RIP Winamp: Best Five Freeware Alternatives

AOL will soon discontinue the Winamp media player, so users need a replacement

Winamp will be soon retired, unless Microsoft buys it, so users who are still running it right now will clearly have no other option than to switch to another media player.

There are countless options out there, but it could actually be really hard to choose an application that has what it takes to replace Winamp.

Truth is, Winamp has a pretty rich feature lineup, so whatever app you choose, it obviously needs to come with themes, plugins, support for the most audio and video formats on the market and plenty of customization options.

And still, this pretty much depends on the user, as some prefer to stick to a rather simple interface, while others go for a modern look that provides quick access to the main features of the media player.

As said, there are plenty of apps out there that could replace Winamp, but we’ve picked five of them to lend you a hand when the moment to abandon the famous media player finally comes. Of course, if you feel like another app should be added to this list, just drop us a line in the comment box after the jump and we’re going to update this article.

1. VLC Media Player

There is absolutely no doubt that VLC Media Player has what it takes to successfully replace Winamp. Mostly focused on video playing, but boasting superior performance for audio playback too, VLC has all the things a Windows user would hope to get from a freeware app.

VLC comes with themes, plugins, a plethora of customization options, and, what’s really important, reduced footprint on system performance.

VLC is available not only on Windows, but also on Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android, and will soon arrive on Windows 8.1 too. Of course, VLC is offered free of charge, so make sure you give it a try when you’re ready to abandon Winamp.

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2. Apple iTunes

Apple’s very own iTunes is more than just a regular media player. iTunes has been designed to help users subscribe to podcasts, play music files, manage the local library, create playlists, and listen to radio stations with minimum effort.

At the same time, it also helps iPhone, iPad, and iPod users synchronize their local libraries with their gadgets, but such a feature doesn’t really count when looking for a Winamp replacement.

If there’s something that you might hate about iTunes, it’s the visual interface. iTunes is far from being an eye-candy app and Apple hasn’t implemented skin support, so you’re stuck with the standard look.

What’s more, iTunes could also slow down your computer a little bit, but it’s still worth a look.

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3. foobar2000

foobar is a very lightweight and simple application that’s currently being used by millions of consumers across the world. Freeware and compatible with all Windows versions on the market, be they 32- or 64-bit, foobar supports the majority of audio formats, including MP3 and AAC.

At the same time, its functionality can be further extended with plugins. It also has customizable looks, keyboard shortcuts support, options to rip audio CDs and Gapless playback.

If there’s one thing that really needs to be praised about foobar is the way it handles system resources. This app is extremely system friendly and it doesn’t affect performance at all.

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4. Clementine

Clementine is a cross-platform audio player that already has a gigantic user base and could successfully replace Winamp.

The application has quite an impressive feature lineup that includes a media library manager and options to create playlists, play audio CDs, and listen to Internet radio stations.

At the same time, it supports the majority of audio formats out there and includes a tag editor, an album cover art downloader, remote control support, tabbed playlists, and a powerful search tool to quickly find the song you’re looking for.

Of course, it’s offered free of charge and has everything you’ll ever need from a multimedia player, including (hold your breath) support for indexing and playing music from cloud storage services such as Dropbox and SkyDrive.

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AIMP is basically a Winamp clone that comes with almost the same features and offers a great audio quality on Windows computers.

Just like AOL’s soon-to-be-retired player, AIMP supports most audio formats out there, works with multiple playlists, packs an audio converter and a powerful tag editor, and boasts support for Internet radio stations.

AIMP is extremely light on system resources and works with basically every single version of Windows on the market, including the newly-released Windows 8.1.

Overall, if you want an app that looks and works just like Winamp, AIMP is the right choice.

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