AOL sells off Winamp and Shoutcast to Radionomy

Steven Loeb · January 14, 2014 · Short URL:

AOL has also reportedly taken a minority stake in the Belgian Internet radio startup

Winamp is one of those programs that I used so long ago, in the pre-iTunes days, that I honestly had no idea that it even existed anymore, until it came out late last year that AOL was getting ready to shut it down.

Somehow, though, the media player was saved, and will now live on to fight another day.

Winamp has been purchased by Belgian Internet radio startup Radionomy, it was announced on Tuesday. In addition, Radionomy also picked up Internet radio platform Shoutcast from AOL.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but it was reported by Belgian publication De Tije that AOL has picked up a minority stake in the company. TechCrunch is reporting that the deal was worth between $5 million and $10 million, and hat AOL took a 12% stake in Radionomy.

AOL bought Nullsoft, the parent company of Winamp and Shoutcast, back in 1999, for $80 million.

VatorNews has reached out to both AOL and Radionomy to confirm this, and to find out how large the stake is. We will update if we learn more.

So what does this mean for Winamp and its users? More access.

Radionomy says that it will be providing Winamp with 60,000 radio stations, playback for 60 audio and video formats, 6,000 add-ons, which includes skins, plug-ins, online services and visualizations, availability in 16 languages, and tools for managing podcast subscriptions.

"Winamp is a top independent player that gives millions of people the best player functionality available," Alexandre Saboundjian, CEO of Radionomy Group, said in a statement. "Its role is clear in the future evolution of online media – we plan to make the player ubiquitous, developing new functionalities dedicated to desktop, mobile, car systems, connected devices and all other platforms."

By purchasing Shoutcast, Radionomy says that it will be the source of approximately half of all streamed Internet radio worldwide, and will be particularly helpful in expanding its presences in the United States.

"Radionomy has always focused on creating a unique platform for any radio broadcaster or pure player that enables them to build a large audience and monetize their stream," said Saboundjian. "With Shoutcast, we have expanded our reach to include roughly half of the world's online radio streaming, leaving Radionomy well-positioned to change the face of online radio."

It is not a surprise that AOL would try to dump Winamp and Shoutcast; it continues the trend of the company slowing down, or selling off, its music products.

Last year AOL began to shut down its AOL Music site, while also cutting jobs at a slew of its other music properties. In June it sold three of its music properties to Townsquare Media: country site The Boot,  hip-hop site The Boombox and metal site Noisecreep. Townsquare also bought comic book website ComicsAlliance.

AOL has been trying to focus over the years, and sell non-essential assets so it can invest in those that are humming and building new products. It sold Bebo to Criterion Capital Partners in 2010, which AOL CEO Tim Armstrong had called “a major distraction”. In a much bigger financial deal, AOL sold 800 patents to Microsoft in 2012 for $1.1 billion.

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