What Happened to Sonique.com

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

Sonique is a legacy audio player for Windows developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was once the most popular player and only second to Winamp. Now go to sonique.com, and you'll find tyBit Unified Search on its homepage instead of its own services. When you go on exploring this website, it turns into a retrieving error and tells you it is down.

Why it can't be reached anymore? What to do if you want to get Sonique from its official website? We took some time to find out what happened to sonique.com by tracing back its history, services, major updates, and its failure in the end.

The homepage of sonique.com

The History of Sonique.com

When Sonique's developers Andrew McCann, Ian Lyman, and Paul Peavyhouse were in their college, they formed a team called Night55 and developed a lesser-known player called Vibe MP3 player. In 1997, they sold this program to SGS Thompson for showcasing DVD features in COMDEX '98.

Thereafter, they started to work on a more capable media player and finally launched Sonique in January 1998. It got multiple acquisitions offers when its debut at the first MP3 Summit held at the Price Centre in the University of California at San Diego Campus. But Lyman and McCann turned them all down and founded Mediascience, Inc. in their hometown and hired several additional staff.

One year later, they sold their start-up company to Lycos for $71 million after talking with both Yahoo and Lycos. In mid-2001, Lycos was acquired by Terra Networks, S.A.. Though acquired, the Sonique team kept their own space and started to work on Sonique 2, aiming to create a comprehensive platform for listening, organizing, and purchasing digital music.

However, with the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the entire Sonique team was laid off except McCann and Lyman. Unsatisfied with the summary termination of their teammate, McCann and Lyman left thereafter. Then a team from Lycos headquarters took over the development of Sonique 2 but slowed it down and eventually stopped.

The failure of Sonique 2.0 also indicated the end of Sonique. It is no longer actively supported or developed and now is considered a legacy media player.

The Services of Sonique.com

Sonique.com was the official website of Sonique player by Mediascience Inc., a Lycos Company. The player distinguished itself from others with advanced audio processing capabilities and visualization effects, so the website also offered related services to make the player meet users' needs better, including music download, skin download, plugin updates, gear sales, and a forum for its users to discuss freely.

Sonique Player

Sonique was once the hottest desktop audio player for Windows. It featured a killer user interface, customizable skins and visuals, a 20-band graphics equalizer, and built-in access to music resources on the Web. It supported all the audio formats at that time, including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WMA (Windows Media Audio), MOD, IT, XM, S3M, and audio CDs.

When playing music on Sonique, users could create personal playlists with its playlist editor and rich music resources, and adjust audio pitch, balance, and amplification.

Sonique player

Sonique Music

Sonique Music in Sonique.com was a place for featured downloads, MP3 resources, and links to other music sites. It kept updating the latest additions and more free music. Meanwhile, Sonique collected detailed information about every song, for example, its creator, album, history, and related link to the artist.

At the same time, it encouraged indie musicians and bands to upload their tracks to this site and take their music to the masses. So it is not only a resourceful music library but a great platform to cultivate indie musicians and connect them to more music fans.


In the era of Windows software appearance customization, Sonique was the top dog that allowed users to customize all the graphics, visuals, and even the shape of the player. Sonique and over 350 skin stocks in total. It published "Skin of the Day", the newest 5 skins, and the top 10 skins on this website for users to pick up and download. Among those skins, "Organique", "E-razor", and "Fluid" were the most popular and most downloaded ones.

It also set up a complete profile for each skin, including its creator, rating, file size, categorization, downloads, and compatible Sonique version. This level of application customization is pretty rare, even 20 years later.

Sonique skins


Sonique supports both audio and visual plug-ins. Plug-ins are components that can be downloaded separately from the main application to enhance the functionality of the player.

Audio plug-ins typically add support for additional file types or add DSP (digital signal processing) functionality. Visual plug-ins are usually additional visualizations that give visual feedback to the music you play. Mediascience provides an API for Sonique's visual plug-in architecture to allow the general public to create their own visual plug-ins.

Gear Sales

Sonique actually led the trend of music for its unique user experience and quickly gained lots of fanboys. So it opened a store on this website to sell a collection of products with slogans and elements of its own culture.

For instance, the "Made by Aliens" T-shirt that they gave out in quantity at the 2nd MP3 Summit. Green Sonique logo on front with white "Made by Aliens" underneath. The back sports a large white alien head and the text "Aliens made my MP3 Player."

In addition to wearable shirts, it also sold Sonique stickers with the Sonique logo and colorful background and alien bubble pens with the Sonique logo and URL on the side.


To gather more authentic user feedback as well as grow a fan group, Sonique launched a forum on this website. It was available to talk about this site, Sonique plug-ins, skins, and anything about Sonique. The daily active members could reach over 200 sometimes. The forum was regarded as the best place to ask for help when users ran into any problem with Sonique. Not only others users, but administrators and developers would come to help.

Major Updates of Sonique

Sonique was available as a free download for Windows operating systems and was widely used as an alternative to other media players such as Windows Media Player. It received regular updates and new features throughout its lifespan, including support for Internet radio streaming and integration with music management software.

Sonique 1.30

  • Add a built-in music search
  • Add online features

Sonique 1.51

  • All new ultra high fidelity MP3 decoder, AE4
  • Multi-language support
  • DSP plugin support
  • Improved navigation menu
  • Completely rewritten audio and visual system
  • New installer

Sonique 1.90

  • Add a PCM equalizer
  • Pentium III & Athlon optimizations
  • An integrated tag editor
  • Updated EQ load/save
  • Updated Spectrum 2 visual
  • A new .wav writer

Sonique 2.0 Beta

  • New interface with maximum functionality
  • New and vastly improved playlist
  • Right-click menu
  • Detachable windows
  • Multiple color themes for default interface
  • Video support
  • Interface Browser for changing skins and remotes
  • All powered by the Mantis graphics engine, which enables endless interface possibilities.

Now you can download Sonique from V0.40 to V1.95 from The Museum of Sonique. But these versions do not available on recent Windows OS anymore.

What Then Happened to Sonique.com

Shortly after the major developer of Sonique left Lycos, the company was acquired by Terra, a U.S. portal. Then sonique.com was redirected to sonique.lycos.com. With the failure of Sonique 2.0, this site but rebuilt for social and entertainment news.

In the following years, the site has been changed several times but we found no trace of the history. Now it gets back to the domain sonique.com but is taken over by tyBit Unified Search, a search engine. But unfortunately, it doesn't run this website anymore.

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of the VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share creative content and useful information with readers. She has a strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in editing tips.

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VideoProc is a primary branch of Digiarty Software that is a leading multimedia software company founded in 2006. It endeavors to provide easier hardware-accelerated video audio editing and conversion solutions. The installed base of the VideoProc product has reached 4.6 million units from 180 countries since its release 5 years ago.

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