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It's a dark, dark day for music lovers and llama appreciators alike; pioneering music software Winamp is set to be killed off on 20 December.

Winamp is, well was, a digital music file player and visualizer for Windows, and its death was made public today by AOL, which bought the software's previous owner Nullsoft in June 1999 for US$80 million in stock.

The news came via a rather unceremonious message posted on the Winamp.com website, as follows:

Winamp.com and associated web services will no longer be available past Dec. 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download … Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

The program has struggled to maintain momentum in the face of Apple's wildly popular music program iTunes, and now streaming rivals like Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody.

In June 2000, Winamp reached a record 25 million registered users, but started a dramatic decline soon after that.

Winamp was first released in 1997, when Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev, formerly students at the University of Utah, integrated their Windows user interface with the Advanced Multimedia Products "AMP" MP3 file playback engine.

There are some rumours floating around that Microsoft is in talks with AOL to purchase Winamp, but nothing has been confirmed at this stage.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan

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