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A new way to listen to music

An interview with the minds behind Trebel app

Eric Ryan, Entertainment Editor

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On Monday, Nov. 7, I was able to interview the staff behind the upcoming music app Trebel. A company coming out of Stanford, M&M Media created Trebel to find a way for people to download music for free while also allowing artists to be compensated for their music. Joining me were CEO Gary Mekikian, Co-Founder Tracy Mekikian, Chief of Product Corey Jones and Stanford student Sohaib Shaikh.

Q: So how did the idea of Trebel Music begin?

Tracy: It all started when my sister and I realized we wanted an app that could play quality music on my phone for free without taking up a ridiculous amount of memory space. We went to our dad with the idea and we turned it into reality.

Q: How exactly does Trebel work?

Gary: When a student uses Trebel—and we like to focus on the college demographic—they look up songs or albums that they would like to play and begin downloading it. While the download only takes a few seconds, during that time an ad will play at the bottom of the app. When the download is complete, the song can be played and no ads will pop up again for that song, but the ad that was played gains revenue that then goes into paying the artist.

Q: How does this app compare to other popular apps like Spotify or Pandora?

Gary: Spotify and Pandora are streaming music apps, while Trebel is entirely focused on downloading music. Think Spotify Premium, when you go to download music to play it offline; imagine that but with thousands of songs that you can put on your phone, not just the two or three albums that Spotify can before it overloads your phone’s memory. We think of ourselves as the healthy medium between Spotify and torrenting, because, unlike Spotify, our app is completely free, and, unlike torrenting, our app is legal.

Q: You say your app is focused on college campuses and students. What kinds of benefits does the app bring to WCU students?

Jones: The app itself doesn’t just stream music; we also have a social aspect to the app as well. The user has the ability to like and comment on every song in the app, and we have university-specific lists of songs. For example, if someone were to put down that they are a West Chester student in their information, they would be able to access the “Most Listened” and “Most Downloaded” lists for WCU and WCU alone. Then they can see what other students have been listening to, then they can like and comment on those songs and interact with their fellow students.

Q: Are there any other parts of the app that helps personalize the student experience?

Gary: We have some currently and some features on the way. Right now we have a coin system, where when a user downloads a song they receive a coin. This coin represents the money that they’ve helped generate and pay the artist with. We’re planning on adding a store where users can buy all sorts of things with those coins: themes, music videos and artist interviews, but for now they serve as more of a point system. We also are trying to work with certain stores to give out coins if you go there. For example, is there a Starbucks in West Chester? There has to be a Starbucks.

Me: There is.

Gary: Well, if Starbucks wants to do a promo, they may give you 100 coins for signing in there, compared to the usual 10.

Q: How many campuses has Trebel reached out to so far?

Gary: As you can see on our website, we’re very proud to say that we’ve been able to expand to 3,000 seperate colleges and universities, and we want each one to feel like their own community. We’re going to implement in the near future the ability to customize your app with your college’s colors and logo.

Q: Is there any way for students to get involved besides the playlist?

Jones: Right now we’re very open to student responses to how the app is fairing. We’d like to cater the user experience to the student as much as possible, and we urge our users to send us feedback whenever they can to improve the whole experience. We also have a blog that we would love students to write for; it’s one of our main features right now, and we want to keep it constantly updated with new articles written by students, for students.

Q: Where can you find the app right now?

Gary: The app is on Apple’s App Store currently, and we are working on having it on the Google Play Store as fast as possible. Other than that, we have our main site, the blog at, and any suggestions for the app can be taken by Corey at [email protected] and our other co-founder Grace at [email protected]

Eric Ryan is a third-year student majoring in English writing track. He can be reached at [email protected]

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The Student News Service of West Chester University
A new way to listen to music