How OutKast, Train Platforms and Tinder Led Us to Quit Our Jobs

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been creating music. From drumming on my highchair with a spoon and fork, to making hip hop beats with the first version of garageband, to playing guitar in a band in college, music has always been a constant. Without a doubt, though, the most fun I’ve ever had making music has been collaborating with other dope musicians.

In middle school, Matt and I used to spend entire nights making rap songs together in my basement. Now, roommates in New York, we do that in our apartment. Through college and into early professional life, our love for vibing over music is stronger than ever. But never in my wildest dreams did I think that love would have us trading in our steady paychecks for a chance to change music-making.

After I graduated, I joined Matt in New York City, the mecca of arts, culture, and most importantly, music. Having played guitar in a band in college, I was sure that I would easily be able to find some great musicians quickly, form a band, and be playing shows all over the Big Apple in no time.

I was sorely mistaken.

After endless unsuccessful Craigslist postings, tweets to the ether, Facebook shots-in-the-dark, and referrals, I had come up with nothing but the occasional uninspiring jam session. Forget about a band — I couldn’t even find one person that was 1) a good talent fit and 2) interested in playing similar music. Sure, I played in my room by myself on my loop pedal, but you can only play with yourself for so long until the magic runs out and you start to chafe.

It’s like banging a tennis ball against a brick wall. Which can be fun. It can be fun. But it’s not a game. What you want is, you want a partner to return the ball. You do want a partner, don’t you?

- Jim’s dad, American Pie

For musicians, collaboration is essential. But connecting with the right collaborators requires luck. First, you have to find each other. But even once you’ve found each other, you’ve got to be right for each other. It’s a lot like dating. When it comes to making music, nothing is more crucial than chemistry.

The comparisons between music and dating are endless. Listen to the origins of formation of nearly every single band, duo or group: “we met at a party”, “we met at school,” or just right place or the right time–just like couples.

Some notable examples of the game of chance playing out in music history:

1964 – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet on a train platform at the age of 21 and form the Rolling Stones.

1980 – Anthony Kiedis and Michael Balzary (aka Flea) become friends sitting next to each other in driver’s ed and form Red Hot Chili Peppers.

1992 – Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton meet at a shopping mall at the age of 16 and form OutKast.

This game of chance is too much of a game for my liking.

Think about what would have happened had Mick and Keith never met. Who would we compare to the Beatles? Almost 3 generations would have missed out on the best music that never was. If Anthony and Flea hadn’t united, we’d still think of socks as one dimensional foot garments. And if 3 Stacks hadn’t bumped into Big Boi in that shopping center… No OutKast. No Spottieottiedopalicious. No apologies to Ms. Jackson.

The problem is that without a dedicated service or platform, it’s difficult for musicians to discover and connect with each other without it being a game of chance. Like I did, many musicians use Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Craigslist, forums, and even Tinder(!) to no avail.

Realizing that there was no dedicated service or platform, we set out to create it. Four months later, we traded in our agency titles and corporate amenities for a few whiteboards and a vision.

The way we create, distribute, and engage with music has evolved with technological advancement. To make music, we use Abelton, Logic, Pro-Tools, and all types of digital instruments. To distribute music, we use SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, etc. And fans have all sorts of new ways to consume, experience and immerse themselves in the music like Genius, Shazam, and luxury headphones.

But the way musicians meet and connect is stuck in the past. The modern musician needs a modern solution to this problem. And that’s exactly what we’re creating with Treble.

Join the movement. Sign up to test our private beta.

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