Three-year-old music startup Trebel, whose app lets users listen to free music on-demand and offline, is going public via an A+ regulatory offering, according to a new SEC filing.
Why is it important: The company differentiates itself from other music streamers by allowing consumers to listen to free music on-demand and offline with ads, which is a game-changer for people in developing markets.
How it works: Trebel makes money from advertising and shares that revenue with artists and record labels, says Trebel’s chief financial officer Bob Vanech.
- It is also beginning to build a business where brands can sponsor an ad-free premium music listening session for a user in exchange for user consent data, often purchase data.
- Trebel is currently working with Uber Eats in Mexico to give users a number of days of ad-free listening sponsored by Uber Eats in exchange for giving Uber Eats information about users’ food orders, with their consent.
- The company holds a patent that allows it to market itself as the only music service in the world where users can download music and listen to it on demand and offline for free.
Driving the news: Billionaire fashion retailer Chris Burch will commit to investing $250,000 in Trebel when it goes public. Burch told Axios that after meeting the team’s leaders, “I came to believe that they had the experience, the intuition and the drive to succeed in an increasingly complicated world.” .
Be smart: At present, the company focuses on serving users who are unlikely to pay for a premium paid music subscription, which differentiates it from Spotify or Apple Music.
- “We are targeting a market that is five times the size of the paid subscription market,” said Kevin Mills, head of Latin America operations at Trebel.
- “Goldman Sachs estimates that by 2023 there will be 690 million subscribers. That leaves some 4 billion people looking for an alternative… Our total addressable market is huge,” he said. .
The big picture: Trebel hopes to bring a new business model to the music streaming industry.
- Executives tell Axios that Trebel has forged relationships with the three biggest record labels – Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group – to offer 100% of their catalogs free of charge to users in exchange for a cut in revenue that Trebel does from ads and promotional partnerships.
By the numbers: The company currently has over 3 million monthly active users, mostly in Mexico. He is currently in talks with record labels to expand to countries in South America, including Brazil, Colombia and Argentina.
- In May, Trebel overtook Spotify as the #1 app in Mexico’s Google Play store in the free music category.
- Based on December 2020 revenue, the company’s annual revenue rate is $4 million, executives said. It’s not profitable yet. The company invests most of its income in growing the business, including marketing.
- It currently has around fifty employees worldwide.
What to watch: Sources say a current senior executive from one of the three major record labels will join Trebel full-time as president in July.
The bottom line: “We have developed a patented system and business model to meet the needs of billions of music listeners for whom music is medicine and having access to their music on-demand and offline is not a luxury, but a necessity,” says co-founder and CEO Gary Mekikian in the new SEC filing.