How Two App Builders are Bringing Community to Music

“Matt and Michael realized the app was just one piece of the ecosystem they needed to build”

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Matt Bond and Michael Persall of Treble / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

Treble App was launched during the summer of 2017 with the goal to create a digital networking platform for individuals in the music industry. The app was created by CEO, Matt Bond, as a response to today’s decentralized and insanely fragmented music landscape. Matt soon hired on as managing director, Michael Persall to get the ball in motion, which unexpectedly turned into a community and safe space for musicians all over the United States. 

After releasing the initial app, Matt came up with an idea to host a happy hour on Tuesday night so that curious users could come by and test new designs. They bought drinks, hired one of their beta users to DJ, and (with much to the dissatisfaction of Matt’s landlord) opened the doors to his apartment in Brooklyn to host a low-key gathering. 

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The Treble crew and some performers outside of Ivy House, July 2019 / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

That night, over a hundred artists flooded into Matt’s living room. Some of them came because they wanted a safe space to meet the artists they'd connected with on the platform. Some of them came out to meet the duo and tell them stories of collaborations they made after downloading the app. Some of them hadn’t even downloaded the app but had heard about the gathering from friends, and just wanted to come out to network with other musicians and meet like-minded people. By the end of the evening, an impromptu jam session had broken out, hundreds of contacts were exchanged, and the initial Treble community had formed. It was obvious that something special had just happened, so the duo decided to do it again the next Tuesday. And the next Tuesday. And the Tuesday after that. 

As the series grew, Matt and Michael realized their app was just one piece of the ecosystem they needed to build. Their goal is to create meaningful connections in real life and in online and offline infrastructure to put people in the right place with the right people at the right time is the new Treble, and there are many innovations to come. We sat down with Matt and Michael to talk about all things Treble, connecting people in the music industry and plans for expansion.

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House Of Flying Ninjas performs at Ivy House, July 2019 / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

What were you guys doing before Treble?

Matt Bond: Before Treble I was working as a creative strategist at Vice. I also did some creative consulting for tech companies which is how I got my foot in the door within the startup space.

Michael Persall: I was studying entrepreneurship and branding at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a focus on the music industry. I took some internships and used myself as a case study to learn more about each side of the market. In 2015 I set out to play 300 shows in the year to immerse myself in the scene and lifestyle. Ultimately played 408 shows that year, and helped develop these micro-communities around different venues I frequented. I connected with thousands of artists and began having the same conversations about how there was a lack of infrastructure and no thought leadership on how to navigate the rapidly changing landscape. I started consulting by building Squarespaces for artist friends and connecting them to my collaborators so they had professional quality content to populate their sites. 

What can artists use Treble for?

Bond: Across Treble’s ecosystem, you’ll be able to find collaborators, “get discovered” for career opportunities, and access a community of young, talented, and like-minded people. Our digital platform lets you showcase your best self to other creators and to key industry professionals. And our live experiences let you forge meaningful connections, perform for local Treble communities and meet industry executives and talent buyers. We also offer an open bar which is pretty cool too. 

What can partygoers expect at a typical Treble Tuesday?

Persall: I think of it as Sunday football for the music industry. It feels like a ritual. It’s a home base for creators in localized music scenes to congregate weekly and drop their egos at the door, ready to connect with people who are actively trying to move forward in their careers and for industry folks and music lovers who want to discover the next superstar before they pop-up on dashboards or playlists. And a lot of free Jagermeister and random moments of artists eating fire or getting tattooed live on stage. Shout out to the 5 people who got Treble tattoos at our anniversary show.

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MADWIZ performs at Ivy House, July 2019 / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

Tell us about the launch of the new interface:

Persall: The web platform basically offers free websites that act as your music resume, so you can showcase your best self to collaborators, and the industry. Artists and reps send a ton of links in emails, make EPKs [Electronic Press Kit], or just use Instagram as their business card now. Once you drop your links and content into your Treble portfolio, you’ll instantly have a free EPK so all you need to represent yourself is your customized treble URL. You’ll also be able to tag the people who contributed to each song, photo, or video. This portfolio is essentially the keycard to the Treble ecosystem. Once you sign up, you can connect with collaborators for different use cases and discover top tier talent on the platform through our editorial layer, the Treble Charts, for on-demand discovery (basically playlists of people). You’ll also be able to use your portfolio to submit to industry opportunities, as well as our offline properties like Treble Tuesdays.

What's next for Treble?

Persall: As we gear up to relaunch our digital platform, we’ll continue expanding our Treble Live franchises across the country. We've also been exploring opportunities in the housing and real estate sector. So stay tuned for some exciting announcement on that front.

What are some Treble Success Stories?

Bond: "New York Nights", a Treble facilitated collaboration, was the lead single off Taylor Bennett’s previous EP. Another great one was "Holy Vibe", which later was signed and released by Mass Appeal, with the official video reaching over 50K views on YouTube.

Persall: Outside of the talent to talent success stories, I think connecting talent to opportunity has been big for the community, too. We’ve connected emerging performers like Riz La Vie to their first moments as official acts at SXSW and visual artists like Kidsuper to partnerships with brands like Jagermeister. The goal is to continue building out our partnership network to bring as many opportunities to the Treble Community as possible.

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Bond and Persall / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

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Persall and Bond chat before performances begin / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

How do you maintain a professional relationship when you’re working with your best friend/roommate?

Persall: At the end of the day the culture of the company and the pace we grow comes from the top down, so it's important we lead by example. We’re building a global home for the music industry, online and offline, and we know there’s a massive amount of work that needs to be put in to pull that off. Whether that’s working long hours to draft pitches for investors or brands, staying out past 2am every Tuesday night for over two years in NYC until the last attendee leaves, sleeping on the floor of a warehouse for a week at SXSW while housing 30+ creators across multiple houses, or renting a car and driving 15 hours to Chicago to launch Treble Tuesdays in a new market, the challenging moments ultimately turn into priceless memories when you’re sharing them with the people who see the vision and are with you during the good and bad. It’s created a special bond between all the people who are in this. It really is a family.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to launch a business?

Bond: A big sexy business idea won’t be the key to your success. It’s the grueling unsexy moments in the trenches that define a great founder. 

Persall: You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Being close to the problem you are trying to solve, either firsthand or through immersing yourself in the market is crucial for understanding how to work towards a solution and provide real value. Once you understand the market, build your team up with people who have skill-sets that complement yours, and develop a company culture that enables your team to take initiative. Fail early and often. Constantly learn new skills, and always be solution-oriented thinkers.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a founder?

Bond: Fall in love with the problem you’re solving. If you really care about the problem you’re solving, you’ll inspire your community, potential hires, and build support from others who are similarly as passionate.

Lastly, how do you guys take your coffee?

Bond: Strong.

Persall: Often.

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Capital Öde / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

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Persall opens a window inside Ivy House, July 2019 / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

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Black Dre performs at Ivy House, July 2019 / Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
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