When you hear about “completely free music downloads,” the first thing you might think of is an illegal music download site. On these illegal sites, however, there’s no way of actually knowing what you’re getting. It could be the song you want or it could be an awful virus that wrecks your computer.
Trebel Music seeks to change all that. Trebel is a completely legal music app that allows users to download songs without having to pay.
“A lot of college students have limited income and turn to MP3 converter sites and rolling free trials of subscription services to save a buck,” said Corey Jones, Chief of Product at M&M Media, Inc., the company behind the app. “Trebel is for the college student that can’t afford to pay but wants total control over what they listen to.”
The way it works is simple. The app displays ads while the user browses music, and for each ad that plays the user is given virtual coins. The user can then spend these coins on songs to download. While it is downloading, another ad plays and more coins are earned. The user already has to wait for the song to download, as they would on iTunes or an illegal site, so he or she may as well watch the ad. After a song has been downloaded, the user owns it. It can be listened to offline and added to playlists.
Playlists created by one user are accessible to other users. This allows listeners to find others with similar music tastes and discover new music that way. These shareable playlists are just one aspect of the social side of Trebel. Listeners can also see what music is popular at their school and follow other students. In addition to filtering users by school, someone can also find his or her friends if they connect their Trebel account to their Facebook account. By following friends, users can see what artists their friends like and listen to their friends’ playlists.
The social side of the app makes it clear that this is an app for a younger generation. The CEO of M&M Media, Gary Mekikian, may not be a millennial, but his daughters, Juliette and Grace Mekikian are. Both girls helped create the app.
“It was important for us to put young people in charge of the app’s design and function,” Juliette said. “Trebel is built by millennials for millennials.”
In addition, everyone who gave feedback on the app’s design was under the age of 24, and it shows. The app is simple to navigate, aesthetically conscious and easy to look at. For example, if someone doesn’t like the background colors of the app, they can change them by simply selecting an album cover and turning that into the color scheme.
In addition to both the design and social aspects aimed at the college-aged generation, Trebel is also partnering with Lyft, a ridesharing service popular among college students. Because Trebel’s target is college students on a budget, their relationship with Lyft gives students discounted rides. When someone installs Trebel, he or she will receive $20 off their first Lyft ride. Although this only applies to first-time users, it’s definitely a benefit.
“The only thing better than free music downloads is free music downloads and free rides,” Jones said.
Trebel is currently being rolled out at select universities with high rates of music streaming. The U is among the few U.S. colleges chosen to participate in the demo for the app. U students will be among the first to use Trebel, which is pretty cool. For those who have iPhones, Trebel is now available to download (for free, obviously) from the App Store.
The simplicity, convenience and economy of the app will undoubtedly make it a strong competitor for pay-per-download sites like iTunes. After all, who would say no to free music? But Trebel is also an alternative to subscription-based streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Though it’s not a streaming service itself, it does have many advantages over streaming services: Users don’t have to pay to listen offline the way they do on Spotify, and the ads don’t interrupt the users’ listening experience. Trebel is a legal and safe alternative to illegal downloading.