playlist window is available on a separate screen.
The best thing about VLC is the option to change its default skin and make it look a bit like Winamp 5. There exists two themes or skins in the official VLC skins website for configuring VLC to imitate the look of Winamp.
The two skins are titled:
Note: Click on the skin names above to download the skins directly.
Out of the two Winamp skins available for download, this one seems to be the popular one. With just above 120 KB download size, the skin downloads quickly. After you copy the skin to your skins directory, activate VLC skinned mode and change to this skin; you will see your VLC Media Player skinned as:
This skin converts your VLC Media Player to Winamp (not literally, but the looks are quite similar). You get Winamp’s docked player interface with VLC. The docks can be closed individually. The three docks that you get for VLC are the main player area, audio control area and the playlist area.
Main Player Area: The main player area has the standard controls like play, pause, stop, next and previous buttons along with the file progress bar which is draggable. There are also other buttons which allow you to control playback, open files and hide play list. You can also see audio information like time, kbps, KHz and volume level. Too bad the equalizer levels don’t move as the song is being played. It shows the equalizer levels which you can configure. You can also switch this dock to make it appear as a bar which would then take only minimal area on your screen.
Control Area: This area allows you to set the equalizer. You also have the option to turn it off or on. Volume dB is also configurable from this control area. Other than that, other buttons like audio balance bar (left/right audio balance) and loading presets button is not usable and are there for your eyes only.
Playlist Area: The playlist dock allows you to view the files currently playing. You can switch through them easily using this. You can also add files, remove files, add folders, open playlist, save playlist and view media information. The standard play, pause buttons are also here and you can also view time played and time remaining for the song that is currently being played.
These docks can be moved around just like in Winamp. This allows you to easily switch their positions. This skin is highly recommended not only for those who love Winamp but for those who want to play audio music files through VLC Media Player. This is overall a great skin.
This is another Winamp skin for VLC which tries to imitate its look. Switch to this skin if you like something fresh for your player. The skin looks something like this:
There are mainly two regions or docks for this skin. They are:
Main Player Area: The area from where you will be able to control playback. Standard playback buttons along with volume controls and file controls (open file) buttons are there. You can also easily access your VLC preferences or open VLC skin from the dedicated buttons present in this area.
Playlist Area: This is the area where you will find your currently playing songs. You can also add or remove any songs using the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ button found in the right side of this area.
Using this theme, you can also play video files. Open video files and then hit the full screen button present at the main player area to view those video files. The two areas are also un-dockable and can be separated just like in Winamp.