Winamp Skin Museum relieves you of the amazing chaos of late-’90s computing


Every now and then, a certain generation of people (my Whenever we miss the Winamp skins, there is a tendency to fall into a catatonic state. There’s just something about them that immediately delves into the late ’90s / early’ 00s, when user interfaces were really customizable, and your music collection was an endless and entertaining battle like Linkin_Paint-In%. % END (HQ)). Mp3.

If any of that is triggering a melancholy reaction, you will probably enjoy the Winamp Skin Museum. It is an endless scrolling collection of 65,000 Winamp skins, searchable and fully interactive. There is a default playlist (which includes “Lama Whippin Intro”), and if you want to tell any lies, you can load audio files from your computer into it.

The first skin was collected Internet archive But assembled in this new accessible format by Facebook engineer Jordan Aldred. On Twitter, Eldred notes he’s still Taking collection For the project if you have any skins you would like to donate, and that describes the collection To wrest control “An iconic moment in Internet art history.”

He is not wrong. The taste on display at the Winamp Skin Museum is, in a word, stunning. It has all the artistic value of the National Art Gallery, but it concentrates in the late-’90s. To bring back nü metal with enough raw energy in the early-0000 aesthetics.

On display, you can see anime skins, gaming skins, communist skins, sci-fi skins, skins dedicated to special artists, and a cornucopia of indescribable veneers in between. The only disappointment is that the format of the museum does not lend itself to supporting stranger skins that change the shape and size of various elements of Winamp. But perhaps it is too much for today’s modern, sleek UI to handle.

You can also load visualizations.

It’s strange about Winamp skins, though: they don’t just capture a visual aesthetic, but are a way of interacting with technology. Personally, they remind me of an era when it felt like I had more control over my own computer. I can customize Winamp skins, of course, but my entire desktop, down from my extremely meticulous music collection.

There was also something about sorting through files and digging out album art that encouraged a kind of engagement with music, which, I think, is very different from today’s streaming models. Spotify, compared to Winamp, seems passive. You’ll find your search playlist, and you’ll like it. (And I do.) You could argue that we traded in this chaotic optimization for convenience. But was it worth it? Maybe. Probably everything I miss is a period in my life when I had the time and energy to mess with that type of thing. Of course, computers are only customizable if you want to put in effort.

But you see what I mean, now? Winamp Skins, friend. They really take you back.