Arts & Entertainment Editor
Troy University was chosen as one of the many schools to debut a new app called Trebel—a music app with major social integration.
Trebel is a music app from M&M Entertainment, and it was developed by Juliette, Grace and Gary Mekikians.
Gary Mekikians, CEO of Trebel, describes the app that was designed by college students for college students.
“We’ve worked with 200 15 to 23 year olds to get them to design the features,” Mekikians said.
“One of the key differences between our service and all of the other services out there is that our service is a download and play service,” Mekikians said. “Not a streaming service like Spotify, Apple Music and so on.”
In addition to downloading the song, the app has full YouTube integration, allowing users to watch the video of the accompanying song.
Mekikians encourages users to download music while their phone is connected to Wifi or their data plan, but after that, no more data is used for playback. The music doesn’t take up storage on a device, thanks to Trebel’s servers.
The app includes top plays that are university-wide, allowing users to see what everyone is listening to around Troy University’s campus.
Trebel also has a points system. Users can earn points and spend them on music. “This guarantees that the artists whose music is getting downloaded and listened to are getting compensated for their music,” Mekikians said. “Users can listen to the music they want and have it for free without having to use real currency.”
Users can earn virtual currency easily. While users download songs, the app plays an ad, and the user gets points for watching it.
Points can also be exchanged between users, setting up a mini-economy in the app.
After the user downloads a song, they can bring it up in the player that uses a revolving disc to denote that the music is playing. This revolving disc acts as a record player, where if the user spins it backwards, it will reverse the song back to a certain point.
If users don’t want to utilize this feature, they can make the album art static on the screen. Mekikians said in future versions, the disc will be able to scratch, similar to what DJs use in their music.
Playlists can be curated for friends, shared with friends and categorized under a mood. The app has a follower system as well, where students can follow students with similar music taste.
Trebel wants to be known as the “black and yellow music app,” but if users get tired of this color scheme, there is a simple alternative.
Users can go to their favorite color scheme from album art, shake their device, and the color scheme is saved to the app.
What inspired the app was Mekikians’s daughter, Juliette. Juliette Mekikians is a college student at UCLA, and she’s also one of the founders of Trebel.
Mekikians said he found himself scolding his children for ripping music off of videos on YouTube or using other websites to download music without paying for them.
“It deprives artists of much needed revenue, artists need to survive,” Mekikians said. “A lot of converter sites and torrent sites, they don’t just deliver music. They deliver adult content, they deliver viruses. The user experience is horrible, and millions of kids and young people are being exposed to that kind of experience because they want to have their music at a time in their life when they can least afford it.”
He said that his daughters encouraged and pushed him to create Trebel. The app has been in the works for the past two years.
Trebel had a test run at five different universities last year, and now they are opening up the service to several other colleges and universities.
“This is an early release,” Mekikians said. “It’s not open to all comers yet.”
When Trebel was choosing what schools to give an early release, he cited two criteria for eligibility.
“We looked at the demographic of the campus to see if the demographic matches who we built the system for,” Mekikians said. “Diversity was really important for us.”
“The second criterion was that the student body had to be social media savvy and social media active,” Mekikians said. “We want the early adopters of our system to be active users and we want them to talk about it.”
Trebel will be opening up a paid program in the next few weeks for student writers to write articles about the system and music.
Mekikians said that the app will be released to 3,000 universities within the next few months and 30,000 high schools after that.
Trebel is available for download at this link or directly on the Apple app store under “Trebel Music.”