Treble, a new app, connects songwriters, rappers, singers, musicians, producers and other potential collaborators.
When the Pixies were looking for a bass player 30 years ago, the alt-rock band put a classified ad in a Boston newspaper seeking a woman who liked both the band Hüsker Dü and folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. These days, the Pixies might have turned to Treble instead.
Treble is a new app that connects songwriters, rappers, singers, musicians, producers and other potential collaborators. Participants post and peruse profiles on the app and get together for one-off jobs or longer-term work. Treble users can sift through musicians’ profiles, hear samples of their work and post opportunities on a bulletin board.Treble was released on Apple’s app store this month, following a test phase that began in December.
Brooklyn singer Christa Williamson connected there with a producer to make beats for an EP she’s working on. Ms. Williamson, who is 21 years old, also is using Treble to find a bassist and guitarist to play with her in the studio. A rapper she met at a Treble mixer invited her to sing on one of his tracks. “It’s legit. People actually care to connect,” she said.
Not every musician is inclined to comb cyberspace for collaborators. Katie Von Schleicher, 30, a Brooklyn musician who just released her second album, prefers finding them the old-fashioned way. “What’s beautiful, at least if you’re based in New York, is that you simply have to go talk to someone at a show,” Ms. Von Schleicher said.
While the Beyoncés and Coldplays of the world are unlikely to use the app, Treble sees potential among aspiring musicians who aren’t necessarily destined for superstardom. “They might never win a Grammy or have a platinum record, but they’re incredibly passionate about what they do,” says Matt Bond, Treble’s 25-year-old chief executive.
Mr. Bond had the idea for Treble when he was a student at New York University. At the time, he was an aspiring rapper and was having trouble finding producers with whom to work. “There’s technology to connect people for so many other purposes, but there was no platform to connect artists and musicians,” said Mr. Bond, who graduated in 2014. After working in advertising, he quit in 2015 to develop Treble with two friends and help from 30 Weeks, a start-up incubator that Google ran for designers. He declined to say how much it has cost to develop Treble so far. The company has been sustained by corporate-sponsorship deals and ticket sales for special events, along with cash from outside investors as well as Mr. Bond’s savings and “bar mitzvah money.”
Since last year’s soft launch, Treble has assembled about 1,500 users, who all had to apply. “We wanted to manually cultivate the right community and culture,” Mr. Bond says. When the company makes its platform widely available through Apple, anyone with an iPhone will be able to create a profile, free. A web-based version will follow in the fall. Treble likely will add a premium tier along with some kind of advertisements.
Though Treble bills itself as a platform for any music maker, it is proving very popular with rappers and electronic musicians. “There’s a constant need to find new people to work with” in those genres, Mr. Bond says.
Chicago rapper Taylor Bennett found a whole band on Treble to play on his song “New York Nights.” “It’s kind of like a Tinder for musicians,” said Mr. Bennett, 21, referring to the dating app with tens of millions of users. While Mr. Bennett knows plenty of musicians—his older brother is Chance the Rapper—he says Treble is perfect for “those times when you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, I need strings on this, and I don’t know anybody who plays violin.’”