Winamp: Feel The Power of Music

Choosing a media player – a music player, to be precise – for a Mac is a no brainer. iTunes is the crowd favorite and has the chops to entertain both an audiophile and the casual listener. Despite becoming bloated and unduly heavy over the years, iTunes is more or less the default audio player for the Mac ecosystem. Even folks who are die hard Windows users and those who don’t own an iOS device also are fans of iTunes.

But as I just alluded to, iTunes is a tad bulky and lacks the advanced features of a full fledged media player. The choice of full blown music players for Mac are pretty thin when compared to any other vertical. Winamp hardly needs an introduction. For more than a decade, it ruled the roost as the popular media player for Windows.

Winamp for Mac is a free download and promises to offer the same powerful featureset it is known for. Is it awesome enough to replace iTunes? Read on to find out!

Getting Started

Import Options

Import Options

A splash screen with a soundbite, hailing the lama makes for a dramatic intro. The annoying voiceover plays only on first launch, so you can breathe easy. Still, in an era when even website banner ads have started to mute music in autoplay mode, this is a bit ridiculous. Right off the bat, Winamp offers to import content from your iTunes app or the music library from your hard disk. If you choose either one (or both) of the choices, the app will also dutifully monitor those folders and keep your music collection updated, making changes when new files are added.

User Interface

Import Status

Import Status

Winamp doesn’t look anything like iTunes. The dark color scheme and minimalistic design are refreshingly cool. Though the app did offer an easy way to import playlists and files at first launch, you can do it later from the Preferences screen. I would have preferred to have the option somewhere easily accessible, either in the menu or the GUI. Apart from these import options you can add albums and tracks by using the Add to Library option.

Ease of Use

User Interface and Song Metadata

User Interface and Song Metadata

Winamp did find tracks real quick and imported them all in a few seconds. A lot of attention is paid to metadata and each one gets its own column too. You can arrange tracks based on any one those. The search box at the top is fairly useful and results show up as soon as you start typing.

A Sample Playlist

A Sample Playlist

Sadly, Winamp is anaemic when it comes to features. The playback was great, but besides being able to shuffle or repeat the tracks, there is hardly anything that you can do. There isn’t even the option to change the preset equalizer modes, let alone an option to create a custom one. You can create, edit and update playlists, but there is nothing ground breaking to report here.

For Android mobile users, Winamp offers a simple way to sync their entire music collection without much of a hassle, over wifi nonetheless. The feature works like a charm, but you will have to have the Winamp for Android version (available for free).

Final Thoughts

Like every other legendary product out there, Winamp has recently started to make itself available for the modern and most happening platforms: Mac and Android. I’ve used Winamp over the years and was enamored by the simple user interface and powerful feature set that could set both a tiny headset and a home theater on fire. Sadly, I started using the Windows Media Player – which has gotten better over the years – to save precious hard disk space.

Personally, I prefer not to replace a stock app that’s bundled with the operating system unless it’s totally useless or a web app version of something similar is available. Without a doubt, Winamp for Mac is nowhere near an iTunes replacement and doesn’t even match the features of its Windows counterpart.

It’s disheartening too see that plugins and skins that are a rage among Windows users are not available yet. And whatever happened to the Shoutcast radio, that lets everyone listen to songs streaming over the Internet for free?

Since this a beta release with a version number of 0.7.2, it’s only reasonable allow them sometime before the features start showing up. So, if you are bored with the iTunes interface or looking for a compelling alternative that doesn’t swamp you with too many features, have a look at Winamp.


Winamp for Mac lets you play all your local music and playlists in an intuitive Winamp look and feel.



Add Yours
  • What about Sonora? I downloaded the beta yesterday and it’s pretty cool

    • Agree. Sonora is what i’ve been looking for and the interface is just gorgeous.

    • Add me to this list as well. Sonora is slick. Winamp is so 10 years ago :)

    • “Require OS X Lion”.
      This is ridiculous.

      • It’s ridiculous people don’t just upgrade.

      • It is not ridiculous that people do not upgrade – particularly to Lion. I have to suffer having Lion on my Air for work and it really is Cr*p. Thank god I have SL on my machines at home. I will never downgrade to Lion.
        Such a shame that this software is Lion only. The slowest uptake OS of any Apple has ever released.

      • Lion isn’t an upgrade; it’s a downgrade… especially if you have critical software that Apple didn’t bother to support (by killing Rosetta). Lion may also be the first step on the road downhill to killing the Mac entirely and replacing it with some iTrivia gadgetry.

      • Yeah, Lion sucks more than a polish hooker. Not even with a plethora of third party apps to modify the system comes Lion even close to Snow Leopard. Or as the Simpsons Comicbook Guy might say: Biggest Downgrade, Ever!

        iTunes started out good but has over the years turned into a bloated whale. Unfortunately there are hardly any viable alternatives. I have gone thru just about every music player on the Mac market and they all suck in different ways.
        However, I understand why since you can’t really create a commercial product while trying to compete with iTunes being free.

      • Indeed, Lion is a bit of a joke. I mean: Launch Pad. Really?!

  • iTunes is a music library software, it’s not just a player. and it’s not bloated at all, most futures are hidden and can be disabled. on Mac it works like a charm

  • you might wanna try it’s beautiful as well

  • Winamp is not Mac like at all. I like Enqueue and Decibel.

  • Man, what’s the point? Aside from syncing with Android, (which is of no interest to me), it doesn’t sound like it has any redeeming qualities. I’m surprised you gave it a 7.

  • Am I the only one who’s never heard of Winamp?

    • No offense, but i’m going to guess you’re about 15? Just asking because Winamp was HUGE in the 90’s, so i figure you’re young.

  • Finally found a replacement for good old Cog app :)

  • How does this deserve a 7/10?

  • One of my favorite player actually, nice cool interface, awesome music power and very easy to use..

  • Switching from Winamp to foobar is a brilliant move. But from Winamp to Windows Media Player?

    I won’t listen to someone who actually did such a stupid thing.

  • Winamp for Mac may be a joke… I haven’t tried it. But since I run Windows 7 all the time on my Mac anyway (in VMware Fusion), I recently installed Winamp (the real one, the Windows version) and a beautiful retro skin called Nucleo_NLog_v2G (most of the WInamp skins are hideous IMHO).

    My logic for doing this is that the VM is sucking up a certain amount of system resources anyway, and is usually sitting there idle (I only use it for testing purposes), so it might as well do something.

    Once you get used to it, Winamp is pretty nice… more powerful (more features) overall than iTunes, I think. Although it pauses (times out) the Internet radio streams about as often as iTunes does… running LastFM in a Mac browser is the only way I can stream music without lots of timeouts (although it has scheduled timeouts once per hour, until you click again.)

  • The only thing I don’t like about OS X is itunes it just plain bad at most of what it does and the rest it very bad at, anything that can replace it can’t be a bad thing but Winamp for Mac is just a itunes with a black coat on and the bad bits removed leaving the very bad bits.
    Why can’t anyone make a music player that works on a Mac