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Trebel

Three-year-old music startup Trebel, whose app allows users to listen to music for free on-demand and offline, is going public via a Regulation A+ offering, according to a new SEC filing.

Why it matters: The company differentiates itself from other music streamers by letting consumers listen to music for free on-demand and offline with ads — a game-changer for people in developing markets.

How it works: Trebel makes money off advertising and shares that revenue with artists and record labels, explains Trebel CFO Bob Vanech.

  • It's also starting to build a business where brands can sponsor an ad-free, premium music listening session for a user in exchange for consensual data from the user, often shopping data.
  • Trebel currently works with Uber Eats in Mexico to give users a certain amount of ad-free listening days sponsored by Uber Eats in exchange for giving Uber Eats information about users' food orders, with their consent.
  • The company has a patent that allows it to market itself as the only music service globally in which 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 an investment of $250,000 to Trebel as it goes public. Burch tells Axios that after meeting with the team's leadership, "I came to believe that they had the experience, intuition and drive to succeed in an ever more complicated world."

Be smart: Right now the company is focused on serving users who are not likely to pay for a premium paid music subscription, which differentiates it from the likes of Spotify or Apple Music.

  • "We’re going after 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 enormous," he said.

The big picture: Trebel hopes to bring a new business model to the music streaming industry.

  • Executives tell Axios that Trebel has struck relationships with all three of the largest record labels — Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group — to offer 100% of their catalogs at no cost to users in exchange for a cut of the revenue that Trebel makes from ads and promotional partnerships.

By the numbers: The company currently has more 3 monthly active million users, most in Mexico. It's currently in talks with record labels to expand to countries in South America, including Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina.

  • In May, Trebel surpassed 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 run rate is $4 million, executives say. It's not yet profitable. The company is putting most of its earnings into growing the company, including marketing.
  • It currently has about 50 employees worldwide.

What to watch: Sources say that a current c-suite level executive at one of the three major record labels will be joining Trebel full time as president in July.

The bottom line: "We developed a system and a patented business model to address 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.

Go deeper

Students vandalize and steal from schools for viral TikTok challenge

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A viral TikTok challenge is leading students nationwide to shatter mirrors, steal fire alarms and intentionally clog toilets, The Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Dubbed the the “Devious Licks challenge, students are showing off their "devious licks" on TikTok — with a sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod" by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

17 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.