Nullsoft Considers Charging for Advanced Player

Thanks to semifamous for posting this in the forums.

After the Internet bubble burst, numerous companies faced the harsh reality of worthless advertising and insignificant stock options. A model of the times, Sonique saw its future abandoned when parent company Lycos -- already in turmoil -- handed developers pink slips despite paying upwards of 70 million dollars for the popular media player.

Nullsoft has been able to avoid a similar fate due in part to the size of its parent, AOL Time Warner, but it too has had its share of cutbacks. With the next version of Winamp right around the corner, Nullsoft is mulling over a new route to profitability - charge for an advanced version of its free player.

In a poll recently posted on its Web site, Nullsoft queried visitors on whether they would pay a small fee for an enhanced version of Winamp3 with added features such as CD burning, MP3 encoding, and DVD playback. While the development team would like to offer such functionality as certain competitors do, licensing fees would make it cost prohibitive for a company that is struggling to establish its worth.

Nullsoft is looking to create other avenues of revenue, including subscription-based customized radio stations utilizing its SHOUTcast technology for streaming audio. Winamp3's free form skinning could additionally open the door to partners looking for a custom-designed media player, a service Microsoft has capitalized upon with Windows Media Player.

Down which path Nullsoft decides to travel will largely depend on AOL - a conglomerate that does not approve of hasty decisions. While visitor response to the proposal has been mixed, the majority say they are simply happy with Winamp as it is. But fans can rest easy, for whether or not the additions see the light of day, Nullsoft is clear on one point: Winamp will eternally remain free.

News source: Betanews

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