It started in early 1995 when I (Steve J. Gray) got interested in playing CD's on the computer. I tried various DOS-based players but I found most lacking the ease-of-use or features I wanted, so I decided to write my own. In May 1995 I released SJGPlay (for DOS) using the DSE library for controlling the CD-ROM drive. SJGPlay was the first, or one of the first, PC DOS CD players to include lyrics editing and playback. Feedback was good.
I started developing SJGPlay for windows, and in January 1998 I release the first BETA. I continued to add new features, and expanded it from a CD player to a multi-media player that could add lyrics to ANY media supported under Windows using MCI. Requests started coming in to add CD+G support. At the time I knew nothing about CD+G discs. I started doing research and came across the "CDG Revealed" document by Jim Baumgardten, and also CDGPlay (for DOS) by Jim McLaughlan. Unfortunately I had no CD-ROM drive capable of playing the CD+G discs. I contacted Jim M and he graciously provided me with a sample CDG file.
Earlier in 1997 WinAmp and MP3 files were becoming popular. Given the fact that I couldn't play CD+G discs directly, it occured to me that it made more sense to eliminate the CD and use MP3 instead, and on Jan 31,1998 WinCDG was born. It was the first MP3+G player.
It was around here that I met Gai Marcos. I was working in the Academic Computing department at Ryerson Univerity and Gai, who was a comp-sci student at the time, was hired to help out. Gai and I became friends. Gai was a good C programmer and I was a VB programmer. I showed Gai some of my software and I asked him to help me on some projects. He wrote the DLL for FMTuner (Aug 1998) and some of the code in SJGPlay relating to frame re-arranging.
FMTuner was my first app with skins, and also my first attempt at shareware. On Dec 13,1998 I released VB-Amp, which expanded the skin features.
Feedback for WinCDG, SJGPlay and VB-Amp was great and people could see the potential of MP3+G. In 2000 I was contacted by a major Karaoke distributor interested in starting online karaoke song distribution. They asked if it was possible to create a player and for encoding the Karaoke CD+G discs into digital format. I realized my VB-skills wouldn't be enough and so I talked to Gai and started working on a player and looking into CD+G data extraction. Ultimately the deal fell through to provide a player for the online distributor and we decided we would market the player on our own. And so, in July of 2000 Tyrannosoft was created with Gai and myself as equal partners.
Things were going well. We created many products, and essentially created the MP3+G industry. Both Gai and I had full-time jobs and Tyrannosoft was a part-time business. When things really started to get going Gai quit his job to work full-time for Tyrannosoft. Also around this time I started dating my future wife-to-be and was spending less time on development and support. Also, we started getting some competition. This really stressed out Gai, who thought we weren't doing enough and that the competition would overtake us...
Unfortunately this caused a strain on the company and by late 2001 things started to break down. Unknown to me at the time, Tricerasoft was formed. I wasn't monitoring things on a day-to-day basis and before I knew it Tricerasoft was in the karaoke business too. Strangely, Tyrannosoft was no longer receiving money from sales, even though sales continued, Also, the shared FTP site with sourcecode and file, and web page was no longer accessable to me...
My original freeware WinCDG version 0.60 is still available HERE. Please remember this is the original version and a lot has changed in the years since it's release... it's very primitive for today's standards.
I still get requests for information and help. I'm afraid at the moment I am unable to help, so here are a few links to point you to some info:
Updated: Nov 9/2009, 11:30am EST