New Winamp Update Adds Features, Fixes, and (Sigh) Support for “Music NFTs”

If you had asked me in January to make any predictions about what 2022 will bring, I don’t think “some important Winamp player updates” would be on the list. But release candidate version 5.9.1 builds on the foundation laid by the August 5.9 update to fix some bugs and add new features to the revitalized music player. Most of these are simple updates or improvements to existing features, but since it’s 2022, one of the only new features is support for music NFTs.

My rudimentary understanding (gathered mostly from sites like NFT Now, which focus almost exclusively on the supposed pros rather than the cons) is that music NFTs work like image NFTs, except the NFT provides a link to a digital music file instead of a link to a JPG. The benefits, proponents say, are that artists can make more money by creating rarities (releasing singles or limited editions, for example) and taking a cut of second-hand NFT sales that occur among fans.

But being an updated version of a Windows 98-era music player, NFT music support in Winamp is a bit of a detour. People with NFT music libraries will need to export them from whatever platform they use and then import them into Winamp as a .m3u playlist. Winamp provided a video of this process, which we’ve included below.

“The latest version of Winamp allows music fans to connect their Metamask wallet through Brave, Chrome or Firefox to Winamp. It then connects their favorite music NFTs to their proven player,” the company said in a press release provided to Ars. “Winamp supports distributed audio and video files according to the ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards and is launching this new feature for the Ethereum and Polygon/Matic protocols.”

Winamp’s internals, still largely outdated, make downloading and playing NFT music a clumsy and roundabout affair. Video Credit: Winamp

This backdoor process is where Winamp’s current ambitions (creation platform, NFT market) collide with its current shipping product (a music player whose cultural importance peaked under George W. Bush). In order to directly display the web pages needed to download these NFT playlists, according to the release notes, an updated rendering engine would be needed for Winamp’s in-app browser, which is currently based on Internet Explorer 10. .

There’s still a lot to like here for longtime Winamp fans, and it’s good to see that all the modernization work done in the 5.9 update is paying off in the form of faster updates. Among many other fixes, the new version includes a “reduced memory footprint,” increased bandwidth for streaming music, an update to OpenSSL 3.0.5, and several other code, core, and other software updates that Winamp uses to do its job. . Regarding NFT support, Winamp developer Eddy Richman (who goes by the nickname “DJ Egg” on the Winamp forums) wrote that people who don’t want it can remove it, either during the installation process, or after installing Winamp.

Perhaps anticipating that the remaining hardcore Winamp fans wouldn’t have much love for NFTs, Richman also tried to keep comments in the Winamp 5.9.1 release notes thread on the subject.

“Please do not post any NFT rants in this thread,” he wrote.

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