This might not be a big deal to people these days given the widespread support of MP3 audio but back in the 1990s MP3 was only just starting out when we had Pentium CPUs. My computer at the time was a Pentium 120MHz (not GHz) with 16MB RAM and a 1.2GB hard drive to give you some perspective – yes, a computer could operate with those sorts of specifications with Windows 95.
Anyway, if you wanted to playback MP3 files in those days you needed the software to do it as Windows didn’t support it and the main choice to do the job was WinAMP. However, back in those days you could play an MP3 on your computer but not much else given the processing power required to decode the heavily compressed file. These days, CPUs are powerful enough so as to not cause a blip on the performance monitor when you play music.
Sadly, come 20/12/2013 the WinAMP software and services will be no more as AOL prepares to shut things down permanently. Personally, I’ve not used WinAMP at all since the 1990s as there have been other convenient options such as Windows Media Player and iTunes that did the trick but annoying WinAMP has become bloated with extraneous features that could fill your entire screen and terrible memory leakage issues.
However, I reckon we should be thankful for what WinAMP was able to achieve at least as a pioneer in the MP3 audio space. The MP3 audio format itself revolutionised content distribution and paved the way for streamking services such as Spotify which are making traditional music players such as WinAMP redundant.