The Winamp Skin Museum Is X-Tremely Gnarly

Gif: Internet Archive, Fair Use
Gif: Internet Archive, Fair Use

At this moment, thousands of people around the world are booting up the just-released remaster of the classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game and hearing those plinking Primus riffs on the soundtrack for the first time in a couple of decades. If you’re one of the people who are about to spend the weekend going further down the rabbit hole of ‘90s tunes that make you forget the last two decades ever happened, we’ve got just the ingredient to help you fully immerse yourself.

On Thursday, Facebook developer Jordan Eldredge announced the launch of the Winamp Skin Museum, an easy-to-browse collection of over 65,000 examples of the iconic digital wrappers that adorned the Winamp music player at the turn of the century. The project was done in collaboration with Jason Scott and the Internet Archive, Eldredge said.

Like the music visualiser, the custom skin on your music player was once a ubiquitous feature of music players, and then, suddenly… it wasn’t. The chaotic aesthetic of ‘90s tech just trying to keep its shit together doesn’t really fit our more polished times. But the Skin Museum project is a labour of love, and Eldredge made sure to pay tribute to the “many artists who, with these skins, forged an iconic moment in internet art history.”

The Skin Museum is an important repository of cultural artifacts for you to peruse at your pleasure, but it’s also functional. Not only can you search and scan the archive, but you can also download the skins and install them on (unsupported) Winamp yourself. Check out my desktop setup:

Bodacious. (Screenshot: Gizmodo)

This weekend, I recommend that you order a pizza, put on some X-Files in the background, wrap your Winamp in a skin that expresses your core personality, and try to pretend that you’re living in the You’re Finally Awake / You Hit Your Head Really Hard meme.