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Merlin strikes strategic partnership with free music streaming app TREBEL

Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the world’s independent label sector, has struck a deal with TREBEL, a free, licensed, music streaming app.

The service, which offers on-demand and offline play at no cost to its users, sponsored by brand advertisers, recently filed for an IPO in the United States.

In addition to being supported by premium advertisers, the app says it has “strong relationships with the largest record labels in the world”, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.

Other partners listed on the company’s website include EMPIRE, DashGo, The Orchard, and Cinq Music Group.

TREBEL says that its partnernership with Merlin will now allow it to “expand its users’ access to a wide-ranging repertoire of independent music”.

The app has grown to be one of the most downloaded music apps in Mexico and the company has additional plans to expand throughout South America this year, including a launch in Brazil early next year.

TREBEL is planning expansion into 12 new markets in total over the next 18 months.

Launched in late 2018, TREBEL says that its mission is to make a “premium-caliber music experience more accessible to communities for whom paid music can be out of reach”.

The company suggests further that its brand-supported model “creates moments of purposeful ad-based friction for users during non-listening moments in the app”.

TREBEL, which is led by CEO and co-founder of Gary Mekikian, describes its app as “an ad machine”, which “serves ads that balance revenue generation with user experience”.

TREBEL’s SEC filing from March revealed that the app’s monthly active users grew 59% year-over-year as of December 31, 2020 to 3.2 million.

As of September 2021, TREBEL had over 4 million monthly active users.

For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, the company generated $1.88 million and $2.33 million in revenue, respectively, representing a growth rate of 23%.

“Our Merlin partnership will allow us to maximize exposure to independent music throughout the world and ensure the best music experience possible for our growing global user base.”

Corey Jones, TREBEL

Corey Jones, Co-Founder and Head of Music at TREBEL, said: As we look toward the next ten years, where global smartphone growth is expected to outpace adoption of paid media models, we want to be the pure-play music provider of choice for billions of under-monetized mobile users for whom music is a necessity.

“Our Merlin partnership will allow us to maximize exposure to independent music throughout the world and ensure the best music experience possible for our growing global user base. We could not be more excited.”

“We’re delighted to partner with a company that – like Merlin – respects music rights holders and values their hard work.”

Charlie Lexton, COO, Merlin

Charlie Lexton, COO, Merlin, said: We’re very pleased to enter into this agreement to make Merlin members’ music available to TREBEL users, giving them access to a diverse array of independent music, whether they’re at home, on the go, online, or unplugged.

“We’re delighted to partner with a company that – like Merlin – respects music rights holders and values their hard work.”


Last month, Merlin extended and enhanced its existing music licensing partnership with India-based music streaming service, JioSaavn.

In August, Merlin signed a licensing deal with Adaptr, a B2B music platform that lets developers legally integrate music into their apps.

In April, Tencent-owned music streaming platform JOOX inked a licensing agreement with Merlin.Music Business Worldwide

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