Winamp is now doing NFTs, and its founder despises it

The blockchain is coming for all of us.

Because you either die a hero or live long enough to watch yourself become the villain, Winamp is now doing NFTs.

On Wednesday, Winamp announced that it would auction off the media player's original skin as a one-of-one NFT on OpenSea, with bidding starting on May 16 and running through May 22. It then plans to sell 20 more artworks beginning May 23, all of which will be reproduced roughly 100 times to make a total of 1997 NFTs (a nod to the year the program launched). Each will cost 0.08 ETH, which is about US$225 at the current exchange rate, so if all 1997 NFTs are sold, the total will be close to US$450,000.

These 20 designs will be based on the original Winamp skin and will be chosen from public submissions.

"Send us your derivatives," says Winamp's website. "Our Winamp scientists will scrutinize every cryptoArt that comes its way, and 20 variations will be chosen to be sold as Winamp's NFTs."

Even if a submission is not chosen, the terms and conditions of the competition allow Winamp "a global, non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to use, copy, and display the Art."

If it is chosen, the artist relinquishes all rights to their work and passes over the copyright to Winamp in perpetuity. And, while they will be permitted to share it on social media, they must include a note stating that the copyright and all rights belong to Winamp.

To be fair, the effort is ostensibly for a worthy cause. The Winamp NFT Initiative supports the Winamp Foundation, which funds charities such as Music Fund, which assist musicians. Nonetheless, it is possible to support charity without resorting to the much despised blockchain technology.

It also appears that the charity is coming from the artists rather than Winamp itself. While the Winamp Foundation will receive 80% of the proceeds from the initial sales of these NFTs, the artists will receive only 20% – around US$45 per NFT. On resale, the reseller receives 80%, Winamp receives 10%, and the artist receives 10%.

Winamp has been contacted for comment by Mashable.

Winamp, which was released in 1997, was the preferred media player for millions of millennials in the early days of the internet. The application was well-known for its customizable skins, with users able to select from thousands of community-created alternatives to match the look of their desktop.

Justin Frankel, one of the media player's original inventors, is among those who despise Winamp's latest move.

"I've spent the previous few years giving the Winamp owners the benefit of the doubt," Frankel said in response to the announcement. "No longer. You're a disaster."

Frankel further on his website, expressing "[s]trong displeasure for various reasons."

"The environmental impact is horrendous, and it is also a negative-sum ecosystem, so anything that promotes more people to buy into it so that the individuals who already bought it (or mined-in) can cash out is a bad thing," he wrote. "To be clear, the skin itself is not being auctioned; rather, a URL pointing to the skin is. It was created, I believe, by [Winamp co-creators] Tom [Pepper] and Dmitry [Boldyrev] "..

Many people still had positive memories of Winamp up until this week. Unfortunately, widespread hatred for NFTs appears to have tainted the memory.

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