ISD-App offers free, legal music access

Feature article written for the Iowa State Daily. Online version can be found here.

Oct 1, 2015


For the typical college student, buying music can be a rare splurge, especially when it is easy to download YouTube videos as MP3 files.

But those free download sites can wreak havoc on students’ computers, making the free download option risky. Luckily for ISU students, a safer and cheaper solution is available.

Trebel Music is a new download and play app geared toward college students.

After testing the app on select campuses, such as UCLA in 2014, Trebel Music is now available for ISU students.

Users can create profiles and have followers, similar to a social networking site. The app allows users to see what songs are trending on campus and users can create and share playlists with their followers. The cost is free.

Gary Mekikian, CEO of Trebel Music, said he wanted to provide a safe option for students who would usually use illegal downloading sites.

“We’ve created a download and play app that we’re hoping [will] make the illegal sites totally obsolete,” Mekikian said.

To download a song, users simply have to lookup a song on the app and hit the “download for free” button. While the song is downloading, video ads will play. This ensures the artists are compensated for their work.

The user will receive coins once the song is downloaded, which serve as the app’s currency. Every time a user plays a song, some of the virtual currency is spent.

Users of the app can conveniently listen to music on their devices without being connected to data or Wi-Fi. The app also automatically imports all iTunes music, so both music libraries are synced on the system.

Because Trebel Music is still in its infancy, the founders have been promoting it on select college campuses before they go to the public. Iowa State was chosen as one of the first 30 campuses to use the app because of its diverse student population and social media habits.

“We wanted to go to campuses that are social media savvy and active,” Mekikian said. “[Iowa State] fit the bill perfectly.”

The features Trebel Music provides, from music videos, lyrics or customizing the app’s color scheme, make it unique in comparison with other music providers, Mekikian said. But Trebel Music made it clear that it does not want to compete with these sites.

“We want you to use Pandora and Spotify free,” Mekikian said. “Our app is a perfect companion for those apps. You listen to a song you really love on Pandora and then [you] can come to our system and download it.”

Trebel Music is available on iPhone and Android devices. Mekikian said a desktop version will be released in early 2016.

“If there was a way to transfer [music] onto my computer, I would definitely use [Trebel Music] because I don’t only listen to music on my phone,” said Bethany Lozier, junior in advertising and French.

Students interested in downloading Trebel Music can visit the App Store at

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