Maluma invests in music service as platform race heats up

(Bloomberg) – Latin music star Maluma is investing in Trebel, a music download platform – the latest move by a successful artist to get involved in the business side of music distribution.

Trebel secured a valuation of more than $200 million in its most recent funding round, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company is raising $25 million, led by Indonesian media conglomerate MNC Group. In addition to Maluma, other investors include Christopher Burch, NBA player Thaddeus Young and Mexican entrepreneur Alejandro Grisi. The round brings Trebel’s total funding to approximately $45 million.

Artists are increasingly getting involved in alternatives to major streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, which have been criticized for providing only a tiny share of the revenue generated for most artists. British startup Roxi is backed by Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams, while blockchain-based music platform Audius has hired investors including Katy Perry, Pusha T and the Chainsmokers.

As part of the deal, Maluma, whose real name is Juan Luis Londoño Arias, will serve as an advisor to Trebel CEO Gary Mekikian and play a lead role in expanding the service throughout Latin America. as it enters new markets. The Colombian singer is one of the region’s biggest musicians and broke into Bloomberg’s Pop Star Power top 10 for the first time in late 2020. He now plays alongside Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in the romantic comedy “Marry Me”. .”

Maluma has stepped up his involvement in non-music ventures, investing in property developer La Haus and becoming the face of meal delivery service Rappi. He recently launched his own fragrance line and launched a fashion line at Macy’s Inc. He said his focus is now on expanding into new categories.

“Music is universal and when you travel to Latin American countries you can see that there are many people – we are talking about the vast majority – who have not taken out a music subscription to access the music when and how they want,” said Maluma, who grew up in Medellin. “I’ve been focused on being part of the opportunities that will give the next generation of musicians another way for them to get new audiences for their growing careers, especially talent in Latin America, where the resources are sometimes limited.

Downloads only

Unlike streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, Trebel is download-only and targets users who prefer to avoid paying monthly data charges to listen to music on their mobile devices. Trebel is growing rapidly in Mexico, South America, and Central America, with around 5.2 million monthly active users. It is also available in the United States and will enter Indonesia in the first half of 2022, with the help of new investor MNC.

“Music labels support us because it’s extra revenue for the music industry and we reach an unreached audience,” Mekikian said in an interview.

Trebel began raising additional funds last year through a so-called A+ regulatory offering, in which it sells shares of the closely held company to unaccredited investors until the window closes at the end of March. Mekikian said the offer was intended to build hype for the company and help it get to this next funding round.

“Maluma is a huge boon for us,” he said. “The next step in our development will be a lot of branding activities.”

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