Winamp's plans to regain relevance include much more than finally updating its audio software. The company has opened invitations to a creator service that gives musicians tools to distribute, promote and (of course) profit from their work. While most details won't emerge in earnest until features begin unlocking in September, this is slated to include fan subscription support debuting in November. Your favorite artist could offer special content at different tiers — it appears to be a Patreon-style platform for music.
The invitations are limited to 25,000 people. They'll receive a year of free access to tools as well as a Creator Pass that promises "exclusive perks," including digital tokens of Winamp's well-known llama.
Don't worry that Winamp might ignore its signature player software. The company maintains that it will parallel the service rollouts with improvements to the client. The aim is to create the "music superapp" listeners want, Winamp said.
The creator service and retooled software could help Winamp adapt to an era where streaming and subscriptions have largely replaced downloads. With that said, there are challenges. Many listeners are tied to first-party streaming apps like Apple Music and Spotify. They aren't guaranteed to turn to outside software and services, even if they might miss out on rewards.