The four Trybe app founders outside Chad Kroeger’s jet on a trip to Silicon Valley. From left, Bill Swinimer, Felipe Freig, Chad Kroeger and Dan Swinimer. (Submitted photo)

The four Trybe app founders outside Chad Kroeger’s jet on a trip to Silicon Valley. From left, Bill Swinimer, Felipe Freig, Chad Kroeger and Dan Swinimer. (Submitted photo)

TECHNOLOGY

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

Dan Swinimer helped gather a tribe to launch a new app he hopes will disrupt the world of social media and websites where things are bought and sold.

Currently beta-tested for public launch, the Trybe platform counts Nickelback singer/guitarist Chad Kroeger among its four “founders/angels,” along with Swinimer, his father Bill and fellow Surrey-area musician/construction company boss Felipe Freig.

“We set out to try and monetize social media, while making it a safer and more positive experience,” said Swinimer, who lives in the Clayton area of Surrey. “We felt it unfair that social media users do all the work, provide all the content but make none of the profits.”

Trybe is based on an award system that sends as little as 10 cents per “like,” coupled with a built-in “win-win” for users, as Swinimer describes it.

“Every time you award someone else’s post, you get exposure for your own post which gives you a better chance of your post being seen and also making money in awards,” he told the Now-Leader.

“It’s turned into a thing, it really has,” added the Ontario-raised Swinimer. “We sold shares and raised almost $2 million, we have head offices in Toronto, a CEO (Thomas Jankowski) and staff of 10 coders. It’s turned into so much more than we originally conceived.”

In the late-2000s, Swinimer and Freig were members of the rock band Jet Black Stare when they met Kroeger, who shared a manager at the time.

(Story continues below video)

Today, Swinimer is a songwriter/producer with his own Manicdown Productions, and Frieg runs Langley-based Versa Homes.

A couple of years ago, Frieg told Swinimer about an issue involving his teen son, Jadis, who’d been posting video of his scooter-riding tricks to social media.

“You can’t even believe the tricks that this kid can do on the scooter, it’s amazing,” Swinimer said. “His son didn’t have any sponsors at that point, but he was spending hours and hours every day practicing, getting really, really good, and then he spent his own money buying all this video equipment and editing software. So he’d spend four or five hours a day practicing, learning tricks, videoing them from multiple angles, then he’d edit these videos just so that he could post them on social media. And what does he get for that? The ‘likes,’ and that’s it. He’d been doing this for a while, and we realized that with the social media model, everyone is providing the product and getting nothing in return.”

(Story continues below video)

View this post on Instagram

Few super sketchy ones too stay active¡! • Got rained out before I could get the last one any cleaner :/ • •👇🏼Make sure to follow the sponsors👇🏼 • @luckyscooters 🍀• • @highrollerenergydrink 🎲 • • @thespacebrace 🦴• • @lairproshop 🛴• • • • • • • • • @ohlaybrand @undialed @jpscooters @thescooterfarm @scootusa #legacyproscooters #tiltscooters #tiltlife #undialed #undialedtv #tsiscooters #outsetselect #aztekscooters #rideproto #protoscooters #skyhighscooters #ohlaybrand #scooter #scootering #explorepage #ohlaybrand #rideua #aoscooters #tsiordie #jawnsondeck #skate #giveaway #nativescooters #envyscooters #ethicdtc #tvps #bluntscooters #northscooters #thescooterfarm #skateboard #playboicarti

A post shared by J Freig🇨🇦🇨🇱 (@jadisfreig_) on

After Swinimer and Freig talked some more, they clicked on the idea for Trybe as a way to monetize social media.

“It’s a platform where if you post something, you have a chance to make money on that post,” Swinimer elaborated. “When people post to social media, the most important thing is content, connecting with people and receiving validation from others. So imagine if you mixed in the possibility of making money and also having complete control over how many people will see your posts.… The more people I reward, the more people will see my posts, and the more chance I have of making money on my posts. If the content is good and views-to-engagement ratio is high, it also drives exposure to the post, so that lights a little fire under the post.”

• RELATED STORY, from May 2020: Arm surgery for Nickelback’s Surrey-raised drummer Daniel Adair.

Out of the gate, Kroeger had the level of celebrity pull sought by Swinimer and Freig for Trybe.

“We discussed it with Chad and right away, he was excited about it because he could see how it could transform the music business,” Swinimer recalled. “It could completely disrupt the entire distribution chain, because it’s a pain in the ass going through iTunes, which takes a lot of the proceeds. So what about a world where you post new music on Trybe? You give a download code to anyone who rewards this post with a dollar or more, and now you’re keeping all the money that comes in.”

Right now, to get early access to the app, users join a waitlist by downloading the iOS or Android app from trybe.ly.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Nickelback raved about Trybe’s launch to the band’s 738,000 followers on the rival Twitter platform: “No more giving away your creativity and time to social media giants. The new way — Social. Be yourself, be with your people, get rewards. See you on there.” A day later, Avril Lavigne posted the same message for her 21 million followers on Twitter.

Swinimer says Kroeger is “very involved” in the project, and likes to be in the meetings when and where he can, including the time when the four Trybe founders flew in Kroeger’s private jet to Silicon Valley.

“We didn’t tour with Nickelback (with Jet Black Stare) back then, but toured with a lot of their friends, like 3 Doors Down, Hinder and Staind,” Swinimer recalled. “For someone of his level of recognition, Chad is very accessible to musicians. He’s not hard to find and he’s happy to talk to people. One night he took us out to celebrate our record deal when we first signed it, so that was kind of our first foray. He took us out to the Commodore Ballroom because Kid Rock was doing a special invite-only show there. So we’re in his little VIP section, and then we went to some penthouse suite afterwards to hang out. It was weird, man, because up to that point it was all independent music, never getting anywhere, and all the sudden we’re partying with Kid Rock. It was a wild ride.”

In the decade since those rock-band days, after Jet Black Stare’s record deal with Island Def Jam had collapsed, Swinimer turned his attention to country music and launching the careers of musicians including Madeline Merlo and Jojo Mason. “I’ve been living in Surrey for 20 years,” he noted. “I built my production company here and have written/produced upwards of 40 hit songs since starting.”

• RELATED STORY, from March 2020: Surrey’s JoJo Mason brings mom along for Saturday song during Diesel Bird Digital Music Festival.

As for Trybe, the app’s public release should be in a month or so, he said.

“We’re using a system where we are making it very exclusive and making people excited about it, excited to get in early. We have multiple celebrities on board to get behind this new idea once we are public. It’s very exciting.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
Investigation at burned Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

“it’s believed that the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby is the deceased”

The Rein Forest Riders fence in Hyde Creek was damaged by a vehicle on the night of Jan. 15. (Lynn Iskra Facebook photo)
Port McNeill RCMP looking for suspect who damaged Rein Forest Riders property in Hyde Creek

“it’s certainly unfortunate, and it’s going to be a tough one because nobody saw anything.”

PROFILE PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERLEY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY 
Tyson’s Thoughts is a column posted online at northislandgazette.com and in print on Wednesday’s. Have some thoughts about my thoughts? Email editor@northislandgazette.com
If fish farms are phased out, what does the future hold for Port Hardy?

“I hate seeing the town I grew up in take serious economic damage”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Email letters to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.
LETTER: Homelessness still a problem in Port Hardy

Dear editor, I have been watching the news and homelessness seems to… Continue reading

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read