The music keeps on playing for Winamp and Shoutcast as the AOL-owned music services are now officially under the umbrella of the Brussels-based Internet radio start-up Radionomy. As the world welcomed 2014, news about the possible purchase surfaced, with the buzz made louder when users spotted that DNS entries of Winamp moved to the servers of Radionomy.
AOL originally planned to shut down the two outdated music and media streaming services on Dec. 20, 2013 but there were also reports that a deal was in progress. At first, Microsoft was anticipated as the savior until news broke that Radionomy was the unnamed party that showed interest on Winamp and Shoutcast.
"Digital audio business Radionomy has acquired both the media player and radio platform from AOL. We understand from a reliable source that it is a cash and share deal, worth between $5 million and $10 million, with AOL taking a 12% stake of Radionomy in the process," reports AOL-owned media outlet TechCrunch. "AOL's stake will be a financial, not a strategic, investment..."
Radionomy is essentially a platform that allows music lovers to create their own radio stations online. The company has about 6,000 user-created stations that draw about 13 million listeners.
"The global market for radio advertising is worth about $15 billion. Last year, about a billion was allocated for online radio," Radionomy chief executive Alexandre Saboundjian told Dutch publication "De Tijd" [translated]. He also forecast an exponential growth for the online radio industry.
"The market for media players in the mobile niche is an open battle. And we think Winamp is the right platform to go for it. While Winamp's last update was in 2009, it is still being downloaded three million times a month. That's what you call a loyal user base," added Saboundjan [translated].
According to the same report, new investors are joining Radionomy to help revitalize Winamp and Shoutcast. Joining the majority stakeholder Musicmatic and French company OTC Asset Management are Union Square Ventures and Bain Capital.
As Winamp gets revived, Radionomy might also utilize its newly acquired software properties to boost its ad network called TargetSpot. AOL made money from its old product and the well-loved music player lives on.
AOL originally purchased Winamp from its creator Nullsoft in 1999 for $80 million. The skinnable digital music player's popularity started to dwindle when iTunes and other feature-rich players entered the market.