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On the day we learned that Microsoft announced that they're retiring Internet Explorer, we look at the music-based artifacts that defined the era.
Before MP3s (and hell, even before streaming music period), there was RealPlayer. RealPlayer will be familiar to any music fan of the IE era: It was used to stream impossibly small, terrible-quality songs and video, hosted, typically, on terrible fansites. We're glad well never hear a RealPlayer file again, but we're glad we experienced it.
While Bonzi Buddy was a bundle of malware disguised as a helpful purple gorilla, he always had a special place in the hearts of music fans. It's not only because he sang, either—it's because literally everyone got him to rap out Eminem's verses on "Forgot About Dre."
If you're of a certain vintage, your first exposure to MP3s came via Winamp, the poorly designed media player that dominated during IE's heyday. The player itself was functional, but the many skins it boasted were Winamp's best offering.
Lars Ulrich may disagree, but Napster was revolutionary for music fans—it brought filesharing to the masses. And allowed us to listen to Metallica's St. Anger before buying it, because THANK GOD.
When Napster folded, several services emerged before Bittorrent became the dominant filesharing medium. Among the easiest was Audiogalaxy, which, until 2002, indexed MP3 files. It was among the easiest, foolproof filesharing services of its era. We're glad it's gone, still.
Post-Napster and post-Audiogalaxy, we were so starved for filesharing that we latched onto Kazaa, which loaded our computers with malware and loads of misnamed files.
Comparatively, Soulseek was the best: If you found users who indexed their files properly, had high-quality MP3s, and specialized in a subgenre, you were absolutely golden.
Thanks to the Internet Archives, these fansites will never truly be gone—but one of the joys of the Internet Explorer era were crude, enthusiasm-first music fansites, which often banded together in webrings. We miss you, Bif Naked Geocities site.
While it’s hardly a sad piece of news, Microsoft has officially announced that they’re killing off their fabled Internet Explorer brand. In its place, reports the Verge, will be a new browser tentatively titled Project Spartan, all of which led us to a few questions: Wait, people still use Internet Explorer? You mean there’s people who denied Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and even god damn Opera to use Internet Explorer? What?
Well, it’s true. Still, Spartan will make its appearance with Windows 10. (Upon its release, we’d guess, Windows users will forgo Spartan for Chrome.) Nonetheless, a refresh was drastically needed for Microsoft’s web browser, and that’s largely because we associate Explorer with another era entirely; the last time anyone used it, it seems, was when Windows 95 (or maybe—maybe—XP) was ubiquitous.
Still, IE’s death, perhaps more than the demise of Winamp, signals the end of an era. Here are eight music-related things we’ll miss about the Internet Explorer age—until we realize that we have things way, way better now.