3 ways to recreate the Winamp look and feel on your favorite devices

Three alternatives to go back to the golden days of the early internet.
If this picture gave you flashbacks, you're definitely not young. Justin Pot

Remember Winamp? It was, for many people, the original music player. You could drag a folder full of MP3 files onto the application and it would play them all in order (a relatively new feature in the late ‘90s.) Even if you aren’t nostalgic for this little app, it—or something like it—may still have a place on the computer you use today.

What most people remember about this program, though, are the skins. These changed every aspect of how the player looked and people created thousands of them. You can explore this absolutely unhinged era of design over at the Winamp skin museum, which offers a giant collection of these internet relics. Anyone who used Winamp back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s will, no doubt, be able to find a couple of themes they recognize. Even better: you can click any skin to see it actually function, playing some music and seeing all of the little animations.

It might leave you wondering, however, if you can use these classic Winamp themes on your desktop or laptop for all your music-playing needs. It turns out you can.

For Windows and Linux: Audacious

Go back in time with the Winamp feel. Justin Pot

Audacious is a free and open-source music player. The default interface isn’t like Winamp at all, but you can change that by clicking File > Settings and changing the Interface option inside the Appearance tab to Winamp Classic Interface. This transports you to the three-window interface Winamp was famous for: one for the player, one for the equalizer, and another for the current playlist. You can drag files or folders of music to the playlist, just like back in the day.

[Related: How to stream music all around your house]

The program also offers you a choice of a few Winamp-inspired skins, or you can add any classic skin by downloading it from the Winamp skin museum and dragging it to the player. You’ll have the classic Winamp feel in no time.

At least, you can install skins easily on Linux. As of this writing, Audacious’ Windows version can’t automatically install Winamp skins, which is disappointing, but there’s a workaround. Download the skin, then rename the file so the extension is .ZIP instead of .WSZ. Unzip the file and drag the folder to C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataLocalaudaciousSkins, replacing “USERNAME” with your Windows username. The skin will show up in the Audacious settings, though you may need to restart the application first.

For macOS: reAMP

Get the retro look with all the modern functionality. Justin Pot

Built from the ground up to re-create the classic Winamp experience on macOS, reAMP uses a variation on Winamp’s original look, complete with the famous three-window user interface. There’s a simple tool for importing skins in the settings, too, so you can download anything from the Winamp skin museum and use it in seconds.

Webamp: Classic Winamp In Your Browser

You don’t have to download anything to get the Winamp experience. Justin Pot

If you’d rather not go through the trouble of installing an application, good news: you can use Webamp instead. This website offers a working version of Winamp complete with a few tracks, or you can drag your own music over. There are a few Winamp Classic skins available, or you can drag any skin you’ve downloaded over to see it in action. This is great if you want a quick nostalgia trip.

[Related: Best speakers for music of 2023]

A few people have put the code behind Webamp to good use, too. Winampify, for example, lets you use this interface to play music from your Spotify library if you have a Spotify Premium subscription. Or, if you want to go full weird, Try Andy’s Desk offers an entire fake vintage Windows setup complete with Winamp alongside recreations of Minesweeper, SkiFree, and even the vintage MSPaint.

Windows users have one other choice: the actual Winamp. I tested this, however, and found it lacking on a modern computer. For one thing the user interface was really small on my 4K display. I could get around this by doubling the interface, but even then things felt buggy. The application is receiving updates but most of these are related to NFTs, which doesn’t inspire confidence. Having said that, though, it’s cool that Winamp still exists in some form, and there’s still support for classic themes built in there. But ultimately, if you just want a quick feeling of nostalgia (or to see what you missed out on) it’s probably best to stick with the third-party recreations.